The Office of the Vice President for Regional and Industrial Development, under the leadership of Prof. Dan Blumberg, is responsible for developing and maintaining the University's strategic role in the technological ecosystem emerging in Beer-Sheva and the Negev. It focuses on building and strengthening ties between the University and industry, with an emphasis on fostering innovation and entrepreneurship, thus positioning the University as a leader and spearheading development in this ecosystem. Over the past year, we continued our collaboration with the Ministry of Defense regarding the relocation of the IDF to the South. Two study programs for elite IDF units that will move south were approved. Additionally, in partnership with the Intelligence Division and the 8200 Alumni Association, we launched the iMtech Training Center to meet the employment demands of high-tech industries in the Negev. The first cohort of young people from the region began this training and placement program in February 2024. Our efforts are focused on advancing the Beer-Sheva Innovation District in collaboration with key partners: the Beer-Sheva Municipality, Soroka University Medical Center, the Ministry of Defense, and the National Economic Council at the Prime Minister's Office. The issue of placemaking was recently resolved, and very soon we will witness a transformation of the space along Ben-Gurion Boulevard. We are currently in the process

of recruiting a CEO for the Innovation District, tasked with promoting the district nationally and internationally, attracting investors, and persuading companies and startups to relocate to the District and join the developing ecosystem. Furthermore, under Government Resolution No. 625, we are leading an unprecedented partnership with the Shamoon College of Engineering and multiple government ministries to establish a branch of the City Science Lab at MIT Media Lab within the Beer Sheva Innovation District, in a building located on Rager Boulevard, between the University, the hospital, and the surrounding neighborhoods. Despite the challenges posed by the war, we have recruited a lab manager and a technology manager who are developing a business plan and familiarizing themselves with the ecosystem. OVER THE PAST YEAR WE CONTINUED OUR COLLABORATION WITH THE MINISTRY OF DEFENSE REGARDING THE RELOCATION OF THE IDF TO THE SOUTH. Advancing the regional ecosystem remains a key focus for our office. Prof. Blumberg also recently facilitated a partnership between the global Ralco company and the Blechner Center for Industrial Catalysis and Process Development at BGU, resulting in the establishment of a joint company called CarboNGV.


Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

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