Ben-Gurion University of the Negev launches 'The Institute' to promote Israeli leadership in AI

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Dovi Frances, and Shalev Hulio, launched an artificial intelligence initiative, 'The Institute', which will promote Israel's leadership in implementing artificial intelligence capabilities in the cyber, medical, finance and education industries.

President of Israel, his Excellency Isaac Herzog, said at the launch event in Sde Boker on Wednesday morning, "The reason countries do not boycott us is because of our human capital, the hi-tech and the financial connections that they do not want to lose. An initiative like this one is critical to our future and we will become the leaders in the field. I am committed to advancing it and supporting it to the best of my ability for the technological future of Israel."

In recent years, the State of Israel has dealt with a series of political, security and economic challenges, but technological progress does not stand still – and the revolution in artificial intelligence that has occurred over the past year is expected to affect every aspect of our lives. In order to maintain Israel's leading role in the future of artificial intelligence, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev has joined together with entrepreneurs and investors Dovi Frances, Chairman and Founder of the Group 11 Venture Capital Fund, and Shalev Hulio, founder and CEO of the start-up company Dream Security, to establish The Institute, an artificial intelligence initiative to advance Israeli leadership in AI.

The initiative will catalyze Israel's leadership in implementing artificial intelligence capabilities in four main industries: cyber, health and medicine, finance, and education.

In the first stage, the venture will train the CEOs of leading companies. They will be taught how to understand the effects of the artificial intelligence revolution and how to assimilate the technological capabilities it brings with it into the products and services offered to the companies' customers, while adapting to the developing regulations around the world.

A team of mentors comprised of senior figures in Israeli industry and academia in a variety of fields and disciplines will lead the training programs in artificial intelligence. Among them: Prof. Tamir Hazan, Head of the Machine Learning Lab at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology; Dr. Tomer Simon, Chief Scientist at Microsoft's Development Center in Israel; Ofir Zamir, Senior Director and Head of the AI Solution Architecture Group at Nvidia Israel; Tal Fialkow, Vice President of Cyber AI at Dream Security; Guy Benjamin, founder of Healthee; and Gaby Diamant, founder of Bridgewise.

The project will also incorporate unique AI study programs from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, in which outstanding students from STEM subjects will be integrated. Program participants will receive tools and knowledge from leading lecturers in the fields of artificial intelligence, to increase the quality workforce specializing in the development and implementation of AI technologies.

In addition to President Herzog, the CEOs of many leading companies in Israel were also in attendance, including: Sheba Medical Center Tel Hashomer, NICE, General Motors, Harel Finance, Elta and more.

During the coming year, The Institute is expected to establish advanced AI research laboratories, including supercomputing infrastructures, to maintain collaborations with leading industry bodies, entrepreneurs, and start-ups, thereby empowering and strengthening Israel's leadership position in the field.

Prof. Daniel Chamovitz, President of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, said: "We at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev are at the forefront of dealing not only with academic challenges but also with the most pressing issues of our people. In the spirit of David Ben-Gurion, and following October 7th, we initiated a groundbreaking partnership with industry leaders and investors to establish "The Institute." This ambitious venture will not only position Israel as a world leader in artificial intelligence but will also accelerate the Negev's further development into the "Silicon Valley" of Israel. Through the Institute's comprehensive programs, we will empower executives, entrepreneurs, and students with the insights and tools needed to harness the potential of AI, while establishing state-of-the-art research facilities to advance our commitment to innovation, security, and prosperity for our region and beyond."

Sivan Cohen Saban, CEO of The Institute, said: "Through hard work born out of love and commitment to the State of Israel, we have built a team of the best entrepreneurs, investors and leading companies in the world to help Israel become a global leader in artificial intelligence. We are convinced that the connection between industry, academia and the security agencies will build a solid infrastructure for the challenges and opportunities brought about by the artificial intelligence revolution."