Tel Aviv University is launching a program to integrate students from a range of academic backgrounds into Israel’s booming hi-tech eco-system.The “High Tech Plus” program, operated by TAU’s Faculty of Engineering, will enable undergraduate students to combine engineering studies with all dual-disciplinary programs, including the humanities and social sciences. The program will welcome its first students in March 2019, the university said over the weekend.During their studies, students will develop a strong mathematical background and focus on computing and information systems. Courses studied will include data science, artificial intelligence, machine learning, encryption and information security. The program will conclude with an internship at a hi-tech company.The program is also open to graduates, who will receive a further undergraduate degree upon completion of the studies.The Council for Higher Education in Israel has approved the program, and it has already received the backing of hi-tech industry leaders and Education Minister Naftali Bennett.“This new program represents a significant announcement and intends to attract more and more students to scientific professions,” said Bennett.“The State of Israel needs to increase the number of talented young individuals who opt to go to the world of hi-tech and continue to lead the innovation, creativity and breakthroughs that change reality.”Emphasizing the potential benefits of combining technological expertise with other fields of study, TAU president Prof. Yossi Joseph Klafter cited a recent study conducted by Google revealing the eight most important qualities of the company’s most successful employees.Of those eight qualities, STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) expertise was of least importance. The top seven qualities were all “soft skills,” including developed communication skills, ability to support colleagues and critical thinking ability.The launch of the program looks set to boost Tel Aviv University graduates’ already-flourishing hi-tech industry success.A study published in September by PitchBook revealed that undergraduate programs at TAU are among the world’s leading producers of entrepreneurs who have subsequently raised a round of venture capital funding.Ranked eighth globally, and the only non-American institution in the top 10, Tel Aviv University has produced 640 entrepreneurs and 531 companies that have raised $7.91 billion in venture capital funding since 2006.