Biotech center aims to put Beersheba on the map

Cabinet decision made as part of comprehensive, NIS 17 billion plan for Negev development over next decade.

biotech center 88 (photo credit: )
biotech center 88
(photo credit: )
The government has decided to transfer $30 million to a $90 million research fund aimed at developing the National Biotechnology Institute in the Negev. The cabinet decision was made as part of a comprehensive, NIS 17 billion plan for Negev development over the next decade. The national institute, headed by Prof. Irun Cohen, was established at Ben-Gurion University with the initiative and funding of Swiss Jewish banker Edgar de-Piccuto, chairman of the Union Bancaire Privee. At a festive dinner in his honor given earlier this week by BGU and attended by Finance Minister Ehud Olmert, the donor announced that in the second stage of the project he will continue to invest in the project and intends to turn the institute into the leading biotechnology resea rch facility in Israel - and in the world. Founded in 2001, the institute has aimed at integrating basic research and development and attracting outstanding scientists to the Negev for research, application and teaching. At BGU, 20 percent of all student s are in the field of hi-tech, biotechnology and nano-biotechnology, according to the university. A hi-tech park is to be built southeast of the Beersheba campus next to the university and its railway station. Startup companies are expected to develop there as well to help speed up the transformation of the "capital of the Negev" into a center for innovation, BGU president Prof. Avishai Braverman said at the dinner..Ëš