Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), has just applied for its 1,000th patent. The young University, counting up to its jubilee, is ranked among the top 100 universities granted patents in the USA.
The patents granted to University faculty members and students are in a wide range of scientific fields including engineering, computer science, biomedicine, pharmaceuticals, health sciences, materials, water and renewable energy.
The pace of innovation has been increasing steadily: last year BGU filed three times more patent requests than a decade ago.
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The young University has become a leading innovative force in recent years, establishing itself in key scientific fields including cyber security, renewable energy and biomedicine.
In recent years, the University was listed among the top 100 universities granted patents in the US (according to a report published by the US National Academy of Inventors and Intellectual Property Owners Association).
“We are committed to translating the discoveries of our researchers into commercial technologies that can benefit society”, says BGU President Prof. Rivka Carmi.
Many patents issued to the University have resulted in successful companies, and others have contributed to products developed by international companies in cooperation with BGU.
One example is ElMindA, the first company to create an FDA-approved neural assessment tool for brain trauma and illnesses based on a visualization rather than invasive technology. The tool, which measures the brain’s electronic activity and has been proven to detect early stages of degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, was developed by Prof. Amir Geva of BGU’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
Another example is Botanocap, which produces green bio pesticides for crop protection, based on nano micro encapsulation of volatile compounds. The technology was developed by Prof. Arie Markus, from the Institute for Applied Research at BGU.
A recent example is Xact Medical, a company founded last month, which will develop a robotic tool for accurate placement of a needle tip at an ultrasound-imaged point in the body. The tool, which greatly reduces patient discomfort and procedure time, was co-invented by Hugo Guterman, PhD, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Ben-Gurion University.
According to Mr. Netta Cohen, the CEO of BGN Technologies, the technology company of BGU, patenting inventions is only a first step to commercialization. “Just as the University seeks to innovate, here at BGN Technologies we have developed a number of tools to help our researchers create successful technologies and companies. These tools include startup incubators, technology accelerators, innovation hubs and a fast growing High-Tech park adjacent to the University’s campus.”
“We have also forged strong partnerships with leading international corporations,” adds Mr. Cohen, “some of which have opened local co-research centers on campus. Multinationals such as Deutsche Telekom, PayPal, Oracle, Lockheed Martin-Leidos, IBM and Dell-EMC are located in the University’s High-Tech Park”.
“Cooperation with industry is our main goal, and in 2016 alone we signed about 100 cooperation and mutual research agreements,” he notes.
BGU’s use of patents is not limited to commercialization. According to Prof. Rivka Carmi, “It is important for us to leverage our intellectual property in order to help advance the Negev region and the local community.”
“We founded academic centers, such as the Bengis Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the Cyber Security Research Center, and established the University High-Tech Park, in order to foster a thriving High-Tech cluster that would draw business and employees to the region. It is our mandate to develop the Negev region and we are always realizing opportunities to do so.”