Brandeis, MIT get partners in Israel

Programs are part of Patrick’s trade mission

Officials from two Boston-area universities and a technology company announced new partnerships this week with institutions in Israel, deals signed as part of Governor Deval Patrick’s ongoing trade mission to the country.

MIT’s International Science and Technology Initiative and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, which has a large engineering school, established a seed fund that will help pay for faculty and scientists at the two schools to embark on new research endeavors.

“The sky is the limit,” Joseph Kost, Ben-Gurion engineering dean and professor, said by phone Tuesday.


“We’re very much looking forward to taking advantage of this seed fund so that we can eventually extend it even further.”

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While MIT has similar seed funds with universities in other countries, the agreement is the first it has established in Israel.

David Dolev, managing director of the MIT-Israel program, said the new program will bolster ties between the scientific communities at both schools and elsewhere.

“It’s a very exciting time for us, and we hope to be an example for other institutions and universities in Israel that want to launch partnerships with MIT,” Dolev said by phone from Israel.

Brandeis University’s Rose Art Museum and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art announced the creation of a program that biannually will select an emerging Israeli video artist to hold an exhibition at both museums.


The chosen artist will get a $10,000 prize and have a catalog of their work printed.

The program is endowed by Lazar Fruchter and his wife, Chami, benefactors of the Rose and parents of a son who graduated from Brandeis in 2006 and a daughter who is a rising junior.

Lazar Fruchter named the prize after his wife because “she opened his eyes to contemporary art 20 years ago, just as the Rose Art Museum has opened many Brandeis students’ eyes to contemporary art,” Brandeis president Frederick M. Lawrence said by phone from Israel Tuesday.

Christopher Bedford, director of the Rose, said the program is also intended to raise awareness of video art in Israel, which he said is sophisticated and of particularly high quality.

Meanwhile, Needham-based software company PTC and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, a public research university in Haifa, unveiled a partnership through which PTC will provide funding and donated software to help the school establish a “center of excellence” for the study of robotics and 3D digital technology.


“PTC has had a presence in Israel for more than 20 years, and it is an important center for research for the company,” said company spokesman Eric Snow.

Matt Rocheleau can be reached at matthew.rocheleau@
. Follow him on Twitter @mrochele.