Dear friends and colleagues,

Last year at Rosh Hashana, our world was upside down. In the midst of the second lockdown, we were unsure how to function as a university, and on a personal level, I was unsure how I would emerge from my own health crisis. To succeed, we had to approach our missions from a new perspective. We succeeded because at BGU we already knew that from uncommon perspectives comes profound impact. Our unique vantage point at the gates of the Negev grants us an equally unique point of view which sparks our creativity, motivates our journey to understanding, and enables us to achieve the remarkable.
Indeed, over this past year, we met the challenges and excelled as a university and as individuals. Here are some examples (with apologies to the many not mentioned).


• We had our best year ever in ISF grants: over 100 proposals, 31% of those submitted, were granted, above the national average.
• The University received multimillion-dollar grants to fund the Azrieli National Autism Research Center, the Center for Quality Teaching, and the Moshe Mirilashvili Center for Food Security in the Desert.
• We dedicated the Kappy and Eric Flanders National Palliative Care Resource Centre, the first of its kind in Israel.
• We invested more in new faculty startup grants than ever before.
• More startups were established through BGNegev than in any previous year!
• Prof. Michal Bar-Asher Sigal, together with two colleagues from neurosciences and physics from other universities, received a large prestigious research grant from Yad Hanadiv promoting groundbreaking interdisciplinary research in Israel.
• Prof. Yigal Meir was awarded the prestigious ERC Synergy Grant.
• Three young scientists were awarded ERC Starting Grants: Dr. Klim Efremenko, Prof. Idan Hod, and Dr. Benjamin Rosental.
• We signed agreements to establish a joint Institute of Future Technologies on the banks of the Hudson River with NJIT, and to establish an Agricultural Research Institute in Chennai, India.
• We established research collaborations in Morocco.
• We hosted President Reuven Rivlin, German President Dr. Frank Walter Steinmeier, and UAE Minister of State for Food & Water Security, H.E Mariam Al Mheiri.

Individual prizes:
• Four young faculty members were awarded the prestigious Krill Prize for Excellence in Scientific Research: Dr. Joshua Baraban, Prof. Idan Hod, Dr. Benjamin Rosental, and Dr. Meirav Zehavi.
• Dr. Eliezer Papo and Dr. Aviad Moreno were appointed as foreign members of the Association of Spanish Language Academies.
• Prof. Ayelet Harel-Shalev was awarded the Ergomas Guiseppe Caforio Book Award for 2021.
• The Amos Oz Writers' House was Inaugurated in Beer-Sheva's Old City.
• BGU received a large lead gift for the University's Cultural Center, a multi-use complex in the North Campus.
• The SOS Campaign raised more than $6 Million to provide 20% of students with corona financial aid packages.
• We inaugurated the new Lorry Lokey Chemistry Building.

• The Senate passed several breakthrough resolutions on the road to Gender Equality.
• The Senate established the new School for Sustainability and Climate Change.
• A new Pro-Rector for Education was appointed.


Each of these achievements has the fingerprints of many within the BGU community. Just think of the different administrative staff, or technical staff and students, who were necessary for these successes. Our collective excellence is what enables us to move forward.
Because of these collective efforts, considerable progress was made over the past two years in almost all (15 out of 18) recommendations of the university strategic plan, and the outcomes have been felt throughout the university. Now we are poised to looking forward to designing the BGU of a decade from now.
I am very confident that we will succeed in this challenge, because we have encoded in our DNA a unique characteristic of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev: "The power of together". "The power of together" is more than simply "community". Because of "the power of together", our academic and research excellence is enhanced when academics and administration are in sync, when supra-disciplinary teams self-assemble to tackle complex problems, and when students from diverse backgrounds learn to thrive together. Together, we are building a future based on common values and inherent strengths.


Yours sincerly,
Prof. Daniel Chamovitz, President



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