On May 22, 2001, then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon declared the establishment of a National Institute for Biotechnology in the Negev, with the stated aim of creating an effective applied research platform from which to launch successful biotechnology-based industries in the Negev and Israel.
The NIBN as it stands today was the brainchild of Swiss banker Edgar D. de Picciotto, who provided the incentive, financial support and vision to found the Institute for Applied Biosciences, the predecessor and now a central component of the NIBN.
In 2002, a major step in the evolution of the NIBN took place when businessman and philanthropist Mr. Morris Kahn agreed to support the establishment of a research institute focused on the genetic basis of human diseases. As the driving force behind the establishment of the Morris Kahn Human Molecular Genetics Laboratory, Kahn had the foresight to move this entity under the umbrella of the reconfigured NIBN. Since then, the NIBN has rapidly expanded in both research and faculty.
In November, 2005, the Israeli government announced its commitment to provide $30 million to help defray the costs of establishing the NIBN as part of a $3.6 billion, 10-year master plan targeted to developing the Negev region.
“The establishment of a national biotechnology institute alongside
Ben-Gurion University is key to the transformation of the Negev”
Ariel Sharon, former Prime Minister of Israel