Israeli female students win prize for innovative ventilator tech

Science and Health

Four women students at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) in Beersheba have won first prize for their Clarity project involving a decision- support model for medical teams that predicts the chances of success for patients to be weaned from the ventilator.

The 360 Entrepreneurship Center, the National Digital Array and Google announced the end of the 9th round of the “Students Leading Innovation in the Public Sector” competition. 

Students Leading Innovation in the Public Sector is a prestigious program for the consolidation and creation of technological ventures for improving service in the Israeli public sector and an innovative incubator for the development of ideas through information technologies and innovative thinking. The final event ended with the announcement of the winners and the attendance of senior officials in digital and innovation systems in the Health, Tourism and Interior Ministries. 

The Clarity model will help doctors predict which of their patients have a real potential to succeed in the rehabilitation process and then decide how to divide the hospital’s resources among patients. The four winners were Or Halevi, Yael Shoham, Hadas Vardi and Karin Friedkin. 

“Thanks to good teamwork and great openness to learning, we succeeded in arriving at a good and applicable solution to the challenge before us. We wholeheartedly believe that soon, doctors will be able to use our model and through it help more ventilated patients wean themselves off ventilators and return to their independent lives.”

Manshema ventilator (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON’S UNIT)


The female entrepreneurs won a scholarship in the amount of annual tuition that was awarded by Google, which also provides guidance on behalf of Google for Startups. 

Dr. Alona Matveychuk from the Shoham Medical Center, the rehabilitation hospital in Pardes Hanna-Karkur that initiated the challenge, accompanied the winning team and came up with the algorithm on which the prediction model is based. “As a doctor who faced the difficulty of making these kinds of decisions every day and now as part of the hospital’s management staff, I know that the solution is very vital and will help doctors return patients to their normal lives.”

The other two projects that reached the finals are the Passter model that met meets the challenge of the Interior Ministry’s Population and Immigration Authority to develop a tool that would detect the presence of of illegal migrants. The model is an automatic forecasting model based on past data and machine learning that knows how to predict whether a visitor who wants to enter the country only as a tourist or aims settle in the country illegally. 

Another project that reached the finals is the TripTip digital app that met the challenge of the Tourism Ministry to bring together all content relevant to a tourist experience in Israel. The app was adapted to the young population in the Israeli tourism market according to principles from the field of user experience and human-computer interaction.

The “Students Leading Innovation in the Public Sector” program is the product of a fruitful collaboration among the National Digital Organization, Google and the 360 Entrepreneurship Center at BGU, alongside various government ministries. As part of the program, which lasts about a year, students from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev – under the management of Sheila Cahanim and Shir Levy and under the academic leadership of Prof. Arnon Sturm from the university’s department of software and information systems engineering – develop technological projects and applications according to ther needs and challenges of the various government ministries. 

Solving a difficult technological challenge 

Dana Gavish, director of the 360 Entrepreneurship Center congratulated the winners: “Four talented female students harnessed themselves to solve a difficult technological challenge and found a way to influence the lives of thousands of ventilated patients a year and help doctors make important decisions. There is nothing more exciting than that. This is the ninth year of our amazing partnership with the Google companies and with the digital array, which yields real solutions for real challenges in the digital arena and in service to the citizen.”

Omri Ben Horin, Google’s director of government relations and public policy, concluded that “cooperation among the government, industry and academia proves itself once again. It is exciting every time to see what creative and high-quality solutions students know how to develop. We are proud of the long-standing partnership that allows each party to bring its relative advantages in order to create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts and to respond to the challenges facing government ministries.”