Northwestern University and Ben-Gurion University sign water research MOU

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and Northwestern University (NU) have signed a research memorandum of understanding (MOU) in Tel Aviv, the capital city of Israel, to collaborate on water research. Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of Chicago, participated in the signing.

The MOU was signed by BGU President Professor Rivka Carmi; Professor Dan Blumberg, BGU’s vice president and dean for research and development; Professor Aaron Packman of NU’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and director of the Centre for Water Research; and Professor Fruma Yehiely, associate vice president for research at NU.

The agreement is a follow up to successful collaborations between the University of Chicago (UC) and BGU. Mayor Emanuel was also present during the signing of that agreement in 2013 at the Israeli president’s residence.

“Four years ago, Ben-Gurion University and the University of Chicago started a joint project,” Mayor Emanuel said at WATEC 2017, Israel’s largest international water conference and exhibition. “We already have one commercial product out of that and numerous papers have been published.”

An interdisciplinary team from BGU’s world-renowned Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research and the Northwestern Centre for Water Research will include hydrologists, soil scientists, geologists, chemists, microbiologists, and engineers. The result will be a groundbreaking scientific partnership to investigate environmental challenges and develop solutions for water-related problems through new research projects, as well as student and faculty collaborations.

“BGU is a long-time leader in water research,” Professor Blumberg said, “We are pleased to be joining forces with Northwestern University following the success of the University of Chicago-BGU collaboration.”

“This partnership substantially increases opportunities for Northwestern faculty and students to collaborate with peers in Israel, and allows us to contribute to solutions for water scarcity challenges faced by the Middle East and other arid regions,” Professor Packman said. “This is an important step toward the vision of broader collaboration on water with Israel that was developed jointly by the Water Centre and the Crown Family Centre for Jewish and Israel Studies at Northwestern.”

NU’s Centre for Water Research was created in March 2016 to link its water research efforts in basic sciences, technology development, law and policy, and systems analysis and simulation to addressing challenges in water systems’ sustainability and efficiency. BGU’s Zuckerberg Institute was founded in 2002.

Two projects between NU and BGU are already underway.