Left to right: Prof. Moshe Gottlieb, Prof. Rivka Carmi, Prof. Robert Zimmer and Prof. Dan Blumberg, VP and Dean of R&D, BGU
BEER-SHEVA, Israel, May 22, 2014 – Ben-Gurion University of the Negev President Prof. Rivka Carmi and University of Chicago President Prof. Robert Zimmer decided last month to take the research agreement between the two universities to the next level and expand cooperation.
Zimmer was visiting Beer-Sheva to mark and review the first year of the collaboration, which was inaugurated in the presence of President of Israel Shimon Peres and Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel last June. The two universities began funding a series of ambitious research collaborations that apply the latest discoveries in nano-technology to create new materials and processes for making clean, fresh drinking water more plentiful and less expensive by 2020. The joint projects explore innovative solutions at the water-energy nexus, developing more efficient ways of using water to produce energy and using energy to treat and deliver clean water.
Leading the efforts are Moshe Gottlieb, BGU’s Frankel Professor of Chemical Engineering and Matthew Tirrell, the Pritzker Director of UChicago’s Institute for Molecular Engineering. Researchers from BGU’s Ilse Katz Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology and the Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research have joined researchers from the Institute for Molecular Engineering. University of Chicago also brings to the effort two powerful research partners already committed to clean-water research, Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, Illinois, and the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.
The first wave of research proposals include fabricating new materials tailored to remove contaminants, bacteria, viruses and salt from drinking water at a fraction of the cost of current technologies; biological engineering that will help plants maximize their own drought-resistance mechanisms; and polymers that can change the water retention properties of soil in agriculture.