Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and the University of Michigan have signed a
$2 million partnership to forge ahead on developing renewable energy
technologies, the institutions announced on Monday.
Executives from the
two universities signed a memorandum of understanding in Michigan on Thursday,
with each side pledging $1 million to finance a three-year collaborative
Signing the agreement were University of Michigan
vicepresident for Research Stephen Forrest and Ben-Gurion University
vice-president and Dean for Research and Development Moti Herskowitz,
accompanied by the presidents of both universities – Rivka Carmi and Mary Sue
“We live in a global economy,” Forrest said.
“Universities need to globalize their activities because we need to solve
problems that are larger than one country can manage alone. When faculty at
universities from across the world come together, they bring different cultures
and different objectives, and when you mix them, you get a lot more than just
the sum of the parts.”
The project was a result of Forrest’s repeated
visits to Israel in the past five years, during which he explored the country’s
innovative expertise, according to the institutions. Specifically, the
collaborations aim to tackle challenges in the fields of vehicle fuels, solar
energy and thermoelectric materials, information from Ben- Gurion University
said. This month, faculty teams will be able to apply for grants in all of these
areas, with up to six projects receiving funding in the first year. At an annual
technical workshop, research teams will be able to showcase developments from
their collaborative work, the universities said.
“We look forward to
collaborating with the University of Michigan researchers on the challenging
issues related to renewable energy and trust that the agreed model of
collaboration has the potential of generating novel scientific and technological
information with potential applications,” Herskowitz said.
advantage of working with colleagues at Ben-Gurion University, Forrest said he
felt that the Israeli partners would have a particular advantage in solar energy
research, as they would be able to take a more applied approach as their work
moves forward. Meanwhile, he expressed admiration for the entrepreneurial
culture that exists throughout the Jewish State.
“There’s an enormous
number of startups that come out of Israel,” he said. “We have a lot to learn