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Israeli university to open agricultural research institute in India

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Ben-Gurion University of the Negev is working together with India’s offshore drilling company ABAN to build an agricultural research institute in Chennai, India; aim is to further studies in desert agriculture and water-related research

By ILANIT CHERNICK

Israel’s Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) is joining forces with India’s offshore drilling company ABAN to build an agricultural research institute in Chennai, India.

The two celebrated the launch of the initiative during a virtual ceremony earlier this week.

BGU President Prof. Daniel Chamovitz explained that being part of the international research community, “it is our obligation to share our scientific knowledge for the benefit of all of the world’s citizens.”

“We have been deepening our knowledge and researching myriad aspects of desert agriculture up close for more than 50 years,” he said. “We are proud to be leading global research in these fields and therefore it is natural for the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev to direct the academic establishment of an agriculture institute in India.” 

According to Chamovitz, the institute will assist in developing appropriate solutions to the agriculture of India. In addition, the students will benefit from studies at BGU at our Sde Boker Campus, and then carry out relevant research in the new Institute under the mentorship of BGU scientists.”

With BGU being one of the world leaders in the field of desert agriculture and water-related research, the university will play a key role in the establishment, development, launch and operation of the joint Academic Research Institute.

Earlier this year, the director of the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Prof. Noam Weisbrod visited India earlier to check out the site for the new institute. 

“Through this partnership with ABAN,” he said, “we are looking forward to being able to offer the vast knowledge and experience we develop here at the BIDR to students in India in general and Tamil Nadu in particular so that they will be able to have an impact in their home country.” 

Blaustein pointed out that this new generation of local scholars “will receive the tools to tackle some of the most pressing concerns of the modern world: the need for efficient and modern agriculture to optimize and improve food production, and the methods and technologies to increase and improve water availability and quality, all while keeping in mind the environmental concerns.”

Concluding, BGU’s vice president for Global Engagement Prof. Limor Aharonson-Daniel shared that she is delighted about the establishment of the institute. 

“Despite the challenges set by Covid-19, we were able to move forward with this important project, reinforcing BGU’s mission of combating desertification and exploring global challenges by bringing together water, food, energy and environmental research,” Aharonson-Daniel said, adding that she has been working for the past year and a half with her Indian counterpart, Sailendra Bhaskar, “to bring this agreement to fruition.”

As part of the initiative, the university is encouraging interested students who have completed their undergraduate studies in an academic institution in India and meet the academic and administrative requirements of BGU can apply to study towards a certificate course, postgraduate diploma or master’s degree at BGU. 

*Featured Image: Ben-Gurion University of the Negev President Prof. Daniel Chamovitz (right) and Vice President for Global Engagement Prof. Limor Aharonson-Daniel (left) sign the agreement on Monday during a virtual ceremony on the Marcus Family Campus in Beer-Sheva.
(Photo Credit: Dani Machlis/BGU)

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