Chicago Mayor Emanuel Signs Water Research Deal With Israel’s Technion

A desalination plant in Ashkelon. (Edi Israel/Flash90)

The Technion will work with Chicago to develop solutions to water problems in the U.S. and worldwide. Chicago‬ Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Sunday signed an agreement to drive collaboration and research between Chicago’s Current and the Technion. The Memorandum of Understanding will bring together Chicago academic and research institutions with Israel’s top public research university to develop solutions to global water challenges, the Technion said.‬ Emanuel is currently in Israel, on a working visit to businesses, academic institutions and hospitals.

The agreement establishes academic partnerships in areas of fundamental science and applied water research between the Technion and Current’s Research Consortium, which is comprised of Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois (Urban/Champaign), the University of Illinois (Chicago), the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago and the Chicago Department of Water Management.‬‬ The partnership will create a broad collaborative research platform between Current and the Technion, linking water research, technology development, commercialization, and deployment in industry and infrastructure, the Technion said.

Current is a joint effort that brings together public and private partners from across the Chicago area to solve the toughest water challenges facing the nation and the globe. The effort is led by a partnership between the City of Chicago, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago and World Business Chicago and is designed to leverage the strength of the Chicago region’s water industry to drive critical research forward and generate greater economic impact.‬ Current and Emanuel said that they specifically sought to partner with Israeli institutions, and especially the Technion, because of Israel’s high level of expertise in water reclamation, recycling, desalination and purification.

“This agreement helps us write the next chapter in the story of Israel and Chicago,” Emanuel said. “Working together to develop solutions to water challenges will strengthen economic development and protect public health “in both Israel and the U.S. and far beyond.” According to Steve Frenkel, Executive Director of Current, “This effort brings together world-class scientists to tackle the critical challenge of ensuring that people worldwide have the water they need. Leveraging the global reach of Current’s new research consortium will accelerate the science needed to deliver the water technology innovations society desperately needs.”‬

“Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel arrived at the Technion with an important and significant vision: the establishment of international cooperation as a platform for solving the global water shortage,” said the Technion’s Executive Vice President for Research, Prof. Wayne D. Kaplan. “This collaboration brings together leading academic bodies and key organizations in Chicago, including Current, and I have no doubt that we are laying the foundation for a long-term cooperation that will benefit not only the Technion and Chicago, and not only Israel and the United States, but all of humanity.”‬

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