Israeli University to Establish Agricultural Research Institute in India
Cooperating with foreign institutions and companies greatly benefits Israeli universities. Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) in Beersheba and ABAN – India’s largest offshore-drilling company – have just celebrated the launch of a new initiative to build an agricultural research institute in Chennai, India.
As BGU is among the world leaders in the field of desert agriculture and water related research, BGU will be consulting regarding the establishment, development, launch and operation of the joint Academic Research Institute.
ABAN, which is listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange Ltd, previously ventured into international waters, as one of its five rigs is doing work for an Iranian oil company. The Indian company has also ventured into construction, onshore drilling, marketing, wind energy and power generation, information-technology-enabled services, hotels and resorts and tea plantations. Joining up with academic institutions like BGU is part of its corporate social responsibility policy.
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 the Beersheba university.
The research part of the degree will be carried out at the ABAN-BGU Academic Research Institute under the guidance of the faculty of the University and/or staff trained by BGU, in one of the following fields – dryland agriculture and biotechnology, hydrology and water quality, desert studies or ecology and conservation.
BGU president Prof. Daniel Chamovitz said: “As 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. We are proud to be leading global research in these fields and therefore it is natural for Ben-Gurion University to direct the academic establishment of an agriculture institute in India.”
He added that the institute will assist in developing appropriate solutions to the agriculture of India. In addition, the students will benefit from studies at BGU’s Sde Boker Campus and then carry out relevant research in the new institute under the mentorship of BGU scientists.”
Prof. Noam Weisbrod, director of the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, visited India earlier this year to check out the site for the new institute. “Through this partnership with ABAN, we are looking forward to being able to offer the vast knowledge and experience we develop here 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. 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 an 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.”
BGU’s vice president for global engagement Prof. Limor Aharonson-Daniel has been working steadily for the 18 months with her Indian partner, Sailendra Bhaskar, to bring this agreement to fruition. “I am delighted that 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.”
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