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Partnering with Israel would benefit U of C’s research

By Alíce Fischer, February 23, 2016 —

Last year, the University of Calgary announced new funding and expanded opportunities to encourage international study, research and training. These opportunities include the 50th Anniversary International Undergraduate and Graduate Scholarships, which are granted to outstanding international students from 25 different countries. To my surprise, Israel is not on the list of designated countries.

Academic cooperation with Israeli universities would be a win-win situation for both countries.  Israeli universities are among the top science and technology institutions in the QS Top University Rankings 2015. The Israel Institute of Technology is known for its computer science and electrical engineering departments, and already has relationships with other North American universities.

Israeli universities also specialize in areas important to the future of both the U of C and Canada. The Institute of Technology is a global leader in water conservation research, and the Weizmann Institute of Science is developing new methods of carbon capture to help reduce the environmental impact of industrial processes. Bringing in faculty and students from these schools would facilitate an exchange of ideas, giving the U of C more opportunities to develop clean, sustainable technology.

But it isn’t just the U of C that could benefit from these partnerships. Due to recent oil and gas discoveries in Israel, Israeli universities could learn from existing knowledge and expertise we have in Calgary. The Institute of Technology recently opened a natural gas and petroleum engineering program, mainly staffed by professors from Texas and Norway. Only one of the professors in this program comes from Canada, despite our wealth of knowledge in this field.

The lack of Israel’s inclusion in this student and faculty exchange is made even stranger by the fact that the U of C has in the past partnered with the Institute of Technology — the two schools collaborated on the Israel-Alberta Neuroscience Symposium just last year. There is no reason this already strong relationship couldn’t be expanded.

A student and faculty exchange between the U of C and Israeli universities would benefit everyone involved. The U of C would raise its reputation as a global intellectual hub, while also helping other schools learn from decades of knowledge and experience. 

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