BEERSHEBA, ISRAEL - Officials at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, one of Israel’s world-renowned institutions of research and higher learning, today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the University of Illinois to explore joint education and research activities.Ben-Gurion University of the Negev became the fourth world-renowned university this week to complete a research partnership agreement with the University of Illinois System during Gov. Bruce Rauner’s trade and academic mission to Israel. Shown at the Memorandum of Understanding signing ceremony Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017, are (from left) U of I System President Tim Killeen, Rauner and Dan Blumberg, BGU’s vice president and dean for Research and Development.

BGU is the fourth major university in Israel to join U of I for collaborative research during Gov. Bruce Rauner’s education and trade mission to Israel this week.

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The university is known for its innovation and leading research in cyber and homeland security; alternative energy; desert and water research; global health; medical technologies; and high-tech and robotics.

“Like the other relationships we created this week, the BGU alliance helps advance our plan to develop the Illinois Innovation Network,” Rauner said. “U of I’s campuses around the state are sure to benefit greatly from the collaborations that have been established with Israel’s top research and innovation centers.”

“Ben-Gurion University is one the world’s fastest-rising and most-respected young universities, and has already carved a legacy as a leader in crucial fields such as computer science, medical technologies, cybersecurity and water research,” University of Illinois President Tim Killeen said. “This agreement will foster collaborations to well serve the ever-changing needs of our students and the public good.”

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BGU is eager to participate in the Innovation Network that U of I is building.

"We'd like to increase the number of foreign students here at Ben-Gurion," said Dan Blumberg, BGU’s vice president and dean for Research and Development. “We would like to work with you on expanding our student exchange programs, which we believe will lead to more joint-research and the sharing of ideas.”

The governor also is meeting with young Israeli professionals and entrepreneurs today in a forum to discuss global business and the opportunities that Illinois offers for enterprise innovation, talent engagement and capital investment.

“This has been an extremely successful trip,” Rauner said. “We have laid the groundwork for world-class research advancements and game-changing economic development for Illinois and Israel.”

The governor has been accompanied on the trip by Deputy Gov. Leslie Munger and by officials of the University of Illinois, the Consul General of Israel to the Midwest and the Jewish Federation.

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