November 27, 2013, Updated November 24, 2013

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Elion Resources Group of China to create a desert institute in Mongolia. The goal of the new Kubuqi Desert Research Institute is to develop China’s desert economy.

Mr. Wang Wenbiao, the chairman and president of the multi-billion dollar construction and development company, was recently in Israel to visit BGU’s Sede Boqer and Beersheva campuses. He and 10 senior executives were so impressed with the quality of desert research that they saw they pushed for an immediate MoU.

BGU and Elion will cooperate in water saving irrigation, waste water treatment, microalgae selection and production, solar energy utilization and other related fields.

“BGU welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with the Elion company. The scientific and technological knowledge and expertise which we have developed in the Blaustein Institutes could be of great value to the Chinese in their efforts to combat desertification in Mongolia’s desert. Our scientists are looking forward to find new research challenges in their work with China,” said Prof. Amos Drory, Vice President for External Affairs.

Soon, a delegation from the University’s Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research will travel to China in the near future to help found the new institute and decide on specific collaborative projects.

The Elion Resources Group has vast construction and development projects in Mongolia and is dedicated to combating desertification. BGU is a world leader in combating desertification as well as recognized for its research in desert agriculture, alternative energy and water technologies.

Elion’s Chinese partners in the creation of the new institute include the Chinese Academy of Science, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Inner Mongolia University, and Inner Mongolia Agricultural University. The Agriculture Research Organization of Israel will be an additional Israeli partner.

“The faculty of the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research is looking forward with excitement to collaborate in the establishment of the research institute in the Kubuqi desert. It is a great challenge for our staff members to be a part of such an important endeavor.” says Prof. Pedro Berliner, the Director of the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research.

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