January 28, 2014

The presidents of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Dalhousie University of Canada recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding to create a world class Ocean Studies Center in Eilat.

The objective is to develop, through the partnership between Dalhousie University and Ben-Gurion University, and with the other research centers in Eilat, a world-class marine science site with the vision of creating an internationally-recognized Ocean Studies Center for marine sciences. The initiative will involve pure and applied joint research projects, co-supervision of doctoral students, industry research internships in both countries, joint field courses in the winter in Eilat and in the summer at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada.

Canadian philanthropist, Seymour Schulich, expressed great interest in helping to create such a world-class Ocean Studies Center in Eilat.

“Seymour Schulich, with his masterful vision and generosity, has been the catalyst for what has the potential to become a world-class ocean research center for Dalhousie University and Ben-Gurion University. He, along with all the insightful and driving ground work provided by VP Research Martha Crago and the excellent scientific links of Marlon Lewis and other Dalhousie researchers to Israeli researchers, has given us the critical momentum and credibility to advance our partnerships with those universities significantly through the conversations we are having in Israel this week,” said Dalhousie President Richard Florizone.

This center will become known as a gathering place for marine scientists from around the world, a generator of basic, applied and industry-partnered scientific advances, and home to an innovative international educational program for the development of highly qualified personnel.

“We see great opportunities stemming from this scientific partnership, both research and technology-wise, between these two universities,” said Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Eilat, situated on the Red Sea at the southernmost tip of Israel, is home to the Interuniversity Institute in Marine Science (IUI) involving Hebrew University, Haifa University, Tel Aviv University, Bar Ilan University and BGU. It is also the location of the National Center for Mariculture, and a BGU campus, all with researchers dedicated to marine sciences.

Dalhousie University is the leading Canadian ocean research university, situated on the shores of the North Atlantic Ocean. The different ocean environments of the Red Sea and the North Atlantic provide perfect settings for the phenomenon of deep water mixing, deep water corals, underwater natural and animal resources, aquaculture and marine biodiversity, marine animal behavior as well as marine sovereignty, marine security and transportation.

The center has the potential to deepen our understanding of marine science and to develop its resources for the benefit of science and industry, said BGU President Rivka Carmi. “The sea covers 70 percent of the earth’s surface and is essential for our survival. And yet, at the same time, most of it remains unexplored – filled with mystery and unfulfilled potential. We believe this partnership will strengthen the cutting edge science at both universities and place this unique initiative at the forefront of global research,” said Carmi.

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Jason Harris

Jason Harris

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