UWM Engineering & Applied Science Dean Brett Peters accompanied Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on a trade mission to Israel last month, and they returned home with a signed letter of intent to collaborate on developing new water technology.
Under the agreement, the Water Equipment and Policy Center and the Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev will explore the potential for working together on water-related research to develop new technologies.
UWM leads the Water Equipment and Policy Center; Marquette University is the other academic member. Established by the National Science Foundation, the center is one of 69 industry/university cooperative research centers that facilitate collaborative innovation among universities, governmental agencies and private companies, whose membership pays for the cost of research in a shared intellectual property arrangement. One of the center’s goals has been to bring in an international partner.
“We wanted to learn about the Zuckerberg Institute’s objectives moving forward to see if there was any possibility for collaboration,” Peters said. “We’re encouraged by the opportunities we discovered. Our next steps will be to determine possibilities for direct collaboration and/or complementary research.”
A key goal of the trade mission was to promote Milwaukee as a regional hub for water technology and establish relationships with other regional leaders, both nationally and internationally. Israel, which faces challenges of supplying water in an arid environment, has long been a leader in water technology.
The Zuckerberg Institute serves as a national center of expertise and training on water-related problems, focusing on water management. Desalination, “smart water” and influencing consumer behavior are a few areas the institute specializes in.