UD Vice Provost Charlie Riordan (right) is greeted by Daniel Shapiro, U.S. ambassador to Israel, at a reception held for the state of Delaware delegation.

Partnership-building in Israel

UD vice provost meets with Israeli universities during state trade mission

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10:53 a.m., July 18, 2013--First impressions are everything, especially when you’re visiting another country.

Israel’s international focus and the culture of collaboration of its research institutes and universities deeply impressed Charlie Riordan, University of Delaware vice provost for research, who represented the University on the state of Delaware trade mission to that country, July 7-11.

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The delegation was led by Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, who met at the highest levels of Israeli government -- with the prime minister, the president, the director of trade promotion and the chief economic counselor to the prime minister. 

The Delaware contingent also met with universities and offices that are responsible for commercializing the technology rolling out of Israeli universities and into new businesses.

Currently, Israel has over 1,000 companies that have incorporated in Delaware. Markell wants more of these companies to consider Delaware when they are looking to expand their physical presence into North America.

“The University of Delaware has a strong reputation for conducting cutting-edge research and educating students with a global perspective,” Riordan said. “It was a very productive visit, with positive discussions about student exchange opportunities, visiting professorships and research collaborations.” 

Riordan, who also is a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UD, met with colleagues at Hebrew University, Technion University, Tel Aviv University and the Weizmann Institute of Science.

He joined Markell and delegation members in meetings in the Office of the Chief Scientist and also met with research administrators at the Ben-Gurion National Solar Energy Center. The delegation updated reporters and business leaders back home about the trip in a Google Plus Hangout on July 10. 

UD currently has a formal partnership agreement in physical therapy with the University of Haifa, and UD researchers in fields ranging from engineering and Jewish studies to plant science and food science collaborate with colleagues at Israeli institutions. 

At a University of Delaware-Technion Symposium on Sustainable Infrastructure held in Haifa in November 2010, academic, government and industry researchers from across the globe gathered to discuss new developments in geomechanical pavement systems and bridges.

“Without question, there is a global competition for jobs, particularly in the high-tech industries,” Riordan said. “To recruit high-tech companies from Israel, or from anywhere around the globe, here to Delaware, these companies need to have confidence there is a major research university in the state that produces both a highly educated and well-trained workforce and innovative research. The trade mission served to heighten the profile of the University of Delaware in Israel.”

This past February, three UD faculty members, including Dan Rich and Maria Aristigueta, both professors in the School of Public Policy and Administration, and Doug Buttrey, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, represented the University on the state’s trade mission to South Africa

During the weeklong trip, the UD contingent focused on higher education partnerships, visiting a dozen universities and governmental agencies, from the University of Pretoria in the urban capital, to the University of Cape Town on the picturesque southwest coast. 

A partnership agreement between the University of Cape Town and UD is now being finalized as a result of the visit, and discussions are under way with several other universities about establishing agreements with UD, according to Nancy Guerra, director of UD’s Institute for Global Studies. There also are plans for a South African delegation to visit UD this fall, Guerra said.

Article by Tracey Bryant

Photos courtesy of the Office of Governor Jack A. Markell 

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