By Stacy St. Clair

A research initiative between the University of Chicago and Israel’s Ben-Gurion University of the Negev enjoyed some rare political star power Sunday, as both Israeli President Shimon Peres and Mayor Rahm Emanuel attended a signing ceremony in Jerusalem to celebrate the new agreement.

The two schools soon will begin funding a series of research projects aimed at creating nanotechnologies that address water shortages in arid climates. The project’s goal is to find new materials and processes for making clean, fresh drinking water more plentiful and less expensive by 2020.

The Chicago research team will be led by Matthew Tirrell, director of the university’s Institute for Molecular Engineering. Tirrel’s group will include scientists from Argonne National Laboratory, which the university manages for the U.S. Department of Energy, and the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass., which recently signed an affiliation agreement with the school…

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Areas of Focus: Environment
Producing and using energy damages people’s health and the environment. EPIC research is quantifying the social costs of energy choices and uncovering policies that help protect health while facilitating growth.