Vanderbilt engineering professor will use Israel exchange fellowship to explore innovations in water and energy usage for food production

Sanjiv Gokhale, Engineering Endowed Director of Construction Management and professor of the practice of civil engineering, is among 35 faculty members from U.S. universities and colleges who will tour Israel through a fellowship program sponsored by the Jewish National Fund-USA’s Boruchin Center and other supporters.

The fellows will travel throughout Israel Dec. 26 to Jan. 8 with the goal of developing research collaborations, co-authoring articles and establishing additional exchange programs between the U.S. and Israel.

Sanjiv Gokhale

Gokhale will meet with faculty at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, the University of Haifa, Tel Aviv University, and Ben-Gurion University to study innovations in water and energy usage to produce food.

“Israel, a country that comprises 60% of desert terrain and whose population has increased tenfold since 1948, provides a great example of how countries should manage their water infrastructure,” Gokhale said. It recycles roughly 80% of its water, while the U.S. recycles only 5%. Israel not only has sufficient water for itself, but the country also has surplus water that it exports to neighboring countries.”

Gokhale said disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated that it is vital to understand the fragility of food supply chains, the vulnerability of food security and the need to increase domestic food production on a large scale. “Israel, through proper water management, produces 85% of its food and is still investing heavily in the process,” he said.

Trip participants will meet with professionals and experts in government, education, media, and other sectors to gain a deeper awareness of Israel as a “start-up nation,” its success in water innovation, and how the country addresses regional and global challenges.

Contact: Brenda Ellis, 615 343-6314