The Institutes for Desert Research were established in Sede-Boqer in 1976, following a 1972 recommendation of the council for higher education, and a 1973 decision of the Israeli government finalized by special low passed in 1976. The Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Foundation made a generous contribution to BGU, and the institutes were named The Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research (BIDR).
The BIDR have developed a new approach to dryland research and development that combines the issues of water, agriculture and environment and energy. Consequently, the BIDR is composed of three institutes:
Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research
French Associates Institute for Agriculture and Biotechnology of Dryland
Swiss Institute for Dryland Environmental Research
A balanced professional blend of 90 scientists, 60 technical and administrative staff members, and over 150 Israeli and foreign research students, have the capacity to perform basic and applied research related to “Desert Sciences".
Activities cover basic research in:
Environmental physics, with applications in desert meteorology and solar energy.
Water sciences and technology, with applications in water resource management, wastewater treatment and bioremediation.
Ecology, with applications in conservation biology and environmental protection.
Plant and animal physiology, with applications in desert agriculture, livestock, and aquaculture.
Cellular and molecular biology, with applications in desert biotechnologies and biodegradation of environmental pollutions.
Social sciences and architecture, with applications in regional planning and human habitat design in drylands.
Deserts and other drylands constitute more than 40% of the global land area. Global environmental changes such as global warming and further desertification of drylands threaten 1,300 million people in more than 100 countries. The goal of the BIDR is to carry out research on the desert environment required for promoting sustainable uses of the Negev Desert and other drylands the world over.
The institutes also operate the “Albert Katz International School for Desert Studies”. The school is responsible for all training and teaching activities at the Institutes, and offers M.Sc./M.A. and Ph.D. study programs in “Desert Studies”.
The scientific collaboration activities of the institutes are dealt within the framework of the Blaustein Center for Scientific Cooperation (BCSC). The Center promotes exchange programs, postdoctoral training, workshops and joint research programs with other academic institutions all over the world. The Center is also responsible for the operation of the Dryland Research Specific Support Action (SSA), activity supported by the EU.
More information at http://cmsprod.bgu.ac.il/Eng/Units/bidr/