The Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research

Sde Boker Campus

Prof. Noam Weisbrod, Director


The Institutes for Desert Research were established in Midreshet Ben-Gurion in 1974, following a 1972 recommendation of the council for higher education and a 1973 decision of the Israeli government. In 1974, the Ben-Gurion University (BGU) nominated Prof. Amos Richmond to be the founder and first director of the institutes. In 1980, 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).
A balanced professional blend of 90 scientists, 60 technical and administrative staff members, and over 150 Israeli and foreign research students can 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 water resource management, wastewater treatment, and bioremediation applications.
  • Ecology, with applications in conservation biology and environmental protection.
  • Plant and animal physiology applications in desert agriculture, livestock, and aquaculture.
  • Cellular and molecular biology, with applications in desert biotechnologies and biodegradation of environmental pollution.
  • Social sciences and architecture, with applications in regional planning and human habitat design in drylands.
These diverse research and advanced teaching activities are carried out in the laboratories, classes, and other facilities on the Sde Boker Campus and in research stations and field research sites scattered over the Negev Desert.
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 research the desert environment required for promoting sustainable uses of the Negev Desert and other drylands the world over.
Besides the traditional structure of research groups operating in the framework of departments, the institutes conduct 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." For more details, see the school website.
The scientific collaboration activities of the institutes are dealt with 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 worldwide. The Center is also responsible for the Dryland Research Specific Support Action (SSA) operation, an activity supported by the EU. For more information, see the BCSC website.
We hope that regional and global geopolitical changes, the Middle East peace process included, will attest to the national, regional, and international responsibilities of the BIDR as the mission-oriented desert research organ of the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. We want to extend our invitation to colleagues from Israel, the region, and the world to join us in fulfilling this mission.