Oct. 26, 2021

​​​​​​BGU has ama​ssed 50 years of research on the water-food-energy nexus​

His Excellency British Ambassador to Israel Neil Wigan OBE visited Ben-Gurion University of the Negev late last week to hear about cutting-edge environmental research ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), which begins next week in Glasgow.

British Ambassador Neil Wigan OBE visits Prof. Shai Arnon's microplastics laboratory | Photo Credits: Shay Shmueli/BGU​

The Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research (BIDR) have been conducting research on the water-food-energy nexus for 50 years, long before the current climate crisis became everyday news. In recent years, their research has become ever more relevant as countries must find alternate sources of water, food, and energy.

“It was a pleasure to visit Ben-Gurion University in the Negev to learn more about how their desert research can tackle climate change. Israeli innovation will play an important part in helping to solve global climate challenges. I look forward to seeing how continued academic cooperation between the UK and Israel can further contribute to the regional and global fight against climate change,” Ambassador Wigan said after the visit.

Accompanied by His Excellency Sergio Barbanti, Italian ambassador to Israel, Ambassador Wigan was briefed by BIDR Director Prof. Noam Weisbrod. The UK and Italy are co-hosting COP26.

Prof. Weisbrod briefed the ambassadors on research into desertification, water scarcity, desert agriculture, renewable energy, ecosystem dynamics, dryland sustainability, and climate change.

They also met with Prof. Shai Arnon from the Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research who discussed his research into microplastics transport in rivers and streams. Prof. Naftali Lazarovitch, director of the French Associates Institute for Agriculture and Biotechnology of Drylands, discussed cultivating vineyards in deserts.​

British Ambassador Neil Wigan OBE visits the experimental vineyard with Prof. Naftali Lazarovich | Photo Credits: Shay Shmueli/BGU