About the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research (BIDR)

December 16, 2021
About the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research (BIDR)

The Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research (BIDR), constituting a faculty of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), were established in 1974. Today, the BIDR is a global leader in research on desertification and sustainable development of the drylands. In addition, BIDR researchers and students investigate ways to meet the global challenges related to food security, water scarcity, clean energy, and more. To address these challenges, researchers help harness dryland ecosystems around the world for human habitation and survival with innovative science and cutting-edge technology.


The BIDR is located on BGU’s Sede Boqer Campus, in the heart of the Negev Desert, which covers some 60 percent of Israel’s land and represents the country's last open frontier for sustainable development. The BIDR’s scientists dwell in the desert—in physical and intellectual interaction with their living laboratory. Largely thanks to the research being done at the BIDR, Israel is one of the few countries where the desert is receding. The knowledge gained at the BIDR is shared worldwide, where the rapid expansion of drylands, water scarcity, food security problems, and energy crises are affecting the lives of billions of people living in more than 100 countries. The BIDR comprises three institutes, each with own its mission and vision: The French Associates Institute for Agriculture and Biotechnology of Drylands engages in cutting-edge fundamental and applied research to develop sustainable agricultural solutions in drylands to enhance global food production. The Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research focuses on leveraging new technologies to provide drinking water and water for agricultural and industrial use and to promote the sustainable use of water resources, particularly in drylands. The Swiss Institute for Dryland Environmental Research develops, implements, and disseminates research on clean energy, environmental physics, and fundamental and applied ecological and conservation knowledge and technologies. The Albert Katz International School for

Desert Studies is the educational arm of the BIDR, serving graduate students from all over the world. The Blaustein Center for Scientific Cooperation also supports the BIDR by promoting exchange programs, postdoctoral training, workshops, conferences, and joint research programs with academic institutions worldwide.

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), founded in 1969, aspires to fulfill the vision of Israel's first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, who believed that the young country’s bright scientific future lay in the development of the Negev, Israel's vast southern desert. Today, as it moves into the second half of its first century, BGU is realizing its mandate to teach, conduct research, and drive the development of the Negev: some 20,000 students are enrolled in six faculties at its campuses in Beer-Sheva, Sede Boqer, and Eilat.
BGU is not only one of Israel’s leading research universities; it has also acquired an international reputation in numerous fields. BGU conducts cutting-edge, world-class research in biotechnology, cyber security, energy, European politics and society, comparative religious studies, Hebrew literature, Jewish thought, nanotechnology, neuroscience, robotics, water and agriculture, and much more. BGU’s unique commitment to the local community means that thousands of students participate in community-oriented activities and special tutoring projects while pursuing academic excellence.