Two ministries to fund establishment of national knowledge center in climate change field

DeserTech is an innovation community that promotes the development, adaptation and commercialization of technologies that enable sustainable living in arid climates.

BIRDS FLY near factory emissions n Tangshan, China, in 2016. Waskow emphasizes the importance of using religion to fight climate change (photo credit: KIM KYUNG-HOON/FILE PHOTO/ REUTERS)
BIRDS FLY near factory emissions n Tangshan, China, in 2016. Waskow emphasizes the importance of using religion to fight climate change
(photo credit: KIM KYUNG-HOON/FILE PHOTO/ REUTERS)

The Innovation, Science and Technology Ministry and the Environmental Protection Ministry have published a call for the establishment of a “DeserTech” national knowledge center in the field of climate change with an emphasis on a desert environment.

“Climate change and the desert environments pose many challenges for humanity. The key to dealing with them involves science, innovation and cooperation," said Hila Haddad-Chemlnik, Director-General of the Innovation, Science and Technology Ministry. "The Academic Knowledge Center will develop expertise in desert technologies that will also be fertile ground for start-up companies and attract international research and investment.”

Galit Cohen, Director-General of the Environmental Protection Ministry added that “the establishment of the knowledge center is a significant step in strengthening scientific and applied research and making information accessible in the field of climate change, with an emphasis on a desert environment. This is another step on the way to the full operation of the DeserTech Center, promoting its contribution to strengthening Israeli innovative technologies and positioning Israel as a world leader in the field.”

Haddad-Chemlnik said that "the Innovation, Science and Technology Ministry supports proposals for the establishment of such a center in the amount of NIS 3 million for up to five years, joining the NIS 12 million allocated for the establishment of the DeserTech center from the budget of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Finance and Economy Ministries." 

Recognized Israeli institutions of higher learning, research institutes, state companies or hospitals, regional research and development centers and government units are invited to submit their proposals by September 5, 2022 to https://did.li/BKSw5.

 Interrelated crises with reciprocal feedback: Pollution, Climate change and Activity that Impairs Biodiversity (credit: studiovin/Shutterstock) Interrelated crises with reciprocal feedback: Pollution, Climate change and Activity that Impairs Biodiversity (credit: studiovin/Shutterstock)

DeserTech

DeserTech is an innovation community that promotes the development, adaptation and commercialization of technologies that enable sustainable living in arid climates while simultaneously turning Beersheba and the whole Negev region into a global entrepreneurial hope for these technologies. 

Located in the “capital city” of the Negev, the community operates at an international level. The city is a living lab of science and technology. DeserTech builds on existing technological and policy research such as Ben-Gurion University and its Institutes for Desert Research, regional R&D centers and leading startups in the area of sustainable agriculture, energy, water and infrastructure. 

Desertification is becoming a major global challenge, the ministry director-general stressed. “Desert areas cover over 40% of the world and are already home to over 20% of the world’s population. By 2025, 1.8 billion people will experience “absolute water scarcity,” and the devastating consequences can be seen in the damage to biodiversity, socio-economic stability, and sustainable development. 

Following the move from the IDF camp to the Negev (Government Decision 625), the Innovation, Science and Technology Ministry will support the establishment of the DeserTech National Knowledge Center, as part of the Environmental Protection Ministry.

The purpose of the Knowledge Center, which is part of the DeserTech Center, is to establish an infrastructure for applied scientific research in the field of climate change, with an emphasis on a desert environment. This, while making information accessible to all research communities in the country (in academia, the public service and industry) and increasing cooperation between various institutions and sectors.

In addition, the center will deal with the development and accessibility of tools and infrastructure for researchers, access to existing databases and the construction of databases unique to the Negev region and information on scholarships and research budgets.

The knowledge center that will be established will make information about climate change and living in a desert environment accessible to anyone who requires it. It will also contribute to the position of Israel as a leading international and regional factor in dealing with the climate challenges associated with the desert environment and its unique characteristics.