Ben-Gurion University of the Negev announced on Tuesday the formation of Israel’s first School of Sustainability and Climate Change, an interdisciplinary research and innovation initiative to tackle some of the world’s most pressing environmental issues.

“The school is based on five decades of accumulated knowledge, experience and scientific research in the Negev Desert,” said president Professor Daniel Chamovitz. “It is a natural step for the university, acknowledged globally for its environmental, energy and sustainability research, to harness that research in service to humankind’s greatest challenges. We will be investing resources and recruiting partners to create the next generation of climate and environmental solutions.”

The program will incorporate internationally renowned scientists from BGU’s Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, as well as those in various other departments, including geography and environmental development, earth and environmental sciences, life sciences, health sciences and environmental engineering. They will collaborate with students on a wide range of areas such as renewable natural resources, environmental and sustainability policy, and management.

Doug Seserman, chief executive officer of American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, said that “by realizing David Ben-Gurion’s vision, the university plays a critical role as a driving force of sustainable growth in the region.”

A multidisciplinary approach will strengthen research being carried out in numerous fields, including water, food security, clean energy, environmental engineering, public health and social justice.

“Climate change is this generation’s great challenge,” says Chamovitz. “What was once a local problem has transformed into a global crisis. Large-scale desalination and drip irrigation, climate-adapted agriculture and advanced energy technologies emerged out of necessity here in the Negev. Survival in the desert has always been predicated on human ingenuity and given the challenges facing the world, we are committed to sharing our knowledge through the creation of the school.”


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