Principal characteristics of the facility and of the support offered to users:
The facility is a research institute in the Negev desert, with permanent 65 faculty and 60 support staff, catering for 64 visiting and temporary staff, and 100 local and foreign research students, having access to infrastructure and equipment, and option to collaborate with the permanent staff. The unique virtue of the BIDR is its multidisciplinary nature studying the drylands from all, possible aspects. This is the very reason for proposing the entire BIDR as an LSF. It offers the rare combination of an easily accessible desert environment and all the logistics and technology required for conducting modern inter-and multidisciplinary desert research. The institute thus, provides facilities in research programs: on Desert Environment (Physical and Living), Man in the Drylands, Dryland Water Research, Biological Production (Intensive and Extensive Plant Production, and Animal Production). Guests and trainees may use a solar energy test site, meteorological tower, experimental farms, remote-sensing and GIS laboratory, greenhouses and aquaculture (fish and microalgae) installations, and collaborate in photovoltaics, molecular biology, human habitat, aquaculture, bioremediation, biomass production, biodiversity and climate change studies-all under and for desert conditions. The field sites are up to 70 km off campus, covering rocky, sandy, and loessial watersheds; altitude range of -100 to 900 m above sea level; mean annual rainfall of 20 to 300 mm; hyperarid, arid and semiarid dryland types; African, Asian and Mediterranean biotes; intensive dryland agricultural farms, communities engaged in extensive agriculture and pasturalism, water resource development projects; nature reserves, ecotourism and interpretation centers. All research sites are adequately linked to campus which is two hours drive from international airport, that is 2-5 hours flight from European major international airports. The diversity of desert conditions and desert development approaches in Israel, and the proximity of the institute to centers of logistic support in Israel, and to the scientific institutions in Europe, enable European scientists to (a) study the desert's interactions with European climatic, ecological and social systems; (b) use the Israeli desert as an early warning system for Europe by monitoring global climate change; and (c) join effort to combat southern European desertification, and desertification in developing countries assisted by ODA of EU members, of which many are Parties to the Convention to Combat Desertification. Quantity of access being offered and number of users who may benefit: The total budget requested is kECU 222per annum, totaling kECU 666 for the three year duration of the proposal. The exact number of users is 20 per annum for an average stay of 2 months each, totaling 60 visitors for the three years or 120 man-months. More details can be found in section 7.1 on pages 17, 18.