Institute for Applied Research,
Ben Gurion University of the Negev

David Ben-Gurion was 20 years old when he arrived in Israel from Plónsk, Russia in 1906. He spent the next four years as an agricultural laborer in the Negev. His interest in applied agricultural research continued throughout his life. In 1957, he founded the Negev Institute for Arid Zone Research in the Negev’s capital, Be’er Sheva. The Institute later became the Institute for Applied Research of the Ben-Gurion University, which is home to The Institute for Agriculture and Applied Biology. Ben-Gurion was committed to fulfilling the biblical vision of Israel as a land flowing with milk and honey. He observed, “If we don’t conquer the desert, it will conquer us.”

The Institute for Agriculture and Applied Biology has 13 research scientists, 20 technicians, and 24 research students. Trainees from developing countries are  invited to the institute to learn about applied agriculture processes and technology. The institute has ten well-equipped laboratories, growth chambers, eight research greenhouses , and a refrigerated seed storage facility and seed storage program. Recent research has focused on a range of applied agricultural science, from hybrid tomatoes to using geothermal heat to warm greenhouses.

Professor Yosef Mizrahi, head of the Institute for Agriculture & Applied Biology, has been the Israel and Bernard Nichunsky chairman in Desert Agriculture since 1992. Formerly the director and coordinator of Agricultural Research and Development in the southern region of Israel, Professor Mizrahi is well known for his work in developing Vine Ripe and Desert Sweet Tomatoes. His research has led to the creation of Desert Exotics, a company in En haBesor specializing in health drinks and liquors from exotic fruits.