4.2 BARD’s Activities
BARD runs several programs that facilitate joint US-Israel agricultural R&D (section 4.6). The main program funds research proposals that are submitted to the fund on an annual basis and meticulously appraised through a three-tiered evaluation process.
These fellowship and workshops applications are reviewed by the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) during its annual meeting. This process (section 4.3) was set in place by the founders of BARD in order to ensure that funding is granted to the best proposals and that the research topics will promote the agricultural interests of both the US and Israel.
The scope of research projects spans a wide range of fields within agriculture. BARD’s research priorities are determined by the board of directors, which reviews them every few years.
The following are BARD’s current priorities:
- Increased Efficiency of Agricultural Production: including sustainable development, efficient use of resources, economic evaluation of policies and regulatory issues, and crops that yield higher value per unit.
- Protection of Plants and Animals against Biotic Stress: including monitoring pest occurrence, genetic changes in different biological systems, and tracking invasive species and emerging diseases.
- Agricultural Production Challenges in Increasing Marginal Conditions: such as drought, increased salinity, high temperature and nutrient stress.
- Food Quality, Safety and Security: including improved assessment and detection methods, food nutritive value in relation to human health, functional foods, ensured/increased quantity/supply, and postharvest treatments.
- Water Quality and Quantity: including efficient use of low-quality water (gray, black, saline), improved economic return for water in agriculture, crop response to soil and water quality and constituents, impact of nutrients on water quality.
- Functional Genomics and Proteomics that deal with important agricultural issues: including production and protection traits, genetic optimization and increased yield.
- Sensors and Robotics: linking biological phenomena with sensors or otherwise bridging into the fields of bioengineering, nano-technology, precision agriculture and labor reduction.
- Sustainable Bio-Energy Systems: including biofuel production systems, reduced energy costs, renewable resources, reduced greenhouse gases, and diversified farm economy.