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BARD 40 Year Review


4.6 BARD Programs

The BARD Research Grant Program funds projects for a duration of three years. It supports all aspects of agricultural R&D including strategic or applied research.

Since 1979, the program has funded 1,330 projects with a total of $315 million (see Table 1).

Another avenue for funding is through one-year feasibility studies, which may be granted in one of two situations. In certain cases, TAC may grant one-year feasibility funding to a proposal that has yet to demonstrate preliminary results meriting three-year funding but harbors potential for innovative research. In others, researchers themselves seek funding for a one-year feasibility study in order to establish a basis for pursuing further research on an innovative idea. Applications for feasibility funding follow the same guidelines as other proposals. The funding for a one-year feasibility study is $100,000. 

Over the past 40 years, BARD has funded 98 one-year feasibility studies, of which 52 have requested further funding after their initial one-year grant came to an end. Of those, nearly half (22) received additional funding. 

The Vaadia-BARD Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, established in 1985, funds postdoctoral fellowships for one to two years for citizens of either the US or Israel to conduct agricultural research mentored by established scientists from the other country. The program identifies and supports these young scientists, who will later become leaders in agricultural R&D. The primary objective of the fellowship is to enable these young accomplished scientists to acquire new skills and techniques while becoming professionally established in the agricultural research community. Since its inception, the program has granted 248 fellowships. Fellows are granted $40,000 per year; fellows with dependents receive $49,000.

This program allows US and Israeli fellows to travel to their mentor’s research facilities and experience different research viewpoints, as well as new and different cultures and academic environments, forging symbiotic relationships and broadening their horizons. In many cases, the teaching programs in agricultural studies are also enriched by techniques, ideas and insights that stem from BARD-supported projects and the research fellows’ work. Many of the fellows now hold key positions within the agricultural R&D community in both the US and Israel. Approximately 70% of the postdoctoral alumni have stayed in research or academia, and some 10% currently hold positions in the agricultural-related private or government sector. Table 3 shows the distribution of postdoctoral fellows across research fields. The full list of the 248 postdoctoral fellows since the program began in 1985 can be found in Appendix D.


Table 3:

Postdoctoral Fellowship Grants by Research Fields

Research field

Total number of postdoctoral fellows 

Animal Health and Invasive Species


Animal Production


Crop Health and Invasive Species


Crop Production


Agricultural Economics


Agricultural Innovation and Engineering Technologies


Food Product- Quality Safety and Security


Environment and Renewable Resources


Grand Total


Crop production and crop health are the most popular research fields within the postdoctoral program. Together, they make up 60% of the postdoctoral grants funded by BARD. The fields of agricultural innovation and engineering technologies, agricultural economics and food products combined account for only 6% of the postdoctoral grants.

The Senior Research Fellowship Program allows senior US scientists to visit Israeli research institutions for a period of two to twelve months in order to promote the exchange of ideas and personal interaction between the senior scientist and Israeli scientists and students. The program has funded 21 senior research fellows since beginning in 1990.

The Graduate Student Fellowship Program enables doctoral candidates from the US or Israel to travel to the other country for a period of three to six months to acquire new skills and techniques in their field of study. The program has funded 24 graduate student fellows since beginning in 2007. 

Workshops Program supports workshops in areas related to the binational and shared agricultural interests of the US and Israel. The program has funded 52 scientific workshops since beginning in 1990, of which 14 were held in the US, 36 in Israel and another 2 in Europe. The full list can be found in Appendix E.

B-Lever Program was recently launched (December 2018) with the aim to support academia-to-industry collaboration through partnership with the Israel Innovation Authority and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). 


4.8 BARD Auxiliary Programs

Texas-BARD Program (2004-2011, 11 projects, $4 million) promoted mission-oriented, applied, collaborative agricultural research and development activities conducted jointly by scientists in Texas and Israel. Funded projects were expected to be of interest to the relevant agricultural industries and yield applicable results within 3 years, as well as possible public-private partnerships.

The University of Maryland (UMBI)-BARD Aquaculture Research Program (2004-2008, 10 projects, $3 million) promoted and competitively supported mission-oriented, collaborative aquaculture research and development activities between US and Israeli scientists. The research projects addressed issues of mutual benefit to both countries and provided solutions to shared aquaculture and marine biology challenges, opening new horizons for advancing related fields.

UC Davis, Center for Produce Safety-BARD Program (2006-2012, 2 projects, $500,000) provided competitive funding aimed at fostering collaborative, mission-oriented research between agricultural scientists from US universities or research institutions and their Israeli counterparts engaged in joint research relating to food safety. 

MARD Multinational Agricultural Research and Development Program (2003-2014, 11 workshops, 9 projects $700,000) promoted collaborative agricultural research and development in the Middle East region between scientists from Israel, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and the US. The program funded regional workshops that addressed pressing agricultural concerns common to farmers throughout the Middle East, and provided modest facilitating grants. This enabled the joint teams of scientists to obtain preliminary research results that allowed them to develop proposals and seek funding opportunities with agencies offering more lucrative grants.

NIFA-BARD Program (2014- present, 5 grants, $3.4 million) enables Israeli scientists to collaborate with US scientists within the framework of a specific request for applications sponsored by the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Competitive Grants Program of the USDA. To date, $887,000 have been allocated to Israeli scientists as a match to the NIFA grants allocated to the US scientists.