The Dead Sea-Arava Science Center (DSASC) operates along the entire Dead Sea and Arava Valley, a region that covers about 20% of the area of the State of Israel. This area is under the jurisdiction of the regional councils Megilot, Tamar, Central Arava and Hevel Eilot.
This area, the lowest in the world, combines an array of extreme geographical, geological, physical, and climatic conditions. It displays unique flora and fauna and contains a combination of minerals that does not exist anywhere else in the world. The area is also home to sites of international cultural, religious and historical significance including the Dead-Sea Scrolls, Masada, the Dead Sea, and Timna Mines.
The local settlements, regional councils, and research institutes have taken economic advantage of region’s special characteristics, particularly in the fields of agriculture, tourism and industry. These enterprises exist while preserving the area’s unique natural resources.
- To conduct applied research based on the region’s relative advantages, within the context of sustainable development.
- To be a center for cross-border scientific cooperation.
- To improve scientific literacy in the local adult and youth populations.
- To be a focal point for mapping, developing, and spreading knowledge regarding issues of importance to the Dead Sea and Arava through conferences, courses, publications, and more.
- To promote in the growth of the scientific community in the region.
Areas of Research and Activity:
- Climate change, infrastructure, geology, and water (groundwater, flooding, salination)
- Regional involvement in the various proposals for halting further Dead Sea level decline and rehabilitating the Jordan River, including the “Red Sea-Dead Sea Conduit”, and assessment of the effect on settlements, agriculture, water, and environment.
- Sustainable management of trans border infrastructures in the Dead Sea, Arava, and Jordan River.
- Botanical and zoological species diversity along the extent of the valley and in the Dead Sea.
- Local environmental quality, natural resources, and ecology (air quality, waste recycling, renewable energy, etc.).
- Biotechnology, agriculture, and sustainable agriculture in an extreme arid climate (plants, algae, microorganisms).
- Eco-, archeological, and heritage tourism.
- Medical implications of the Dead Sea climate, minerals, and environment.
- Environmental education and scientific literacy.
The DSASC publishes an electronic journal, “The Dead Sea and Arava Research.”
DSASC Organizational Structure:
The Center was established by the Ministry of Science, Culture, and Sport and the Regional Councils, and runs under the auspices of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. The Center is a registered non-profit association, and receives support from Partnership 2000 of the Jewish Agency for Israel.
The DSASC includes four divisions:
The Southern Arava Division, located in the offices of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies at Kibbutz Ketura, Hevel Eilot Regional Council. Research Director: Dr. Elli Groner firstname.lastname@example.org
The Central Arava Division, located in the Hatzeva Field School, Arava Tichona Regional Council. Research Director: Dr. Gidon Winters email@example.com
The Dead Sea Division, located at the Tamar Regional Council and at the laboratory of Kibbutz Ein Gedi, Tamar and Megillot Regional Councils. Research Director: Prof. Zvi Bentwich firstname.lastname@example.org
The Ramon Division, located in Mitzpe Ramon regional Council. Research Director: Dr. Noa Avni email@example.com
The center’s offices are located in Tamar Regional Council, Neve Zohar.
The Science Center operates various research laboratories:
- Microbiology and biochemistry skin lab in Ein Gedi – innovative methods for researching skin tissue growth and skin microbes.
- Plant research lab in Hazeva – study of desert flora and spices and their use as medicines; a unique plant library also exists here.
- A lab dedicated to the zebra fish model, as an exemplary for disease research.
- A nematode research lab – as a model for scanning matter.
- A renewable energy lab in Ketura – development of hydrogen based fuel.
- A renewable energy lab based on algae in Ma’ale Shaharut School.
- An energy production lab using pyrolysis.
- An energy lab for the utilization of the sun by photovoltaic cells.
The Science Center is actively seeking young researchers from Israel and abroad, and offers housing assistance in the region.