BARD is a competitive funding program for mutually beneficial, mission-oriented, strategic and applied research of agricultural problems, jointly conducted by American and Israeli scientists. Most BARD projects focus on increasing agricultural productivity, particularly in hot and dry climates, and emphasize plant and animal health, food quality and safety, and environmental issues. BARD also supports international workshops. BARD offers fellowships for postdoctoral research, senior research scientists and graduate students. BARD is empowered to fund scientists affiliated with public or not-for-profit, private entities and to encourage the exchange of agricultural scientists, engineers or other agricultural experts.
During its 35 years of operation BARD has funded over 1300 projects with a total investment of more than $300 million. In addition it is administrating collaborative research between agricultural scientists in Israel and their colleagues in Canada and Australia.
Recently BARD established the MARD program to promote cooperative agricultural research and development activities between scientists in Israel, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and the United States. During its five years of operation, MARD has funded numerous successful regional workshops, mutual visits, training seminars and similar activities that have enhanced the spirit of collaboration between Palestinian, Jordanian, Israeli and US investigators. MARD now offers Facilitating Grants to enable small multinational research groups to jointly prepare a detailed research proposal to be submitted to other international granting organizations.
An independent, 20-year external review of BARD (2000) examined the scientific, agricultural and economic impact of BARD funded research as well as its operation. The Report of the Review Committee is available upon request.
The Committee concluded that:
- BARD has selectively funded outstanding agricultural science activities, performed by leading researchers. BARD supported the training of some of the most promising young scientists in a broad research program that supports agriculture of mutual importance and relevance in the two countries and internationally.
- BARD research produces scientific and technical outcomes of high caliber. The Fund attracts submissions from researchers among the top echelons in their fields.
- An independent economic review team estimated dollar benefits of 10 BARD projects to total $440 million to the United States alone, by conservative estimate through the year 2010. An additional $300 million will accrue in benefits to Israel. The returns from these 10 projects alone exceed, by far, the total investment in the BARD program since its inception in 1979. The high number of technological and economic benefits to the agriculture of both countries and the Middle East region justifies the program and its continued funding.