BARD The United States- Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund

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.

The United States-Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund, or BARD, was established over 40 years ago. BARD’s establishment was an efficient and rapid process, requiring only a single year – including the passing of special legislation. USDA ARS administrator T.W Edminster, appointed a steering committee to discuss the matter in September 1977, and BARD’s board of directors’ first meeting was held in November 1978. This was in no small part, due to many people, both in the US and in Israel, who were involved in making BARD a reality. The first round for funding for joint US-Israel agricultural research was granted in May 1979 to 45 projects

The signing ceremony for BARD; Washington DC, November 7, 1978. 
Bottom, left to right: Y. Guron, Y. Vaadia, H. Bar-On, G.E. Schuh, D.G. Unger.
Top, left to right: E. Raff, P. Zusman, D. Boaz, J. Avni, R.E. Neetz, T.W. Edminster, J.M. Beattie, C. Baxter.

In BARD’s first ten years of existence, 1488 proposal have been submitted, 416 of them approved, with a total of 72 million dollars spent. Some of the most prominent breakthroughs during this team can be seen in BARD funded research, such as the cultured vaccines led by Dr. Ristic from the University of Illinois and Dr. Pipano of Kimron Veterinary Institute, which through Israeli input on vaccination for bovine against the Babesia infection, managed to save the US millions in damages due to infections by creating the cultured vaccines.

The 10 years that followed saw that the activities of BARD have continued to be focused primarily on the support of mission-oriented, collaborative agricultural research projects in areas of mutual interest to the United States and Israel. Since BARD’s inception, there have been 22 rounds of proposal submissions involving a total of 3,000 proposals, of which 850 were funded to a total of $186M. The range of agricultural research areas funded includes economics, engineering, animal production and protection, aquaculture, cellular and molecular biology, field, garden and horticultural crops, plant production and protection, postharvest and food science, soil, water, air and environment

In it’s 30 years of existence BARD continued to grow and expand it’s amount of projects funded with continual growth and influence in all fields, mainly being, increased efficiency of agricultural production, protection of plants and animals against Biotic and abiotic Stress; Food quality, safety and security; Water quality & quantity; Functional genomics and proteomics; Sensors and robotics; Sustainable bio-energy systems.

In it’s 40th year there have been 40 rounds of research project submissions involving a total of 5,600 proposals for consideration, of which 1,330 were funded to a total of $315 million. In addition, BARD support postdoctoral fellowships, international workshops, scientists exchange visits and student travel. An external review showed that over 40 years, the output from the BARD research projects has generated more than 5,600 manuscripts, of which 42% were published in first quartile (Q1) journals, i.e. those with an impact factor that ranks in the top 25% of journals in their particular research disciplines. The 20 case studies in this 10 year period have generated an economic benefit of $2.7 billion to the US economy, $0.5 billion to that of Israel and another $13.3 billion globally. The return on BARD’s investment generated by these 20 case studies is a $16.5 return for every dollar invested— a most favorable Benefit-Cost Ratio of 16.5.  

Over its 45 years of operation, BARD has invested $345 million in over 1,450 research projects and fellowships. These have generated a multitude of agricultural innovations, practices and patents, impacting economies, industries, academia and human health in both countries and beyond, with a high return on investment.