Posted by: israelembassysa | December 8, 2011

The International Post Graduate program on Biotechnology in Agriculture in a world of Global Environmental Changes






Israel’s Agency for International

 Development Cooperation




Robert   H. Smith Faculty

of   Agriculture, Food & Environment

Division   for External Studies


                                        THE INTERNATIONAL POST-GRADUATE PROGRAM ON 

Biotechnology in Agriculture
in a World

of Global Environmental Changes


February   6 –  April 5, 2012

MASHAV is the Hebrew acronym for the Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation, a department established 50 years ago in Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. MASHAV is responsible for designing and implementing Israel’s international development programs, carried out in Israel and in development partner countries.

In cooperation with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Faculty of Agriculture – MASHAV’s only academic professional affiliate – we are pleased to announce the opening of a training and capacity building course entitled

 Biotechnology in Agriculture
in a World of Global Environmental Changes

 for participants from developing countries. The course will be held in Israel at the Faculty of Agriculture from February 6 – April 5, 2012.


Today’s challenges are various and contradictory. Increased agricultural yields are needed in order to feed a growing population, negative environmental impacts must be minimized, and production has to adapt to a rapidly- and ever-varying environment stemming from climatic change. New technologies and new approaches, such as improved crops through genetic engineering and genomic-assisted breeding, and the use of recycled wastewater, are being developed at our Faculty in order to address these challenges. Our aim is to provide participants with necessary tools to develop and pursue ways of dealing with increased product demand, with the requirement for reduced negative impact and with significant environmental changes such as desertification, water shortages, salt stress and crop diseases.


The course is aimed at promoting the use of new biotechnological techniques in modern agricultural production. The environment is changing and this important parameter will be a central component of this course.



The topics will reflect societal research needs and the research interests of our Faculty. They will be organized around central themes relevant to today’s agricultural challenges and where biotechnology can make a difference:

  1. 1.  Principles in biotechnology

  Introduction to Agro Biotechnology

  Molecular Biology: basics and hands-on practice

  Bioinformatics: basics and computer lab


  Molecular markers based plant breeding

  Microbial ecology in agricultural biotechnology

  Principles in Agro Biotech business

  1. 2.  Agriculture in a changing climate: global warming, desertification

  Ecological Services

  Ecophysiology and ecology of plants, land use under climate change

  Soils under climate change

  Precision agriculture

  1. 3.  From waste to value: recycling waste


  Water treatment: approaches and technologies

  Wastewater microbiology and soil functioning

  Recycling water in aquaculture

  Economics of wastewater recycling

  1. 4.  Agriculture under stress

  Plant responses  to  salinity and desiccation

  Microbial inoculation: improving plant growth in under optimal conditions

  1. 5.  Plant protection

  Early detection of plant diseases

  Evolving diseases, evolving technologies

  Enhancing defense plant responses with agricultural practices

  Biotechnology-based pest control




    Classes will be held at the Faculty’s Rehovot campus, where there are laboratories, advanced research equipment and the Central Library of Agricultural Science. Laboratory sessions will be incorporated in the course, relevant to subjects studied.

    Around-the-clock computer access will be provided, and computers will be used extensively.

    Basic instruction will be given to achieve the required level of proficiency in PowerPoint for preparation of a final project.

    Scientific material and homework will be assigned and graded.

    Professional field trips will be held.

    Full attendance is required.



Each participant will prepare a final project, which will be reviewed and graded. It should apply knowledge acquired during the course to a topic in agricultural biotechnology. Participants are advised to bring with them digitalized data relevant to their countries. On completion of the course and fulfillment of its requirements, participants will receive certificates, which will be accredited by many universities.


Candidates interested in attending this program require:

    M.Sc. degree or above in biology or agriculture from a recognized university. (A detailed record of studies and copies of degrees must be included with application forms.)

    Documentation of academic studies conducted in English OR a TOEFL score of at least 89 on the internet-based scale OR an internationally recognized equivalent.  (The language of instruction is English. Therefore, participants whose native tongue isn’t English, must furnish proof of proficiency in this language.)

    Basic knowledge in Molecular Biology.

    Professional experience in the field is recommended.

    An official certificate of good health.

    Letters of recommendation are required from the candidate’s place of work or university.


Scholarships are available from MASHAV (see below) to cover the fee for study. The scholarship covers tuition, board, lodging and travel in Israel required for the purposes of the program of studies. This fee does not include travel costs to and from the home countries or incidental expenses.

Application forms may be obtained from the nearest Israeli diplomatic or consular representative or can also be downloaded from the Internet site of the Foreign Ministry of Israel, MASHAV Study Programs.  Their address is: .

Completed applications (2 copies) MUST be sent directly to the Israeli representative in your country by January 6, 2012. In addition, please send a copy of the forms to the Faculty by e-mail to .


    ACCOMMODATIONS: Single bedroom accommodation in a shared apartment will be provided in our fully equipped guest-house on campus. Meals will be provided. Both laundry (on campus) and dry cleaning (in town) are at the participant’s expense.

    WEATHER: The weather in Israel during the winter months is varied, temperatures range from approximately 5-20°C.  There may be some days where light clothing is appropriate, but it might also rain and be quite cool during the season.  Participants are requested to bring clothes suitable for outdoor activities including a warm jacket and comfortable walking shoes.  We also recommend that you bring some light sweaters, long-sleeved shirts, a rain coat and an umbrella.

    INSURANCE: Participants are insured for medical care during their stay in Israel. This does not include pre-existing conditions and /or major dental care. Personal belongings are not insured, and are the responsibility of each individual.

    Participants who take regular MEDICATION are requested to bring enough medicine for the duration of the course. Participants who wear GLASSES are advised to bring a spare pair.

    We recommend that HAND LUGGAGE include basic toiletries and a change of clothes for the first day or so. These should be carried separately in case of delay in baggage delivery.

    Participants will not receive any allowance or pocket money. Please bring some money for SMALL EXPENSES.

    AIRPORT TRANSPORTATION: Those accepted to the course will supply flight details to their local Israeli representative, to be forwarded to us. Upon arrival in Israel, the participant will pick up his/her luggage. After passing through customs, the participant will enter the arrivals terminal and walk towards the left. Go up the escalator to the first floor. On the left, behind the car rental counters, you will see a counter of a company called TOURBUS. This is a special taxi service, which has a list of expected arrivals. Go to the counter and tell them your name, country and that you’re attending a course at the Faculty. You will be taken to the Faculty of Agriculture, Rehovot, free of charge. This service is pre-paid.





This 60-day course is truly a joint venture. Involved in its implementation are:

     Academics: under the auspices of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food & Environment. Academic Coordinator: Prof. Edouard Jurkevitch

    Administration: by the Faculty’s Division for External Studies in cooperation with the Division for International Cooperation of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MASHAV).



Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation, known as MASHAV in its Hebrew acronym, was founded in 1958 as part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is responsible for initiating and implementing Israel’s development-cooperation program worldwide. MASHAV aims at transferring the expertise and technologies, which have assisted Israel in its own path to development, to other countries. Today, Israel cooperates with almost 140 countries, providing training in Israel and abroad, operating on-site demonstration projects and building medical infrastructures in partner countries. MASHAV is active in fields ranging from agriculture to medicine and from community development to entrepreneurship.


The Hebrew University of Jerusalem was opened in 1925, preceding the establishment of the State of Israel by over two decades. The University was designed to be a world class institution of higher learning and research. Today, the Hebrew University comprises 7 faculties, 15 schools, some 60 research centers, a present student body of about 24,000 and a tenured-track faculty of some 1,500. One third of its enrollment is at the M.Sc. and Ph.D. level.



The Hebrew University’s Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food & Environment was established in 1942 in Rehovot, a city at a distance of some 55 km (35 miles) from the main campus of the University in Jerusalem. The site was chosen due to considerations of climate and soil conditions. It is the only agricultural institution of higher education in Israel offering university degrees.

Agricultural Biotechnology is taught at the Faculty at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. The Faculty’s high level of research is known worldwide. A vast range of individual and group research activities takes place, with an interdisciplinary approach encouraged by various research centers. This course will be conducted in cooperation with The Otto Warburg Center for Agricultural Biotechnology, established at the Faculty in 1984. The Center is geared to conducting research programs both within the Faculty and with scientists in similar fields all over the world.

The Faculty’s Division for External Studies was established in 1986. One of its aims is to expose academic graduates from abroad to post-graduate programs, giving them insight into the achievements and research of Israel in general (and of the Faculty in particular), expanding their knowledge in specific fields and creating opportunities for international cooperation.


Further information relating to the subject matter of the course may be obtained from:

        Division for External Studies

        Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food & Environment

        P.O. Box 12

        Rehovot, Israel    76100

        Tel.  972-8-9489509, or 972-8-9489511

        Fax. 972-8-9470171


        Director:  Ms. Miri Ben-Haim

        Program Administrator: Ms. Randy Lang

        E-mail address:

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