Ben Gurion University (BGU) is one of Israel's largest research universities (>19,000 students). BGU aspires to be among the best inter-disciplinary research universities in the world, a leader in scientific innovation, inter-disciplinary research and applied sciences – all of which impact daily life. It is committed to social and environmental responsibility and is working to develop the Negev, Israel and the world. The University consists on five facultues (Engineering, Health, Huminities and Social, and Natral science. In addition, the Institutes for Desert Research (BIDR), situated 55 km south of Beer-Sheva, is the Israel's national institute for desert research with a scientific staff of about 90 scientists, 60 technical and administrative staff members, and 150 Israeli and foreign research students. BIDR has the capacity to perform basic and applied research related to “Desert Sciences”.
Arnon Karnieli received the Ph.D. degree from the University of Arizona, Tucson, in 1988. Since then, he has been the Head of the Remote Sensing Laboratory, Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Sede Boker Campus, Israel. His main research is focused on processing of spaceborne, airborne, and ground spectroscopic data of drylands with respect to desertification and climate change processes. In this regard, his study’s applications cover dryland ecosystems and agriculture, and to a lesser extent dust and coastal water. He is the Israeli Principle Investigator of the forthcoming Vegetation and Environmental New Micro Spacecraft (VENμS) mission. Prof. Karnieli has published more than 150 papers in peer-reviewed journals. He has gained a considerable number of national and international proposals. Among these are the FP6 (MSRS) and FP7 (PRACTIS and ExpeER). Beside Israel, his world-wide activities were conducted in Central Asia, Mongolia, China, and West Africa.
In Ecopotential he is involved in WP 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, and 8, leading task 8.2 (Upscaling local ecosystem understanding beyond the PA scale).