Mission Statement | History | The Dead Sea Ecosystem

History of the MDSRC

First Steps

The concept of a Dead Sea Research Center was initially conceived by Prof. Z. Ben-Avraham, who submitted the idea to the Rector of Tel Aviv University, Prof. Y. Ben-Shaul on January 22, 1986. The agreement between the Minerva Foundation and Tel Aviv University to establish a Minerva Dead Sea Research Center (MDSRC) dedicated to the study of the lithosphere in the Dead Sea region, was signed on November 16, 1990. The establishment of the MDSRC, was set up within the Department of Geophysics and Planetary Sciences, was approved by the Senate of Tel Aviv University on February 2, 1991.


The MDSRC was finally inaugurated on October 6, 1991, at the Hod Hotel located on the shores of Dead Sea. The key speaker at the inauguration ceremony was Prof. Karl Fuchs, chairman of the MDSRC Beirat. The MDSRC is directed by Prof. Z. Ben-Avraham who is assisted in his task and supervised by a Scientific Committee (Beirat) composed of scientists from Germany and Israel. The last Beirat meeting took place in 2002. The scientific activity of the MDSRC was evaluated in 1998 after an initial period of seven years. The evaluation recognized the scientific achievements of the MDSRC by recommending that: "the Minerva Foundation should continue supporting it for an additional 14 years (from end 1998), the last years subject to a major scientific evaluation with positive conclusions."

Recent Developments

Following the 1998 review of the MDSRC, the interdisciplinary and integrative aspect of the research has been widened, mainly through large scale German-Israeli or multinational research initiatives and specific poles of excellence have been developed. Despite a very tensed and poisoned political situation in the region over the past four years (2000-2004), initial contacts were preserved, in some cases a certain level of scientific intimacy even resulted. Since 2000, the MDSRC has remained one of the only active direct communication avenue between Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian geo-scientists. Several new Israeli-Palestinian and Israeli-Jordanian cooperative projects have been submitted during 2004-2005 and scientific exchanges have seriously intensified. Should the situation normalize again, the MDSRC, which is at the forefront of earth science research in the region, will be in a privileged position, ready to serve as a bridge for new multilateral research initiatives centered around environmental and sustainable development challenges that are affecting the Dead Sea ecosystem. Today, after another seven years of scientific activity (1998-2004) the MDSRC is presenting again its scientific activities for evaluation by the Minerva Foundation.