MUSCAT: The Middle East Desalination Research Center (MEDRC), which has been running research fellowships for students of Gaza and the West Bank, has announced support for 30 new projects.

“Postgraduate funding has been awarded to 30 individual projects from Palestine in the fields of water desalination, treatment and reuse. MEDRC research fellows studying at universities in Gaza and the West Bank will receive tuition fees, living expenses and research costs,” stated MEDRC.

MEDRC research fellows are committed to further development of water sectors in their respective countries. Osama al Masry, a new MEDRC fellow, stated, “I hope my research will improve the lives of Palestinian people by finding water resources that are healthier and by offering them a better environment without pollution. My dream is to see the Gaza strip green and clean.”

Given Gaza’s current water resources, the territory would become uninhabitable, according to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East. The United Nations estimates that Gaza’s population will grow by almost another 500,000 in the next five years, which will push demand to an estimated 260mn m3 water annually.

MEDRC has run an annual call for Master’s Research Fellowships for students from Gaza and the West Bank to study at universities in Gaza and the West Bank since 2012, which addresses an immediate need or specific problem as identified by the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) related to water management, desalination or water reuse, Over hundred fellows have been supported as part of this annual MEDRC programme.

Research topics range from the use of solar energy to optimise the cost of desalination; examining the institutional framework of the Palestinian water sector and the effects of saline irrigation on potato growth and productivity in Gaza. The fellowships are offered by MEDRC in collaboration with PWA, and with generous support from the Government of the Netherlands, said the centre.