International Arid Lands Consortium

IALC Founding Member Institution

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Urbana-Champaign, Illinois

Since its establishment in 1867 as a land-grant university, The University of Illinois has moved from state and national service to worldwide influence. With the addition of The University of Illinois at Chicago (23,000 students) to the original Urbana-Champaign campus (36,000 students), the University became an annual billion-dollar educational enterprise. The University of Illinois' facilities include the largest public university library in the United States, the nation's largest supercomputer complex, the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, and the largest federally-funded biotechnology laboratory in the nation.


Arid Lands Expertise at The University of Illinois

Although The University of Illinois is not located in an arid environment, it is approaching its fifth decade of involvement in the development of predominantly arid and semiarid countries. In 1952, it was the first U.S. university to establish institution-building and human capital development projects in semiarid regions in India. That modest beginning was what then Secretary of State Dean Rusk called the most successful piece of foreign policy enacted by the United States -- the establishment of the land-grant university system in India. The process enabled India to attain nutritional self-sufficiency.


The University of Illinois has been involved in major institution-building and research projects in countries such as Jordan, Sierra Leone, and Nepal, with continuing involvement in Zambia, Pakistan, and Kenya. Several University of Illinois faculty members conduct research with Israeli colleagues. Many University of Illinois faculty members are regarded as world authorities in their particular disciplines that relate to arid and semiarid environments.


A partial list of units at The University of Illinois that are involved in arid lands research includes:

  • Agricultural Entomology
  • Agriculture
  • Forestry
  • International Water Resources Association

Selected examples of arid lands research topics at The University of Illinois include:

  • Beneficial effects of savannas and forests on the pest dynamics of associated agricultural lands
  • Biology and use of nonleguminous, nitrogen-fixing trees for sand-dune stabilization, shelter plantings, soil improvement, and fuel production
  • Development of unexploited crops of arid regions
  • Germplasm exploration in the arid and semiarid zones
  • Natural resource management assessment using remote sensing and geographical information systems (GIS)

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Last updated: 14 July 2009
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Last Updated: May 2, 2013
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