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Landmark agreement with Israel takes UK global science mission to new heights

By September 21, 2023No Comments

Israel became the latest country to sign a landmark agreement with the UK, to collaborate on science and innovation, when the two countries’ Science Ministers met in London this week.

As part of the deal, both countries will commit a total of £1.7 million in of support to joint research focused on technologies critical to our future prosperity and quality of life, like quantum.

Today’s agreement comes just weeks after the new UK-EU agreement the Prime Minister secured earlier this month on the UK’s association to Horizon, the world’s largest programme of research cooperation – which Israel is also an associate member of. The deal will enable quicker, deeper collaboration on areas of science and innovation, like AI, health and the environment, which are critically important to the jobs and economy of the coming decades.

This agreement is the latest in a series of bilateral international science deals the UK has signed recently, which include partnerships with India, Switzerland and South Africa. The UK is also putting serious financial backing behind international science collaboration with a new global research warchest, the International Science Partnerships Fund, which launched last year with an initial £119 million to deliver world class science and research with partners around the globe.

The Memorandum of Understanding between the UK and Israel will elevate the already-strong bonds between the UK and Israel’s research and technology communities – with some of the £1.7 million announced today also supporting UK researchers to build their links with partners in Israel – and will support high-skilled jobs and drive economic growth, one of the Prime Minister’s five priorities.

George Freeman MP, Minister of State at the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology said:

“Israel is known as the Start-up Nation for good reason: from its world-leading approach to R&D, to its flourishing biotech, cyber, space and agritech sectors, it is truly one of the world’s most innovative economies.

“That’s why I prioritised Israel alongside Japan and Switzerland as one of our first priority R&D collaborations, in our network of global collaborations, to better attract investment and support the global impact of UK innovation as part of our science superpower mission.”

By boosting the UK and Israel’s science and research links, the deal builds on the objectives of the UK Science and Technology Framework, which sets out how the government will consistently champion and strengthen the UK’s science and technology sectors overseas through work with international governments, academics, industries and more.

The funding being announced today includes £1.1 million which will go towards Universities UK International’s UK-Israel Innovation Mobility Scheme, supporting UK-based researchers to travel to Israel and work jointly with Israeli partners, at top Israeli institutions.

More than £600,000 will support the UK-Israel quantum collaboration being led by the UK Atomic Energy Authority, to develop disruptive new quantum technologies that could eventually be rolled out commercially, to underpin the workings of quantum computers.

All of this forms part of the £20 million commitment for science, research and innovation collaboration in the UK-Israel Bilateral Roadmap, which was signed by both countries’ Foreign Ministers in March.

Ben Kemp