Israel, UK clinch £1.7 mn deal for joint science projects

Freeman elaborated that the collaboration will bring together scientists, researchers, investors and companies from both nations…reports Asian Lite News

Israel and the UK on Wednesday inked a £1.7 million ($2.1 million) deal to strengthen ties and research collaboration in the fields of science and innovation with a focus on critical technologies.

The memorandum of understanding was signed in London by Israel’s Innovation, Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis and his British counterpart George Freeman. As part of the deal, both countries will allocate a total of £1.7 million to back joint research projects in areas such as AI, health and the environment, and collaborate on the development of critical technologies, including quantum computing.

“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,” said Freeman. “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.”

Freeman elaborated that the collaboration will bring together scientists, researchers, investors and companies from both nations.

The majority of the funding, or £1.1 million, will be funneled to the Universities UK International’s UK-Israel Innovation Mobility Scheme, supporting UK-based researchers to travel to Israel and work jointly with Israeli partners at the country’s leading institutions.

Another £600,000 will be earmarked for the UK-Israel quantum collaboration, 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.

“I believe this signing will contribute significantly to the scientific and technological cooperation and networking between scientists and entrepreneurs across many sectors in both our countries,” said Akunis. “Over the years, our two countries have developed excellent, cutting-edge technology in many fields.”

“This collaboration will not only benefit our scientific communities but will also benefit the broader economy, and security of our nations,” he added.

Earlier this year, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly signed an agreement in London setting the agenda for bilateral economic, security and technology ties. As part of the 2030 roadmap for UK-Israeli bilateral relations, it was agreed to place a particular focus on technological innovation, with around £20 million of joint funding committed in the agreement.

The process of laying out the nature of the bilateral relationship began in November 2021, almost two years after the UK left the European Union. Then-foreign minister Yair Lapid signed a memorandum of understanding with his British counterpart at the time, Liz Truss, saying the agreement would lead to a free trade deal, increased security cooperation and joint development of high-tech projects.

Total trade in goods and services, including exports plus imports, between the UK and Israel generated £7.3 billion in the four quarters to the end of the first quarter of 2023, an increase of almost 30 percent year-on-year, according to data by the UK Department for Business and Trade.

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