Monday, November 30, 2015

In the face of BDS movement, Britain and Israel agree to expand scientific cooperation

Judy Siegel-Itzkovich,

“The UK is proud that more Israeli students and scientists will now be working together with their British peers," UK envoy to Israel says.

The Science, Technology and Space Ministry in Jerusalem announced on Monday that the NIS 1.5 million funding will enhance research in water, medicine, agriculture, nanotechnology and other sciences and increase the number of scientists from the two countries who work together; at present, hundreds of researchers are already collaborating in existing bilateral programs.

The deepening of their scientific and academic cooperation will be made possible through a series of bilateral programs, the British Embassy and the British Council in Israel and the ministry announced.

British Ambassador David Quarrey said that he was proud that "the UK is proud that more Israeli students and scientists will now be working together with their British peers. Both countries are science superpowers, with a great talent pool and academic infrastructure."

"Collaborations between British and Israeli scientists can have real impact in tackling global health challenges such as heart disease, Parkinson’s and diabetes, as well as in protecting the environment and enhancing understanding of our societies," he added.

Alan Gemmell, director of the British Council in Israel, which oversees many of the bilateral programs, said that over the last three years "our partnerships with world-leading medical research foundations, donors and universities in Britain and Israel have invested millions of pounds in world-class research creating opportunities for scientists to work together to tackle global health challenges and access to water."

"I’m particularly pleased that universities in Scotland have secured £1.6m of research grants with Israeli universities,” Gemmell said.

Science, Technology and Space Minister MK Ophir Akunis said his ministry will partner with the UK government’s Science and Innovation Network on a new set of researcher exchange programs, doubling the number of scientists reached for the next four years.

“The investment of the British government in strengthening research relations with Israel is yet another British vote of confidence in Israeli science and technology. This is also a sharp, clear response to organizations calling for an academic boycott of Israel. Scientific exchange between our countries is the best public diplomacy tool for bridging over biased misconceptions of Israel."

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