Israel to join Europe’s largest $ 110 billion research and development program


Flags of the European Union fly in front of the headquarters of the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium, in this file photo taken on October 28, 2015. REUTERS / François Lenoir / File Photo

Israel and the European Union have finalized an agreement for the Jewish state to join the Horizon Europe scientific research program. Once signed, the membership means Israeli researchers and scientists can collaborate on EU-funded projects and gain access to grants out of the $ 110.8 billion budgeted for the key funding program of the EU. ‘EU over the next seven years.

“Israel’s membership in the Horizon program places Israel as a central player in the world’s largest and most important research and development program,” Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said on Tuesday. “Joining the Horizon program will bring high quality jobs, technological advancements, new Israeli businesses and create economic and scientific opportunities. “

“This marks a new step in connecting the science and technology sector in Israel with its counterparts on the continent,” he added.

Notably, the agreement includes terms, concluded between Israel and the EU in 2013, that prohibit the use of research funds in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan Heights.

Israeli officials have said they expect the program to contribute to scientific research, high-tech industry and the economy, while opening up opportunities for Israeli companies entering European markets.

“Israel’s adherence to the program expresses the importance Israel places on investment and support for R&D as a key to future economic growth,” said Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman.

The funding program will also allow Israel to participate in the most advanced quantum programs and will open the door for a more in-depth dialogue with the European Commission on the country’s participation in Horizon’s advanced space programs, the foreign ministry noted.

Yael Rabia-Tzadok, deputy director general of the Foreign Ministry responsible for the economy, said the deal amounts to Europe’s vote of confidence in Israel as a scientific, technological and innovation asset.

The Foreign Ministry said it has concluded a year of intensive negotiations with the EU to formalize the text of Israel’s agreement to join the European R&D program. The deal is the result of a large-scale diplomatic campaign led by the Foreign Ministry and the Israel Innovation Authority.

The European Commission announced on October 15 that formal negotiations for Israel’s membership as an associate member were completed, with the signing of an agreement expected by the end of this year.

“This year marked the 25th anniversary of the fruitful collaboration between the EU and Israel in the field of research and innovation,” said a statement from the European Union. “In return for Israel’s access to a vast international research network, the European Research Area has benefited from Israel’s high levels of excellence as well as an exceptional capacity for innovation. “

The EU stressed that the joint research has led to successful projects in areas such as climate change, public health and transport safety. The Israel-based projects received total funding of $ 1.57 billion under the previous Horizon 2020 program.

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