Israel and Britain Unveil Partnership to Ramp Up Scientific Research by 2018

Science and Technology Minister Jacob Perry contrasts stance of UK government with segments of academia that seek to boycott Israel.

Israel and Britain agreed Thursday to double their budget for joint scientific research by 2018, targeting areas such as nanotechnology, brain science and regenerative medicine.

The two countries aim to forge world-class research partnerships in areas such as advanced materials and nanotechnology, agricultural science with an emphasis on water, brain science, space research and regenerative medicine. The latter includes cell technology that can create new tissues and organs.

Britain and Israel agreed to increase their number of scholarships in regenerative medicine to 30 by 2018.

"Even though there are still elements in British academia calling for a boycott of Israel, the government of Great Britain is showing that it recognizes the importance of scientific cooperation with Israel," said Science and Technology Minister Jacob Perry. "It seeks to expand it, based on considerations of excellence.

Perry and British Foreign Secretary William Hague signed the memorandum of understanding on Thursday in Jerusalem. The deal was inked as part of the British-Israeli Research Academic Exchange, for which 4.5 million pounds have been raised so far.

British Ambassador Matthew Gould, Hebrew University President Menahem Ben-Sasson and members of the UK-Israel Life Sciences Council were on hand at the signing ceremony at Hebrew University.

AP
David Bachar