EU signs agreement with Israel on renewed participation in research programme

June 11, 2003

Brussels, 10 June 2003

The European Commission today renewed its agreement on scientific and technological co-operation with Israel. The new agreement will cover Israeli participation from the outset of the 6 th EU Research Framework Programme (FP6 2003-2006). Israel will contribute to the overall budget (€16. billion Israel will not participate in the EURATOM programme) with €192 million.

In the last five years, Israeli partners have participated in 612 EU-sponsored research projects, of which 147 were co-ordinated by Israeli project leaders. 47% of Israeli participants were universities, 37% enterprises and 16% public research centres and organisations. Israeli scientists have participated in EU-sponsored agricultural and water-management research projects with Arab partners, including the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.

"Europe and Israel can clearly benefit from joint endeavours in the scientific field," said European Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin. "Israel has achieved excellence in sectors such as micro-electronics, aeronautics and life sciences. The new agreement will also pave the way to enhanced dialogue between Arabs and Israelis. Research is an area where contacts and co-operation can transcend political and cultural barriers, with Arab and Israeli scientists working in partnership thanks to EU projects."

The agreement was signed for the EU by Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin and by the Greek Minister for Development, Mr Apostolos-Athanasios Tsochatzopoulos, representing the Greek Presidency. Signing for the Israeli side was the Minister of Science, Mr Eliezer Zandberg.

Israel and EU research programmes

FP6 is the main European research funding instrument. Israel has been the only non-European country to be fully associated with the EU's Framework Programmes. The 5 th Framework Programme (1998-2002) helped to fund 612 projects involving Israeli partners from industry, universities and research centres. 147 of these projects are co-ordinated by Israeli partners.

With today's signature, the association of Israel to the 6 th Framework Programme is confirmed, taking effect from 16 December 2002 for the whole duration of FP6 as foreseen in the agreement. Israeli partners have already been active in submitting applications for FP6 first calls, as an interim solution pending the signature of the agreement. Know-how acquired from participating in EU research projects is estimated to be worth ten times the initial investment.

Sharing excellence

Israel will allocate an estimated contribution of €192 million to FP6 budget. Israel's contribution will come from the R&D budget of the Ministry of Industry and Trade (45%), universities' R&D budgets (45%), and the Ministry of Science, Culture and Sport (10%). FP6 priorities span all important scientific areas including life sciences, genomics and biotechnology, information society technology, nanotechnologies and new materials, aeronautics and space, food quality and safety, sustainable development, clean energy and transport and governance in a knowledge-based society. In many of these domains, Israeli scientists have achieved world-leading excellence that will be boosted through co-operation with their European counterparts.

Other issues to be addressed will include human resources and mobility, science and society and SMEs. FP6 introduces two new funding instruments. The long-term objective for Networks of Excellence is to forge lasting contacts between those universities and research centres that excel in a particular field. Integrated projects have a more mid-term and market focus.

For further information on the 6 th EU Research Framework Programme please visit:

http://europa.eu.int/comm/research/fp6/index_en.html

DN: IP/03/813 Date: 10/06/2003

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