* The Joint Research Programme of Cooperation between Cyprus and Israel *
By Michael Harari
Ambassador of Israel
The recent announcement of the Joint Research Programme of Cooperation between Cyprus and Israel is definitely a very positive development and a further step forward in the efforts for closer relations between the two countries. The programme aims to develop scientific, research and business cooperation between the two countries, with both Cypriot and Israeli organisations and businesses invited to submit their joint research proposals. The projects to be financed should contribute to the development of commercial products, applications or services.
The Research Promotion Foundation and the Office of the Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labour of Israel have worked for some time now for this to materialise and we feel it is our duty to congratulate both. For the state of Israel, R&D international co-operation is very high on the agenda, as through it, many benefits can be derived both for individual companies and organisations, as well as countries. Israel is a world leader in research collaboration between universities and industry, investing heavily in education and research and spending 4.38% of its GDP on R&D - the highest percentage in the world. Especially for Cyprus, that is actively seeking to upgrade its research and innovation sector, this programme is a great opportunity for development of innovative new technologies and services and Israel is willing to offer its know-how and skills.
The radical metamorphosis of the Israeli economy in the last twenty years or so, by quickly adapting to the information age, modernising its industries and utilising human capital to revolutionise its technological sector, has been instrumental for Israel to become a centre for science and technology. Through an ecosystem of government agencies, a network of incubators for very-early-stage technology startups, as well as an active and alert private venture capital system, Israel provides extensive support for new ideas and technologies and assists the further development of more traditional industries. By maintaining strong scientific and technological infrastructure and leveraging the close links between academia, industry and government, Israel has emerged as a country at the forefront of cutting-edge innovation and technology.
The upgrading of bi-lateral relations in recent years, especially in the commercial field, is an added incentive for joint partnerships between interested parties in Cyprus and Israel. Bilateral trade currently stands at EUR 715 mln, making Israel the second largest exporter to Cyprus. The close relations between the two countries, together with the advantages offered by collaborative R&D offer favourable conditions for further co-operation. In an increasingly competitive and integrated world economy, companies that can develop mutually beneficial strategic partnerships enhance their opportunities for success.
This Joint Research Programme is a practical way for companies and organisations of both countries to come together and collaborate, and I would like to urge them to grasp this opportunity. Teaming up and jointly working together to develop a product, application or technology that eventually could reach the market is, I believe, desirable, but also challenging at the same time. Such a prospect would ‘seal’ in the most effective way the relations between the two countries.
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