UK and Israel sign £1.7m tech collaboration deal

UK Israel Tel Aviv, Israel. Image credit: Ruslan Paul / Shutterstock

The UK and Israel will today sign a tech and innovation collaboration agreement following a meeting in London between the nations’ science ministers.

As part of the deal, both nations will commit to supplying £1.7m in support for joint tech projects covering advanced research areas such as quantum.

The agreement is part of a longstanding goal for the UK to form tech and innovation partnerships internationally. Recent examples include agreements with India, Japan, Switzerland and South Africa.

“Israel is known as the startup nation for good reason: from its world-leading approach to R&D, to its flourishing biotech, cyber, space and agritech sectors, it is truly one of the world’s most innovative economies,” said Minister of State at the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) George Freeman.

“That’s why I prioritised Israel alongside Japan & Switzerland as one of our first priority R&D collaborations, in our network of global collaborations, to better attract investment and support the global impact of UK innovation as part of our science superpower mission.”

Freeman said the collaboration will be structured in the “standard three pillars” of “research, commercialisation and bilateral government priorities.”

Israel has one of the world’s highest expenditures on R&D, which has led to a thriving tech ecosystem featuring startup successes such as website builder Wix and map company Waze, which was acquired by Google in 2013.

“I believe this signing will contribute significantly to the scientific and technological cooperation and networking between scientists and entrepreneurs across many sectors in both our countries,” said Ofir Akunis of Israel’s Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology.

“Over the years, our two countries have developed excellent, cutting-edge technology in many fields. This collaboration will not only benefit our scientific communities but will also benefit the broader economy, and security of our nations.”

The agreement comes just weeks after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s agreement with the EU for the UK to participate in the Horizon Europe scientific research programme.

Read more: Why rejoining Horizon Europe is too little and too late