JERUSALEM, June 8 -- The European Commission issued the following news release:
European Commission's President Jose Manuel Barroso and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today witnessed the signature of Israel's association to Horizon 2020, the new EU research and innovation programme. Horizon 2020 offers a huge opportunity to enhance the traditionally active cooperation between Israeli and EU researchers and innovators. Under the terms of the agreement, Israel will have the same access to the programme as EU Member States and other Associated Countries. In return, it will contribute to the Horizon 2020 budget.
President Barroso said: "Israel is a strong player in research and innovation and for this reason an important partner for the EU to address societal challenges of common concern, such as ageing, food safety, environment protection or cleaner energy, and to strengthen the competitiveness of our industries. I am pleased that we are signing the agreement today since it reflects the mutual importance we attach to cooperation and partnership in research and innovation."
Israel has the highest proportion of researchers in the business sector in the world and one of the highest investments in civilian R&D - more than 4% of GDP. This makes it a strong partner for the EU and will bring added benefit to cooperation in Horizon 2020 given the programme's stronger focus on innovation.
In addition to advancing science, technology and innovation cooperation between EU and Israeli researchers has enabled complex scientific cross-border challenges in all spheres of the economy and society to be addressed. Cooperation also provides an important mechanism to help reinforce mutual understanding, also with regional partners.
The agreement was signed by Head of the EU Delegation to Israel, Ambassador Lars Faaborg-Andersen, and Minister of Science, Technology and Space Yaakov Perry. The agreement, once ratified by Israel, will enable eligible Israeli researchers and innovators to take part actively from the start of the new programme in all activities with their EU and international partners.
Israel has been associated to EU research and innovation programmes since 1996. During the last programme (2007-13), Israeli public and private institutions contributed their scientific expertise to over 1,500 projects. Reflecting the strength of Israeli research, Israeli participants achieved a high success rate, particularly in obtaining European Research Council (ERC) and Marie-Sklodowska Curie grants. In the thematic programmes, Israel participated most actively in the areas of information and communication technologies, health and nanotechnology. Some Euros780 million in EU research funding went to the Israeli participating entities. On its side, Israel contributed over Euros530 million to the programme. In Horizon 2020, applicants and relevant activities described in the application need to be in compliance with the guidelines on the eligibility of Israeli entities and their activities.
With a total budget of nearly Euros80 billion over seven years, Horizon 2020 is the largest ever EU research and innovation programme and one of the biggest in the world. In parallel to the signature of Israel`s association agreement, association agreements are being finalised with several EU enlargement and neighbourhood countries and with the Faroe Islands. The EEA/EFTA states of Norway and Iceland have already secured association to Horizon 2020, as has Turkey.
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