(Communicated by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Space's Spokesperson)
Foreign Secretary William Hague and Israel’s Minister for Science, Technology and Space Yaakov Peri, today (Thursday 23 May 2013) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on science cooperation between the UK and Israel.
The memorandum sets out five priority areas of science cooperation between the UK and Israel: advanced materials and nano-technology; agri-sciences with a focus on water; neuroscience; space research; technology; and regenerative medicine. It celebrates the achievements of the BIRAX Regenerative Medicine programme and confirms that the UK and Israel will award 30 new fellowships in 2013-14.
The Ministers were joined at the ceremony at Hebrew University by the British Ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould, the President of Hebrew University, Professor Menahem Ben-Sasson, and members of the UK-Israel Life Sciences Council.
Commenting on the agreement, the Foreign Secretary said, “Both the UK and Israel are scientific superpowers, and many of our universities and academics are already doing tremendous work together. Today I had the pleasure to meet some Israeli scientists working closely with British colleagues working on cures to some of the world’s worst diseases as part of the BIRAX project. The Memorandum of Understanding I signed today will focus our efforts in five key areas, and increase our cooperation even further.”
Minister for Science, Technology and Space Yaakov Peri said: "Despite the fact that there are people in British academia who call to boycott Israel, the British government shows that it acknowledges the importance of scientific collaboration with Israel and is interested in expanding our co-operation on our path to excellence".
Hebrew University President Prof. Menachem Ben Sasson added" it is symbolic that the British Foreign Secretary continues to deepen the academic ties between the two countries, in the way his predecessor Lord Balfour had done, in the beginning of the 20th century". The president presented a copy of the historic speech to the Foreign Secretary. He added: "the Hebrew University has many research fellowships with the UK. We are proud to participate in the signing of the memorandum between the two countries".