US expert: ‘Israel is model for the world’
Int'l cooperation in R&D as well as gov't support for scientific education are critical to advance innovation, experts say.
Scientists in a laboratory Photo: iStockphoto
The No. 1 challenge, in both Israel and other countries, is to translate
innovative success into development, according to Dr. E. Williams Colglazier,
science and technology adviser to the US secretary of state.
“Israel is a
world leader and a model not only for small countries but for all countries,”
Colglazier said on Thursday.
He spoke at The Chief Scientist’s Annual
Conference for Research and Development, held at Airport
International cooperation in research and development as well as
government support for scientific education are critical to advance innovation,
experts agreed on Thursday.
Entrepreneurs and innovators from Israel and
around the world agreed that Israel’s path to innovation can serve as a model
for other countries.
In recent years, there has been a spread of
expertise in science around the world, creating “an era of the globalization of
science and technology,” with huge potential for rapid economic growth,
To achieve that level of growth, countries need to
realize that governmental investment in scientific education is the key to
facilitating innovation – something that the US has been doing quite effectively
as of late, he continued.
By beginning to “create an innovation
ecosystem,” both the US and Israel have been providing more and more research
and development opportunities for their scientists, many times through joint
programs between the two countries that are a model for growth, according to
“Only by collaborating with other countries” can countries
such as the US remain leaders in the propagation of innovation, he
“In today’s world collaboration is in many ways the mother of
innovation,” agreed Avi Hasson, chief scientist of the Industry, Trade and Labor
Ministry. “If we are in the innovation business, learning and education go hand
More than 40 percent of the chief scientist’s budget in the
past year was dedicated to international cooperation, Hasson said.
understanding that innovation is in the center of economic prosperity... is
shared by the entire world,” he said.
In part by focusing on innovation
and technological growth for so long, Israel has achieved economic stability
that has withstood shaky financial periods on an international level, Minister
of Industry, Trade and Labor Shalom Simhon said.
“In recent years the
Israeli economy has shown great fortitude and growth and this is despite the
general crisis in the world,” Simhon said. “The State of Israel is one of the
leaders in the world innovation map.”
While Israel is never going to have
the innovative production capacity of, say, China or Brazil, it can cooperate
with these countries through the 32 partnership programs in the Chief
Scientist’s Office, many of which integrate academia and industry, Hasson
“We consider this country as a strategic partner,” said Nelson
Fujimoto, secretary for innovation at Brazil’s Development, Industry and Foreign
The countries have established a Brazil-Israel
Cooperation Program, which in two months will receive second calls for
technological cooperation proposals, focusing on life science, homeland security
and a number of other areas, Fujimoto said.
“Israel is a very small
country but is very strong in its innovation system,” he said. Brazil’s
investment in research and development has increased almost four times in the
past decade, he said.
The European Union’s European Commission, which is
on its way to launching its Horizon 2020 economic framework plan for the years
2014 to 2020, is also intent on accelerating its progress with research and
development for innovation and likewise sees Israel as a key partner in doing
The EU’s three priorities in innovation will be scientific
excellence, industrial leadership and social issues, while its most challenging
sectors will be health, food security, agriculture, energy, transport, climate,
efficient use of raw materials and security, according to Laurent Bochereau,
head of the Unit for International Cooperation for Policy Coordination at the
“It will be crucial to the success of our program to
mobilize cooperation between Europe and other parts of the world,” Bochereau
said, noting that Israel has been associated with the commission since
“I think Israel has understood the whole of research and
development as an engine for growth and development,” he said. “You are among
the countries that invest the most in research and development. In Europe
we are trying to raise this level, so we are very happy to see how things are
going in Israel.”