Tirosh calls on government to expand R&D funding

October 16, 2012 03:40

Chairwoman of the Knesset Science and Technology Committee recommends NIS 100 m. for financing research infrastructure.

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Dr. Eran Meshorer (right)

Stem cell researchers 370. (photo credit:Courtesy Hebrew University)

Government expenditure for scientific research and development must be increased, said MK Ronit Tirosh, chairwoman of the Knesset Science and Technology Committee.

She made her comments on Monday after being shown a detailed report by National Council for Research and Development chairman Prof. Yitzhak Ben-Yisrael, which covered the council’s activities for 2010- 2011.

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The body of 16 leading scientists from academia, industry and research institutes advises the government, helps prepare its policy on civilian research and development and warns about problems and failures.

After preparing the report, the council recommended that NIS 100 million go toward financing research infrastructure and that the academic colleges – and not only the universities – be encouraged, with funding, to conduct more research. The council also suggested encouraging scientific and research excellence in the educational system, strengthening connections between academia and industry and doubling government investment in business research and development.

Science and Technology Minister Daniel Herschkowitz said it was “the first time that the cabinet has discussed such a report and decided to set up interministerial committees to implement the report with the council’s recommendations.”

Summarizing the discussion, Tirosh called on the government to increase its investment in research so that the state covers half of costs compared to the civilian/ business sector.

She added that the Treasury must raise the budget for the Industry and Trade and Labor Ministry’s chief scientist’s office, as it has been proven to be the most efficient pathway for boosting civilian research & development.

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