Israel has signed a research and development agreement with the state of Wisconsin to advance cooperation in the fields of water research, agriculture and human sciences.
Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer on Tuesday signed an R&D accord with the Governor of Wisconsin Jim Doyle at the Watec 2009, the fifth International Water Technologies, Renewable Energy & Environmental Control conference in Tel Aviv, which started on Wednesday.
"Israeli technology in water research and renewable energies has become well-known around the world, and cooperation with companies in the state of Wisconsin can help create employment in both countries," said Ben-Eliezer.
Ben-Eliezer added that a similar R&D agreement with the state of New York was signed in September. This accord will make way for a financing mechanism for joint R&D industrial projects between Israeli and US companies supported by the respective governments. In Israel, support will be provided by the Chief Scientist's Office at the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry.
Noa Asher, the commercial attache for Midwestern American states at the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry, said that Wisconsin did not have a water shortage problem, but that the local government was planning to turn the state into a world technology center for drinking water, through cooperation with local and international companies, academia and government.
Doyle is in Israel this week leading a delegation of 35 representatives, arranged by the Wisconsin State Department of Commerce, including the state's secretary of workforce development, Robert Gassman, commerce secretary Richard L. Leinenkugel, and agriculture, trade and consumer protection secretary Rod Nilsestuen. Among the companies participating in the delegation are senior representatives from Veolia Water North America, A. O. Smith Water Heaters, and Badger Meter.
Wisconsin is one of the leading states in the US in the field of agricultural production, boasting 1,000 companies specialized in food processing, mainly cheese products. In addition, Wisconsin is home to leading companies in the area of human sciences, with 330 companies focused on biotechnology,with a particular emphasis on stem-cell research.
On Wednesday, Ben-Eliezer will be holding a number of meetings at the Watec conference, hosting a delegation from the World Bank, ministry officials from Ecuador and Thailand, the deputy head of the Water Authority in Mexico, and the Italian Environment Minister.