jim buttery 248.88.
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Grants totaling Â£365,000 were awarded to 15 projects under the Britain-Israel Research and Academic Exchange Partnership, it was announced in London on Saturday.
The partnership is managed by the British Council.
Jim Buttery, director of British Council in Israel, said that educational programs in Israel still had the support of the British government, despite calls in the UK for an educational boycott of the Jewish state.
The 15 projects with topics such as galaxy clusters and motor neuron degeneration received grants for research teams from top universities in the UK and Israel to carry out joint scientific research.
Buttery said that he looks forward to increased government help in the future.
"The government is very supportive," he said. "It would be unfair to judge their support and commitment to this based on the money that is being contributed."
The program is meant is to strengthen academic cooperation between the two countries, Buttery said.
The grants were awarded following international peer reviews and on the basis of recommendations from a specialist Academic Selection Board, which is made up of distinguished academics from the UK and Israel.
The institutions involved include Israel's Bar-Ilan, Ben-Gurion and Tel Aviv universities and the Weizmann Institute of Science, partnering with academics from UK universities including Oxford and Cambridge, Imperial College and University College London, Anglia Ruskin University and the Universities of Cardiff, Swansea, Aston, Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle and Southampton.
The Britain-Israel Research and Academic Exchange Partnership is funded by a mix of private and public monies from the UK and Israel. Its largest supporter is the Pears Foundation from the UK.
"We wanted to see what we could do by the way of a longer-term response to our educational agenda in Israel and we found some excellent partners," Buttery said.
The program is also supported by United Jewish Israel Appeal and has the full backing of the British and Israeli governments, which provide financial support through the Department for Business Innovation and Skills and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in the UK, and the Science and Technology Ministry in Israel. The partnership is managed by the British Council from its offices in Israel.
"The Pears Foundation really led the way in terms of wanting to get behind this kind of scheme," Buttery said. "The rest is history. Once they came on board, a number of organizations joined into the scheme and we have greatly grown."
Over five years, the partnership has a commitment of Â£550,000 from the Pears Foundation, and Â£200,000 from the United Jewish Israel Appeal. The two governments have contributed Â£20,000 each as seed money for the first year to pay for start-up costs.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said in a statement that he "very much" welcomes the announcement of the grants.
"The variety and diversity of these successful bids reflect the strong nature of the UK-Israel bilateral relationship," Brown said. "It was an honor for me to launch the scheme in July 2008, together with the Israeli prime minister, and my government continues to support and actively encourage academic links between the UK and Israel."