Despite complaints about declining educational levels, the National Council for Research and Development reported this week that Israel is among the leading exporters of know-how and technology in the world.The statement is confirmed by released data from the Science and Technology Ministry – under which the R&D Council operates – and the Central Bureau of Statistics. The report also shows that in recent years, Israel has increased its investment in binational cooperation on civilian R&D.In 2010, Israeli companies exported technological services, licensing agreements on technological information, patents and the like for a total of $9.5 billion. This figure was still 3.4 percent lower than in 2009 but constituted a 17% increase compared to 2007.In 2008, technological R&D constituted 4.6% of the gross domestic product – which is proportionately higher than in the US (0.6%), Germany (1.5%) and the UK (1.7%). The world’s highest rate – at 14.3% – was in Ireland.The main exporters of these services and products were foreign companies with branches here, mostly via R&D centers in computerization and research and development, the council said. Most of this activity receives investment from financial interests abroad, foreign governments and investors, and by selling R&D abroad. The rate of foreign financing for R&D is among the highest in the world – 29%, compared to 10.7% in the European Union.Prof. Yitzhak Ben-Yisrael, chairman of the council, said that while Israel is dependent on financing by other countries to conduct its R&D, such know-how is accomplished by Israelis working for foreign companies with Israeli branches and sent abroad.Nearly 800 Israelis and companies have received grants totaling over 500 million euros in recent years.