Netanyahu and EU foreign policy chief Mogherini brief the media in Brussels.
(photo credit: REUTERS/FRANCOIS LENOIR)
Awards will be presented to over 400 Israeli researchers and companies on Tuesday by the European Union Delegation to the State of Israel and the Israel-Europe Research & Innovation Directorate (ISERD) for their participation in the European Research Council’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program.
In 2018, grants worth €180 million ($201m.) were awarded by Horizon 2020, of which Israel is a member state, to 188 researchers, 146 companies and 42 projects involving research institutes, municipalities and other organizations.
A total of 1062 Israeli projects have benefited from Horizon 2020 financing since the beginning of the program in 2014, valued at approximately €742m. ($830m.).
Financial allocations enjoyed by Israel under the program increased last year through guarantees provided by the European Investment Fund to Bank Leumi and the Tel Aviv-based Peninsula Growth Fund, enabling loans to medium-sized start-ups enjoying significant growth.
Israel became an associate member of Horizon 2020 in 1996, enabling every Israeli legal entity to compete for research and innovation grants. In 2014, Israel became a full member of the program, requiring the country to also contribute to the Horizon 2020 budget.
Contributions to the program are provided by the Council for Higher Education, Innovation Authority and ministries of science, health, internal security and energy.
“[Horizon 2020] is a prestigious program that enables Israeli industry and academia to compete on the world stage of excellence and innovation,” said Dr. Ami Appelbaum, chief scientist at the Ministry of Economics and Industry, who also serves as chairman of the Innovation Authority and ISERD steering committee.
“The success rate is only about 14%, so winning an award is a certificate of quality and excellence for researchers and companies obtaining the grant. [Horizon 2020] enables individual and combined submissions with European partners, thereby opening the door to research and business cooperation with European entities beyond the significant funding that they receive.”
Notable awardees included Dr. Karina Yaniv of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot. She received two grants last year, including €2m. ($2.25m.) for her LymphMap project. The project, using adult zebrafish, aims to reveal the multiple regulatory levels that coordinate the formation and functionality of lymphatic vessels in health and disease.
The University of Haifa’s Dr. Nimrod Marom also received funding for his DEADSEA_ECO project, which evaluated the wild mammal community structure in the Judean Desert, and how it changed in relation to human settlement intensity in the region.
“As we do every year, we mark the cooperation in research and innovation between the EU and Israel by awarding prizes to the winners of Horizon 2020, the European Framework Program,” said EU Ambassador to Israel Emanuele Giaufret.
“The event that we are hosting this year without the use of plastic symbolizes the vital subject that the EU is leading in the global arena. A policy that promotes sustainability and the environment for future generations must be backed by technological solutions, research and innovation, in which cooperation between Israel and the EU plays a key role.”