Boundless innovation

Israel is a partner of the Horizon 2020 EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.

picture-alliance/Universität Jena - Horizon 2020 Research

The competition doesn’t sleep – especially not in an era of globalisation. As a result, research is absolutely vital for Europe, 
because innovation guarantees its future economic success and prosperity. That’s why the European Union (EU) has launched the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation for the years from 2014 to 2020. Israel is the first country outside Europe to benefit from the programme.

Horizon 2020 is the world’s largest programme for scientific and industrial co­operation with a total budget of approximately 80 billion euros. It brings together the previously separate EU funding programmes for research and innovation and offers a multidisciplinary approach. As a result, EU policymakers have broadened the focus of knowledge transfer between research and industry to cover the entire innovation cycle.

Funding will be invested not only in pure research, but also in different fields of applied research. Small and medium-sized enterprises are also able to receive financial support for their research work. The breadth of funded subjects ranges from health, transport and the efficient use of resources to key technologies and security.

“Israel is a strong player in research and innovation and for this reason an important partner for the EU to address societal challenges of common concern, such as ageing, food safety, environment protection or cleaner energy,” said European Commission President José Manuel Barroso in June. He and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanjahu were present at the signing of the agreement between Israel and the EU.

Israel is an interesting innovation partner for the EU. The country does not only have the world’s highest proportion of researchers in industry, but also one of the highest levels of investment in civilian research and development, which reaches over 4% of GDP. Israel will now receive the same 
access to the programme as the 28 EU member states and other associated countries, such as Switzerland and Turkey. As a result, Israeli researchers and companies and their partners can take part in the new programme. They are also taking up this opportunity: “Israeli applicants have submitted over 500 proposals, which will be evaluated in autumn and signed by the end of 2014,” reports Avraham Nir-Feldklein, Minister of the Embassy of the State of 
Israel in Germany.

Research cooperation between the EU and Israel is certainly not new. Israel signed association agreements with the EU research and innovation programmes in 1996, and during the years from 2007 to 2013 alone, the period of the last framework programme, Israeli public- and private-sector institutions contributed specialist research findings to over 1,500 projects.

“Over 2,000 Israeli researchers – above all, in the fields of information and communications technology, health and nanotechnology – benefited in the past,” says Nir-Feldklein. Statistically, a good fifth of all applications from Israeli institutions were accepted – a success rate higher than the EU average.

Roughly 780 million euros of EU research funding went to participants in Israel, while for its part Israel supported the programme with a total of 530 million euros. Israel is again making a financial contribution to Horizon 2020 and plans to invest roughly 140 million euros a year. “Research cooperation laid the way for German-­Israeli understanding – and it did so several years before the establishment of official diplomatic relations between the two countries, the 50th anniversary of which we will be celebrating in 2015,” explains Nir-Feldklein. “I am certain that research cooperation at the EU level in Horizon 2020 will also enable all our nations and so­cieties to benefit from one another.” ▪

Sybille Wilhelm