UK and Israel set for major economic boost after landmark deal signed

Both countries have signed a memorandum of understanding for deeper collaboration on science, innovation and technology


The UK and Israel have signed a landmark agreement to collaborate on science and innovation.

The memorandum of understanding (MoU) will support UK researchers to build their links with partners in Israel.

Under the MoU, £1.7m of funding will be allocated for joint research focused on technologies critical to future prosperity and quality of life which include AI, health and the environment. 

Of the total funding, £1.1 million will go towards Universities UK International’s UK-Israel Innovation Mobility Scheme, supporting UK-based researchers to travel to Israel and work jointly with Israeli partners, at top Israeli institutions.

Meanwhile, more than £600,000 will support the UK-Israel quantum collaboration being led by the UK Atomic Energy Authority, to develop disruptive new quantum technologies that could eventually be rolled out commercially.

Science minister George Freeman met his Israeli counterpart Ofir Akunis on Wednesday in London to sign the deal.

Government sources say the deal will support high-skilled jobs and drive economic growth, one of prime minister Rishi Sunak’s five priorities.

Freeman said: “Israel is known as the Start-up Nation for good reason: from its world-leading approach to R&D, to its flourishing biotech, cyber, space and agritech sectors, it is truly one of the world’s most innovative economies.

“That’s why I prioritised Israel alongside Japan & Switzerland as one of our first priority R&D collaborations, in our network of global collaborations, to better attract investment and support the global impact of UK innovation as part of our science superpower mission."

Akunis added: “I believe this signing will contribute significantly to the scientific and technological cooperation and networking between scientists and entrepreneurs across many sectors in both our countries.

“Over the years, our two countries have developed excellent, cutting-edge technology in many fields. 

“This collaboration will not only benefit our scientific communities but will also benefit the broader economy, and security of our nations.”

The MoU marks a step closer towards a new Israel-UK free trade agreement, with a focus on innovation. A new trade deal is a key priority for both governments.

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