Diplomatic achievement in Israel-Europe relations and exciting news for the scientific community in Israel: Negotiations on Israel’s accession to the Horizon Europe programme for 2021 – 2027 are now complete
Foreign Minister Lapid: “Israel’s accession to Horizon is another aspect that situates Israel as a key player in the biggest and most important R&D programme in the world”.
After a year of long and intensive negotiations, the text of an agreement for Israel’s accession to the European Horizon R&D program – the largest R&D programme in the world with a total budget of some 95.5 billion euros – has been completed.
The completion of the agreement successfully brings to an end a comprehensive diplomatic and political campaign led by the Foreign Ministry, which accompanied the professional negotiations led by the Innovation Authority through the Israel-Europe R&D Directorate (ISERD). The Foreign Ministry, Ministries of Finance and Justice, the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology, as well as the Planning and Budgeting Committee of the Council for Higher Education took part in the negotiations. Israel’s accession the Horizon programme is a milestone in ties with the European Union and its member states.
Alongside the approval of the text of the agreement, a mutual approval process is currently underway in the European Commission and in Israel (Knesset and government), in order that the agreement come into effect during the current work year. The signing of the agreement is expected to take place in December.
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid: “Israel joining Horizon Europe will lead to high-quality jobs, cutting-edge technologies, and the opening of new Israeli businesses. We are continuing to lead Israel to new heights in both business and technological innovation. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will continue to create economic and scientific opportunities for Israel. Israel joining Horizon is yet another step in our policy of connections, bringing us closer not only to the European Union as a whole but also to each of the countries of Europe on a bilateral level as well, and building a connection between the science and technology sectors in Israel and their European counterparts. This is yet another step in establishing Israel as a central player in one of the most important research and development programs in the world.”
Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology, Orit Farkash-Hacohen: “We are happy to conclude negotiations for Israel’s accession to the important Horizon program. For the past 25 years, Israel has taken part in the European R&D program, which serves as a strategic platform for research and technological leadership in Israel. The conclusion of the negotiations ahead of Israel’s entry into the ninth program is a significant step for academia and industry. Israel will continue to bring scientific excellence and technological and creative innovation to Europe, in cooperation with Europe’s best researchers, knowledge, and infrastructure”.
Minister of Finance, Avigdor Lieberman: “The Horizon program is one of the world’s leading R&D programs, combining excellent scientific research with entrepreneurship and technological innovation. Israel’s accession to the program reflects the importance that Israel grants to investment and support for R&D as the key for future economic growth”.
Yael Ravia-Zadok, Deputy Director General of Economic Diplomacy at the Foreign Ministry, who led the political-diplomatic campaign: “The completion of negotiations on Israel’s accession to the Horizon program, following a months-long political effort and the opening of the advanced quantum programs, is a significant political and professional milestone. This is important news for the science and innovation community in Israel, situating it on par with Europe’s leading research and industry institutions. It represents an expression of confidence by Europe in Israel’s assets in science, technology, and innovation, which will expand the potential for research and economic collaboration between Israel and EU countries. This achievement is shared by many partners, including the Innovation Authority, the Foreign Ministry and its embassies in Europe, the Council for Higher Education, the Ministries of Justice and Finance, the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology, the national quantum program, and Israel’s scientific community”.
Dr. Ami Appelbaum, Chairman of the Innovation Authority and Chairman of the Steering Committee of the Directorate for European R&D at the Innovation Authority, noted that Israel’s participation in EU R&D programs is a strategic asset for the Israeli economy more broadly, and for R&D institutions in particular. As part of the 2019 assessment of the impact of Israel’s participation in the previous program – Horizon 2020 – it was found that the program had a significant impact on Israeli academia and industry, whose entities and institutions received over 1.3 billion euros in grants within the framework of the eighth program. In academia, significant positive effects were identified in research quality, the strengthening of Israeli academia’s international reputation, and in ties between Israel’s academic community and the European research community. In industry, significant positive effects were identified in the areas of market penetration time, international market penetration, and potential future growth. Negotiations on the Israeli side were led by Nili Shalev, International Deputy Director General at the Innovation Authority and Director of European R&D, and on the European side by Signe Ratso, Deputy Director General of DG RTD; together, they brought about this exceptional achievement, which is a highly important tier in Israeli R&D.
Prof. Yaffe Zilbershats, Chairperson of the outgoing Planning and Budgeting Committee of the Council for Higher Education: “I congratulate all those involved in the effort that led to the signing of the Horizon Europe agreement, following a series of agreements with Europe in which Israel has participated thus far. The European programs allowed researchers in academic institutions in Israel to be part of the international research community. Israel secured the highest number of winning researchers in the ERC program, and I hope that in this program, Israeli researchers will also be able to successfully integrate into the Consortium Program”.
Israel has been participating in European R&D programs for 25 years as an associated country. Horizon Europe – which will take place over seven years, as did the previous Horizon 2020 program – is the biggest research and innovation program in the world, with a budget of some 95.5 billion euros.
The program fosters many scientific and economic benefits for both Israel and Europe. Israel’s participation in the program will significantly contribute to scientific and technological research and knowledge industries, as well as to commerce and the economy, and will promote Israeli industry while simultaneously creating opportunities for Israeli companies to enter European markets.
Beyond this, Israel’s accession to the program is of comprehensive political importance to relations between Israel and the European Union and the strategic partnership between all sides.
The political campaign led by the Foreign Ministry in cooperation with the Ministries of Finance and Justice, the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology, the Planning and Budgeting Committee of the Council for Higher Education, and the Innovation Authority allowed the scientific and research community in Israel to take part in the most advanced programs in the quantum field, and opened the door to further dialogue with the European Commission on Israel’s participation in Horizon’s advanced space programs. The Foreign Minister, senior Foreign Ministry staff, and ambassadors to European countries worked around the clock to ensure the opening of the most prestigious and advanced programs in the Israeli research community