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India and Israel launch joint research programme

India and Israel have signed a memorandum of understanding to provide grants for joint academic research projects over the next three years.

Announcing the deal, the Israeli Embassy in India said the agreement is worth US$30 million, with each country contributing $5m annually.

The India-Israel Joint Research Program will support scientific collaboration in medicine, technologies, humanities, arts and social sciences.

The programme invites Israeli and Indian academic teams to submit joint applications to their respective funding agencies, the India’s University Grants Commission and the Israel Science Foundation. Three-year project grants will be worth up to US$100,000, with the first call for proposals planned for December.

Israel’s ambassador, Alon Ushpiz, said, “Joint academic research between Israeli and Indian scientists serves as the core platform of our intensive cooperation in agriculture technologies, high tech, clean tech and much more. This is an indispensable layer in keeping Israel and India at the forefront of the world’s scientific and technological R&D and innovation.”

The MoU signed on 2 August follows the initial drafting of the initiative during a visit to Israel by India’s minister of human resource development, Kapil Sibal, in April.

Israel invests 4 per cent of its GDP in R&D, the highest proportion among OECD countries, compared with 0.76 per cent by India in 2007, according to the Unesco Institute of Statistics.