Scientific cooperation between Germany and Israel paved the way for diplomatic relations between the two countries. Today, there is an extensive network of joint bilateral activities in addition to the joint work being carried out under the EU's Research Programmes, in which Israel has been participating since 1996.
The pillars of Germany and Israel's cooperation are the Minerva Foundation, the interministerial research partnership between the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), and the Israeli Ministries of Science and Technology (MOST) and of Industry, Trade and Labor (MOITAL), the German-Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and Development (GIF), the German-Israeli Project Cooperation (DIP) and the Martin Buber Society of Fellows in the Humanities
The Minerva Foundation (Minerva-Stiftung Gesellschaft für die Forschung mbH) has been in existence for more than 40 years. Its establishment marked the beginning of scientific cooperation between Germany and Israel. Since 1973, the interministerial partnership with MOST has been supporting research institutions from both countries through the specialist programs of the BMBF. In addition, the BMBF and MOITAL have been working together since 2002 to support application-oriented collaborative projects between companies and research institutions in both countries. A further key element of cooperation is the German-Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and Development (GIF), which was established in 1986. Since 1997, the BMBF has been supporting larger interdisciplinary German-Israeli projects in forward-looking areas of research through the German-Israeli Project Cooperation (DIP). The Martin-Buber Society of Fellows in the Humanities was funded in 2009. The first nine fellows stated their work in September 2010 at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
The BMBF is also involved in multilateral collaborative projects with Israel and its Arab neighbours, mainly in the fields of marine research, environmental technologies and water technologies. One of the aims of these efforts is to support the peace process in the Middle East.