On the German side, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is the main driver of scientific cooperation between the German and the Israeli governments. Responsibility is divided between several specialist departments. On the Israeli side, there are two main counterparts of the BMBF: the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and the Ministry of Economy and Industry (MOE). The BMBF and MOST’s German-Israeli research cooperation is based on a 1973 agreement. After an agreement in 2000, the interministerial cooperation between the BMBF and MOE was extended to include bilateral industrial cooperation. In June 2011, the then Federal Minister of Research, Annette Schavan, and Shalom Simhon, the then Israeli Minister of Industry, signed an intergovernmental agreement on industry-led research and development, as well as on vocational training and advanced education. The funding of projects in natural sciences and engineering occurs within the framework of bilateral tenders. The supported projects are very application-oriented.
On the occasion of the government consultations in 2012, a letter of intent on cooperation in battery research and electrochemistry was signed btween the ministries. The intensification of German-Israeli cooperation in applied nanotechnology is based on an agreement, which was signed in February 2016 by Parliamentary Secretary of State Thomas Rachel and the Director General of the Israeli Ministry of Economic Affairs, Amit Lang, on the occasion of the German-Israeli intergovernmental consultations.
Cooperation projects between universities and research institutions are promoted in coordination with MOST and are largely financed by the BMBF. The cooperation between industry partners is equally financed by the BMBF and the programmes of the Israel Innovation Authority (formerly: Office of the Chief Scientist). The BMBF finances both programmes from the various BMBF specialist programmes’ funding initiatives. In principle, the ministries favor specialist programmes in line with MOE and MOST interests. The research results are presented in numerous scientific publications and made accessible to the public by way of status conferences.
The coordination of interministerial research is the responsibility of a joint committee of representatives from all the relevant ministries and national authorities; it meets annually, alternately in Germany and Israel. On a professional scientific level, steering committees, which make recommendations to fund projects and assess results, support the cooperation. Further, the steering committees strengthen and coordinate the bilateral cooperation, also within the European platforms in which both countries participate, such as Horizon 2020, EUREKA or Eurostars.
The BMBF Website provides additional information about developments in German-Israeli research cooperation.