The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has been cooperating with the Israeli Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology (MOST) for five decades. In industry-related cooperation, the Israeli Ministry of Economics and Industry (MOEI) has been a cooperation partner since the turn of the millennium.
On the German side, bilateral cooperation in research and innovation at government level is mainly supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The respective departments are responsible for the cooperation projects. The Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology (MOST) and the Ministry of Economy and Industry (MOEI) are the main forces in Israel. Other ministries, such as the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK) on the German side, also cooperate with Israeli partners within their departmental responsibility.
The cooperation between BMBF and MOST is based on an exchange of letters dating back to 1973. This Science and Technology Cooperation (STC) will thus celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2023, an occasion which will be honoured with an event in Berlin on 24 October 2023.
The basis for BMBF‘s cooperation with MOEI was initially a protocol declaration from 2000. In 2011, the then Federal Minister Annette Schavan and the former Minister of Industry Shalom Simhon signed an intergovernmental agreement on industry-led research and development and on vocational education and training.
At the government consultations in 2012, BMBF and MOST agreed to cooperate in battery research and electrochemistry.
The intensification of German-Israeli cooperation in applied nanotechnology is based on an agreement between BMBF and MOEI on the occasion of the German-Israeli government consultations in 2016.
Cooperation projects between universities and research institutions are funded by BMBF in cooperation with MOST. On the part of BMBF, funding is usually provided from BMBF’s specialist programmes. In principle, topics are taken into account that are both funded within the framework of BMBF specialist programmes and correspond to the interests of MOEI and MOST.
Coordination of interministerial research cooperation is the responsibility of the ministries and authorities involved. The cooperations are accompanied by expert scientific advice.
The BMWK has agreed an energy partnership with the Israeli Ministry of Energy (MoE) in 2022. The aim of the German-Israeli Energy Partnership is to jointly advance the further development of technologies for the provision of reliable, sustainable and affordable energy. The BMWK also cooperates with the Israel Europe R&D Directorate (ISERD) within the framework of EUREKA. On the German side, the joint industry-related projects are funded by the Central Innovation Programme for SMEs (ZIM).
Since July 2014, a territorial clause agreed between the German Federal Foreign Office and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been in force, which ensures that funded bilateral research projects are only carried out with partners within the 1967 borders:
‘Projects (including partners in those projects) which receive funding from the German Government must have their headquarters in the geographical area that was already under the jurisdiction of the State of Israel before 5 June 1967. This does not imply any statement about the status of those territories which became subject to Israeli administration after June 1967 nor about Israel’s fundamental position in this matter.’
The BMBF also provides information on developments in German-Israeli research cooperation on its website.