The annual Joint Commission of the Industrial, Scientific and Technological Cooperation Agreement between Italy and Israel in force since 2002 was held today by videoconference.
The Joint Commission represents the main annual meeting between the delegations of the two countries. It is composed of the parties to the agreement (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International cooperation (MAECI) for Italy, Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and Innovation Authority for Israel) and is open to representatives of the Technical Ministries for the matters within their competence (Health, Defence, Ministry of Economic Development (MISE), Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies, MIPAAF). During the meeting the state of play of the activities of the past year is made, the projects to be financed are decided (at the end of a binational evaluation process) and the basis for the following year's activities is laid.
Today's meeting decided on the joint financing of two industrial projects in the AGRIFOOD and HEALTH sector and announced the establishment of a new joint laboratory on advanced materials for solar energy and the launch of a new call for joint research projects this year. At the same time, the state of scientific and industrial relations between the two countries was analysed with a view to further strengthening the intensity of the collaborations already in place since the next joint call for proposals for the financing of industrial research and development projects to be launched during the year.
To date, 222 projects have been funded under this agreement, of which 140 are concentrated in the fields of industrial research and development and 82 in the fields of basic research, health, agro-industrial, environment, energy, ICT and space.
Over the years, the Agreement has allowed the development of financial instruments and helped to consolidate relations between Italian and Israeli research laboratories, creating excellent opportunities for innovation and technological development for our start-ups and innovative SMEs. It is worth mentioning, in this context, the Rita Levi-Montalcini Prize, which since 2015 has funded inter-university cooperation projects between researchers from the two countries. Every year, moreover, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs awards the Levi-Montalcini Prize to the best scientific cooperation project; in 2019 Prof. Eytan Domany received the award, with a project on big date analysis for cancer to be carried out at La Statale University of Milan.
Collaboration on innovation is also of importance. Thanks also to the collaboration with Intesa San Paolo Innovation Centre, MAECI has been funding an acceleration programme for Italian start-ups in Israel since 2019. At its first edition, the programme saw the participation of seven Italian start-ups in the Eliat Tech Centre accelerator.
Finally, it is worth mentioning the intense collaboration between the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and its Israeli counterpart, ISA. Within it, it is worth mentioning the funding by the MAECI of the Italian-Israeli scientific satellite cubesat DIDO-3, a space project that aims to carry out four experiments in biology and pharmacology under microgravity conditions in a laboratory that will be controlled from Earth through a mobile application. The launch into orbit is scheduled for mid-August.