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The President of the R&D Academy - signed Israel's accession to the European R&D program Horizon 2020

Prof. Ruth Arnon, President of the National Academy of Sciences, warns the Prime Minister: Failure to sign the scientific cooperation agreement with the European Union is an irreversible step that spells disaster for Israeli science in particular and the country in general

Prof. Ruth Arnon, President of the Israel Academy of Sciences. Photo: Israel Academy of Sciences
Prof. Ruth Arnon, President of the Israel Academy of Sciences. Photo: Israel Academy of Sciences

Following a special meeting of the National Academy of Sciences plenum, today (Sunday) for the first time an opinion of the Israeli National Academy of Sciences is published in which a firm call is made to the Israeli government: "To make every effort to reach an agreement with the European Union regarding Horizon 2020. An agreement that is absolutely essential for the future of science in Israel. Failure to reach an agreement would be an irreversible failure and spell disaster for Israeli science in particular and the country in general."

In her letter, the President urges Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to immediately sign the agreement, and warns of the dangers involved in not signing the agreement. The letter and the statement of opinion will be presented to the Minister of Science, Yaakov Perry and the Chairman of the Science and Technology Committee, MK Gafni - at a ceremonial meeting that will convene this Wednesday in the Knesset to submit the first report on the state of science in Israel submitted by the National Academy of Sciences.

From the President's letter to the Prime Minister:

As the president of the Israeli National Academy of Sciences, and within the framework of the academy's duties according to law - "to advise the government and the Knesset on all issues related to science and technology", I consider it my duty to contact you in order to prevent measures that could fatally and irreparably damage Israel's scientific cooperation with the European Union.

As you probably know, Israel has been a partner in the European Union's scientific system for over fifteen years. Joining this system, at the end of the nineties, involved quite a few difficulties. Today, Israel is a full partner with equal rights - the only country outside of Europe that is entitled to participate as an equal partner in the project. If Israel does not sign the agreement to continue scientific cooperation Horizon 2020, it will be an irreversible step, which will harm our scientific ability in the foreseeable future. I am afraid that we will not be given a second chance to be accepted in a similar status.

More of the topic in Hayadan:

Israel's participation in the Union's scientific system entails a considerable payment, but past data show that the receipts that come to Israel are about 50% higher than the payment it pays. However, I would like to emphasize that this is not only a financial issue. Money can be replaced, but there is no substitute for the benefits arising from the scientific cooperation with the European Union, both of the research institutions and of the knowledge-rich industry in Israel. The mutual exposure of the scientific system and the industry in Israel to the European system brings added value which is priceless.

The scientific and technological cooperation is mainly expressed in the establishment of corporations (consortia) consisting of partners from several countries (usually between 4 and 10) engaged in one project. Industries also participate in these projects, and through them Israeli scientists and its industries are exposed to everything that is happening in Europe. Also, Israeli science and industry are recognized by the European system as a whole, and beyond that, the acquaintances and connections that are formed lead to irreplaceable collaborations.

In recent years, another channel has been opened in the European Union, with the establishment of the European Research Council (ERC), which supports the projects of individual scientists on the basis of excellence only. There are two types of grants - for advanced sciences and for starting scientists. The latter entitles the winning scientist to a grant of one and a half million euros for a period of five years, thereby enabling him to build an independent scientific career. Of course these grants are highly coveted.

Recently, the results of this year were published: in total, more than 3000 research proposals were submitted to the ERC, of ​​which 289 were approved, that is, a winning rate of about 9% on average. Of the 289 approved grants, 32 are for young scientists in Israel, i.e. 12%! We are in absolute third place, after Great Britain (60) and Germany (46). Countries like France, Switzerland, Italy, Holland and all the Scandinavian countries - they are all behind us. Compared to the number of residents, we are in first place! Israel's average winning rate is about 60%, and varies between 40% and 70% in the various research institutions (compared to 9%, which is the European average).

This is an extraordinary achievement and an impressive certificate of honor for the young Israeli scientists, who are also our hope for the future. They are recognized and appreciated by their colleagues in Europe and there is no substitute for that!

"Mr. Prime Minister, this is not about money only, but about the "competition for the championship", and it is impossible to do this without our participation in the European system. Furthermore, the prospect of winning these grants is a spurring factor for excellent Israeli scientists to return to Israel, thus encouraging "bringing back minds".

"In the current era of the "knowledge economy", Israel's success within the European Union is what will ensure Israel's science and technology achievements in the future, as well as its economic strengthening. Israel must sign the Horizon 2020 agreement to stay in the game! On behalf of the scientific community in Israel, I implore you, Mr. Prime Minister, and the government to do so."

4 תגובות

  1. To assemble

    The article is not about the causes of the delay, but how much we will pay for it - writing
    There will be a political commentary on the factors that is out of place here, but if anything
    You brought up the issue, and in my opinion, it is not "Israel that has a problem signing" but
    Bibi has a problem signing because of his position and political status. Anyway
    We should know what we might lose if Bibi doesn't sign the contract.

    As for the actual conduct, if I may comment, I am afraid that as Bibi chose
    Corneal flug is how it works in this case, the question is if also
    In this case the delay is reversible. In any case, after the decision of the ministers
    Regarding the vote in the Knesset on the division of Jerusalem, I don't think so
    That the Europeans withdraw from their demands - and Bibi faces a painful choice.
    It is unpleasant to say, but I am afraid that the money in question will no longer reach us.

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