Research and development initiative between Victoria and Israel

May 8, 2014 by J-Wire Staff
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Victorian Liberal MP David Southwick has announced the launch of Victoria Israel Science and Technology Research and Development (R&D) (VISTECH) program grants.

David Southwick

David Southwick

The bilateral program will provide Victorian and Israeli partners with the opportunity to collaborate on research and development projects in the realm of science, innovation and technology.

The Victorian Government will offer grants of up to $250,000 for Victorian companies and the Israeli Government will offer soft loans of up to 50% of R&D expenses to Israeli companies.

“The Coalition Government is committed to the development of the science and technology sectors, and we also recognise how important it is to continue to strengthen ties with our international counterparts to promote growth in these areas,” Mr Southwick said. “As Victoria and Israel are both internationally recognised for the quality of their research and their innovation, there is no end to what they can achieve together.”

He launched the program , on behalf of the Minister for Innovation Louise Asher.

Minister Asher told the Victorian Parliament: “The Member for Caulfield raised a particularly important issue for me about collaboration between Victorian businesses and Israel. I note that the method for Caulfield launched the Israel Innovation for a Better World exhibition in Queen’s Hall today, and I congratulate him for the work he has done to assist in that particular relationship.

The government has put in place the Victoria-Israel Science Innovation and Technology scheme. We have implemented a trade mission program to Israel. To date, two missions have been organised — one in July 2013 around innovation for health and medical services, which was led by the Deputy Premier, and another in October 2013 around innovation for sustainable resource management.

We have some grants for eligible Victorian organisations to attend trade missions, conferences and meetings in Israel, and we also have the Victoria-Israel Feasibility and Proof of Concept grant program, which provides grants of up to $50 000 for organisations to collaborate on feasibility studies. Today the government added more aspects to this program. It will now offer grants of up to $250 000 for Victorian companies for collaboration in these ventures. The Israeli government will offer what is called a soft loan of up to 50 per cent for research and development expenses to Israeli companies. MATIMOP, the executive agency of the Office of the Chief Scientist of Israel’s Ministry of Economy, is the delivery vehicle for that.

The government is committed to the development of science and innovation programs. We want to collaborate with Israel. We believe there are some enormous opportunities for us in this area. I thank the member for Caulfield for raising this matter in the house tonight and for the preparatory work he has done to ensure this program is targeted towards modern needs and has the support of not only the Victorian business community but also the business community of Israel.

The VISTECH program is open to private sector companies taking forward technology focussed projects in areas including biotechnology, small technologies, information and communication technology, clean technologies and advanced manufacturing.

The program aims to support Victorian based companies to collaborate with Israeli based companies to demonstrate a technology to a point of commercial readiness.

The potential benefits of VISTECH include the leveraging of complementary capabilities in areas of expertise as well as sharing related risk, stronger science and technology industries through development of products to the pre-market stage, and improved business and trade relationships between Victoria and Israel, including access to international markets.

“We have a great partner in Israel, and a great opportunity to further develop our relationship and focus on these common interests,” Mr Southwick said.

The launch of the VISTECH program coincides with the formal opening of the “Israel Innovation for a Better World” exhibition at Queen’s Hall, Parliament House by His Excellency Mr Shmuel Ben-Shmuel, the Ambassador of Israel to Australia. The exhibition is being convened by the Zionist Council of Victoria.

“The launch of this important initiative is more than just a gesture of good will, but rather, a bold statement that symbolises our mutual commitment to advancing human knowledge and pursuing scientific excellence,” Mr Ben-Shmuel said.

VISTECH is the fourth program of the Victoria Israel Science Innovation and Technology Scheme (VISITS), an initiative that demonstrates the Coalition Government’s commitment to stimulating innovation in the realm science and technology, not just in Victoria, but on a global scale.

The other programs are: VISTRADE, supporting targeted trade missions to Israel managed by the Australia Israel Chamber of Commerce; VISTRIP, supporting travel to Israel for meetings and conferences, and; VISFPC, contributing up to $50,000 for collaborative feasibility and proof of concept projects.

VISITS is an initiative presented to the Victorian and Israeli communities by the Victorian Government in partnership with the Embassy of Israel, the Office of the Chief Scientist(OCS) and MATIMOP in Israel, the Australia Israel Chamber of Commerce (AICC), the Israel Australia Chamber of Commerce (IACC) and the Israel Trade Commission.

Applications for all VISITS programs, including VISTECH, are now open.

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