UK Science Minister Sam Gyimah (R) and Israel's Science Minister Ofir Akunis at the Knesset. (Facebook) (Facebook)
Sam Gyimah and Ofir Akunis.v1 (1)
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“The UK has a strong science and innovation relationship with Israel, and this week I have signed two landmark agreements which will take this to the next level,” UK Science Minister Sam Gyimah said.

By: The Tower and United with Israel Staff

Following a trip to Israel by Labour and Conservative Members of Parliament to promote bilateral ties, the United Kingdom announced a “landmark” cooperation deal with the Jewish state in the areas of aging and artificial intelligence – two of the four UK government’s Industrial Strategy Grand Challenges.

The British government’s statement said that the agreement would allow the UK “to develop new technologies and opportunities in these areas to ensure we take advantage of these major global changes” by working with partners in Israel.

UK Science Minister Sam Gyimah said that “the UK has a strong science and innovation relationship with Israel, and this week I have signed two landmark agreements which will take this to the next level. There are so many strategic opportunities for these two innovation power houses. Increased collaboration will help to realize this potential.”

His Israeli counterpart, Eli Cohen, said that “this agreement will help drive economic growth in both countries. The goal is to create partnerships in which British companies help Israeli innovations go global, and Israeli innovation gives British companies a global competitive edge.”

The agreement, signed by both governments, provides £4 million ($5.34 million) for the initiatives, with each country providing 50 percent of the funding.

One result of the agreement will be the establishment of a new BIRAX Ageing research program.

BIRAX (Britain Israel Research and Academic Exchange Partnership) is a bilateral research initiative that focuses on developments in regenerative medicine to fight diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s and heart conditions.

In April 2016, some 350 top Israeli and British medical researchers met in Oxford, England, for the third annual BIRAX conference.

British officials have hailed the UK-Israel scientific cooperation.

In 2013, then-UK Foreign Minister William Hague, on a visit to Israel, said “both the UK and Israel are scientific superpowers, and many of our universities and academics are already doing tremendous work together.”

In 2015, Sir Mark Walport,chief scientific adviser to the British Government, declared that UK-Israel scientific collaboration was “booming.”