Bioconvergence (which merges engineering and medicine), food tech, renewable energy and energy storage, civilian space industry and blue tech have been named as Israel’s top-five research and development priorities for the coming years.
The Middle Eastern country has identified a national list of priorities to inform government investment in prioritized areas of civilian Research and Development ventures. After extensive research, Israel’s National Council for Civilian Research and Development, working under the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology, developed a list of 14 areas that needed emphasis.
Other areas on the list include computational biology, physics, nanotechnology, materials science, smart cities, education tech, waste management, circular economy, semiconductors, artificial intelligence, data science, and quantum computing.
“The (top) five fields recommended by the committee are significant in terms of global competition and the continued advancement of Israel’s cutting-edge technologies, with a view to ensuring its economic future and maintaining its scientific excellence over the next five years”, said National Council for Civilian Research and Development chairman Prof. Peretz Lavie.
The list is based on the council’s evaluation of a number of factors, including Israel’s comparative advantages in key areas, its strategic requirements, its research and development capabilities, its position as an innovation hub, and whether an area requires government assistance and has a scientific component.
Israel already makes investments in a few of the chosen sectors. The innovation ministry raised $69 million last year for four groups of industry and academia that would work together to innovate.
Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology Orit Farkash Hacohen said she plans to adopt the committee’s recommendations when deciding how to distribute research grants. In addition, national programs will be established in these fields. “The priority research and development areas will ensure Israel’s scientific and technological leadership in decades to come,” the minister said while presenting the list to the Knesset’s Ministerial Committee for Science and Technology.
The inclusion of food, blue tech and civilian space research in the top 5 is reflective of which competitive areas does Israel think important for its future. “Mapping and defining the national priority areas, based on an understanding of the international arena, as well as the relative local scientific advantages is crucial for strengthening the various sectors of the economy that are based on innovation and advanced technologies”, said Hilla Haddad Chmelnik, Director-General of the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology.
The Ministry will distribute $180 million a year in research grants.
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