The Australian and Israeli governments have signed an agreement on bilateral cooperation in technological innovation, research, and development that will allow Australian companies to take advantage of opportunities in Israel's biotechnology, IT, and R&D sectors.
In a statement, recently appointed Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Arthur Sinodinos said the agreement is "great news" as Australia seeks to emulate the success Israel has experienced in commercialising research findings.
While Australia is above the OECD average when it comes to publishing academic papers, it lags behind in converting innovation into jobs and income, the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering has said previously.
"This agreement will help us learn from Israel's success at translating publicly-funded research into commercial outcomes," Sinodinos said.
The federal government previously chose Tel Aviv to host one of its five startup landing pads, aimed at assisting entrepreneurs to commercialise their products and services through access to the expertise, infrastructure, innovation, and marketing networks of local partners.
The inaugural landing pad was unveiled in February 2016, with the government selecting Silicon Valley's RocketSpace technology campus to kick off the initiative. Shanghai was unveiled as the desired location for the third landing pad, Berlin was revealed as the fourth location, and Singapore was confirmed as the fifth and final landing pad spot in May 2016.
The AU$11 million landing pad initiative is part of the AU$36 million Global Innovation Strategy to improve Australia's international innovation and science collaboration.
In August 2016, the government then pledged AU$18 million in grants over five years to businesses and researchers to spend on global-scale collaboration. At the time, it said the funding of up to AU$1 million per project over a maximum of four years is to be matched by Australian and global partners.
In December 2016, the government and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) also launched a AU$200 million fund, as part of its National Innovation and Science Agenda, to commercialise early-stage innovations from CSIRO, universities, and other publicly-funded research bodies.
The Israeli agreement is the second of its kind to be launched this month, with the Australian government signing a treaty-level Science, Research, and Innovation Cooperation Agreement with the New Zealand government.
As part of the agreement, Australia and New Zealand will work together to tackle chronic disease, advance general health care, and improve the accuracy and availability of GPS signals.