NSW and Israel announce R&D innovation program

The NSW government will provide up to AU$250,000 in matched financial grants to businesses in the state looking to partner with Israeli entities.

The New South Wales government has announced a new innovation program aimed at boosting collaboration between businesses in NSW and Israel.

Under the NSW-Israel R&D Tech Innovation Program, the state government will be distributing financial grants of up to AU$250,000 to NSW-based businesses looking to partner with entities in Israel on research and development projects.

The government's contribution will cover 50 percent of a participating NSW business' project costs, with the remaining costs to be covered by the participant or a third party.

Startups, small to medium-sized enterprises, and entities based in regional or rural NSW will be eligible for an extra 10 percent of funding.

The Israel Innovation Authority will similarly provide matching financial grants to Israeli businesses participating in the program.

NSW Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Matt Kean said the NSW-Israel R&D Tech Innovation Program will open up opportunities for businesses to "develop, commercialise, and sell new products and services while building innovation links between the two centres."

"Israel is one of the world's leading innovation powerhouses, and this new program will allow NSW and Israel to help businesses build global commercial capabilities," Kean said.

The innovation minister added that the NSW government will work closely with the Israel Innovation Authority to pair companies with similar goals.

"While applications are invited from all sectors, this program will focus on projects in cyber security, water management, and agri-technology, which we are keen to develop," Kean said.

The NSW government is accepting applications until December 18, 2017.

The innovation program follows a memorandum of understanding signed between the NSW government and the State of Israel for Bilateral Cooperation in R&D and Technology Innovation.

The Australian federal government signed a similar agreement in February to allow Australian companies to take advantage of opportunities in Israel's biotechnology, IT, and R&D sectors.

The federal government also 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.