Massachusetts, Israel invest $2 million for joint R&D


BOSTON (JTA) — Massachusetts and Israel will invest $2 million for collaborative research and development projects in the fields of life sciences, clean energy and technology.

The agreement, to support innovation and entrepreneurship, was announced Wednesday by Gov. Deval Patrick at the annual Biotechnology Industry Organization convention in Washington, D.C. It is a joint venture between Israel’s Office of the Chief Scientist, the U.S.-Israel Science and Technology Foundation and three Massachusetts economic development agencies.

The new partnership, a first between Israel and a U.S. state, will be known as the Massachusetts-Israel Innovation Partnership. Funds from both Massachusetts and Israel will support proposals for companies that engage in cooperative industrial research and development projects.

Patrick in a news release issued Wednesday described the venture as a significant commitment to the long-term success of the Massachusetts economy.

Israel is planning similar projects with other states, including Ohio, Virginia, Maryland and South Carolina, said Ann Liebschutz, executive director of the U.S.-Israel Science and Technology Foundation in Washington.

According to the governor’s office, Massachusetts is home to nearly 100 companies with Israeli founders or Israeli-licensed technologies. In 2009, these companies employed nearly 6,000 people and generated $2.4 billion in direct revenue for the state. Also in 2009, Massachusetts firms exported more than $180 million worth of goods to Israel.

The seeds for this partnership were sown last March when Patrick led a 33-member trade mission to Israel, according to many of the business and government leaders who accompanied him on the trip. During the visit, Patrick met with Hasson.

“We were impressed by the many synergies between the Israeli and Massachusetts technology sectors in areas such as cybersecurity, social media and digital healthcare management,” said Patrick Larkin, director of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative’s John Adams Innovation Institute.

Patrick also announced Wednesday that Massachusetts hired Hadas Bar-Or as its new trade representative to Israel.

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