Christopher Pyne, Australia’s Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, met with Mr Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s Prime Minister, to discuss ways to boost Australia’s innovation sector.
Israel has an estimated 4,800 startups, many of them high tech. These companies are sources of groundbreaking innovation that contributes to Israel’s rise to global tech prominence.
Their startups include OrCam, which has developed technology that allows blind people with intact optic nerves to see. Another example is Phinergy has created a lithium car battery that triples mileage for electric cars. These are just 2 of the thousands of examples driving Israel’s economic boom.
Minister Pyre recognises the challenges of several countries to keep up with progress in this sector. He also regards Israel as the one of the frontrunners in innovation globally.
“Israel has one of the highest concentrations of innovation and entrepreneurship in the world…Many countries, including Australia, are now looking at what they can learn from Israel’s experience and I hope today’s talks with Prime Minister Netanyahu will help us as we build a reinvigorated Australian economy based on innovation.” he said.
The Australian Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda released last week includes a $36 million global innovation fund to create strategic links with key economies around the world. Tel Aviv represents the first of Australia’s ‘landing pads’ for start-up entrepreneurs.
Minister Pyne and Israel’s Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Economy, Avi Hasson signed a Statement on Innovation Cooperation.
— Christopher Pyne (@cpyne) December 15, 2015
In his speech, Minister Pyre outlined the key areas in which Australia would like to learn from Israel. This includes commercialisation of innovation, converting research ideas into commercial outcomes, and policies on hi-tech sectors.
The startup ‘landing pad’ will be a collaboration between the two governments to give Australian innovators access to Israeli venture capital networks, entrepreneurs, investors and researchers.
Minister Pyre identified Israel as a similar nation to Australia in terms of its demographics but fall behind in the innovation sector.
“Australia has a lot of similarities with Israel, including its educated workforce and small population. But when it comes to start-ups and commercialising research, we are failing to keep up ‘’ he said.
Australia and Israel are also in the final stages of negotiating an industrial research and development treaty . They have also discussed a future treaty on science and technology co-operation.
The bilateral relations between the two nations also includes Australia’s export of technical expertise in exploration, particularly in the oil and gas sector. This can represent a significant partnership for Israel who announced in October that massive oil reserves have been located in the Golan Heights,close to the country’s border with Syria.