The establishment of Victoria Israel Science and technology Research and Development program has been announced.
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Member of the Victoria Australian Legislative Assembly, David Southwick, has announced a new bilateral program to foster research and development in the field of technology between Israel and his Australian State. The Victoria Israel Science and technology Research and Development program (VISTECH) will give Israeli/Victorian partners grants for their research and the opportunity to collaborate on science and technological research projects.
$250, 000 Australian ($235, 000 US) in grants will be given by the government of Victoria to local companies while the Israeli government will offer loans to cover up to 50% of the R&D costs incurred by Israeli companies.
Liberal politician David James Southwick, 46, was elected to the Victorian legislative Assembly in 2010 and in 2013 was appointed the parliamentary secretary for police and emergency services. Before going into politics he had pursued a business career, serving as the director of several companies.
In a statement about VISTECH Southwick said that, “The Coalition Government is committed to the development of the science and technology sectors, and we also recognize how important it is to continue to strengthen ties with our international counterparts to promote growth in these areas. As Victoria and Israel are both internationally recognized for the quality of their research and their innovation, there is no end to what they can achieve together.”
“We have a great partner in Israel, and a great opportunity to further develop our relationship and focus on these common interests, ” he added.
The launch of the VISTECH program coincides with the formal opening of the Israel Innovation for a Better World exhibition at Queen’s Hall, Parliament House by Shmuel Ben-Shmuel, the Israeli Ambassador to Australia. The exhibition is sponsored by the Zionist Council of Victoria. He said that, “The launch of this important initiative is more than just a gesture of good will, but rather, a bold statement that symbolizes our mutual commitment to advancing human knowledge and pursuing scientific excellence.”
The program was launched by MP Southwick on behalf of Victorian Minister for Innovation Louise Asher. Another Liberal MP and former teacher, Asher, 57, represents Victoria’s Brighton District.
She stated to the Victorian Parliament: “The Member for Caulfield raised a particularly important issue for me about collaboration between Victorian businesses and Israel. I note that the method for Caulfield launched the Israel Innovation for a Better World exhibition in Queen’s Hall today, and I congratulate him for the work he has done to assist in that particular relationship. The government has put in place the Victoria-Israel Science Innovation and Technology scheme.
“We have implemented a trade mission program to Israel. To date, two missions have been organized one in July 2013 around innovation for health and medical services, which was led by the Deputy Premier, and another in October 2013 around innovation for sustainable resource management.
“We have some grants for eligible Victorian organizations to attend trade missions, conferences and meetings in Israel, and we also have the Victoria-Israel Feasibility and Proof of Concept grant program, which provides grants of up to $50 000 for organizations to collaborate on feasibility studies. Today the government added more aspects to this program. It will now offer grants of up to $250 000 for Victorian companies for collaboration in these ventures.”
“The government is committed to the development of science and innovation programs. We want to collaborate with Israel, ” she added.
VISTECH is the fourth program of the Victoria Israel Science Innovation and Technology Scheme (VISITS), an initiative presented to the Victorian and Israeli communities by the Victorian government together with the Israeli embassy and a number of private Australian and Israeli organizations.
VISTRADE supports targeted trade missions to Israel managed by the Australia Israel Chamber of Commerce. VISTRIP, supports travel to Israel for meetings and conferences and VISFPC, contributes up to $50, 000 Australian for collaborative feasibility and proof of concept projects. These are all examples of similar programs operated by VISITS.
Located in Southeastern Australia, Victoria State is home to the city of Melbourne and more than 5.8 million people.