Resources for Israeli Sciences

Universities and research institutes

Most part of the research is done in two academic institutes:

Technion Institute (in Haifa)
Weizmann Institute (in Rehovot)

and five universities:

Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Tel-Aviv University
Bar Ilan University (in Ramat Gan)
Haifa University
Ben Gurion University of the Negev (in Beer Sheva)
Open University (in Tel Aviv)

There are also several research centers.

All these institutions are independent and transfer their technological knowledge to industry through a specially dedicated structure, within the university. These structures support the researchers in getting research contracts from the industry or to turn basic scientific results to companies.

Although, all these universities are involved in every scientific field, each one on them has its particular competence field: medical research for the Hebrew University, telecommunications and aerospace for the Technion, social sciences and humanities for the Haifa University, oncology and fertility for the Bar Ilan University, desert studies for Ben Gourion University and biotechnologies for the Weizmann Institute.

About ten specialized basic/applied research centers exist in Israel: Geological Survey of Israel, Eilat Inter-University Institute for oceanographic researches, Nuclear Research Institutes in Soreq and Dimona, Volcani Center from the Ministry of Agricultutre, Oil and Geophysics research Institute, Israeli Aeronautic Industries, Israel Space Agency.


2.9% of the Israeli GDP are dedicated to civil R&D, which is one of the highest figure among the OECD.

In 1996, the Israeli government financed 40% of the civil R&D, 37% coming from the private sector, 37% from the universities (including governmental and private donations) and 6% from foreign support. Let’s stress out the high involvement of the private investors compared to the OECD countries (where it represents less than 15% of the R&D budget) and the high amount provided by donations and international support. In Israel, public research institutions are controlled by the Chief Scientists, coordinated by the Ministry of Science who is responsible for the national scientific policy.

Research can be divided in three different categories that get financial support from different sources:

Basic research
This part is supported by research funds like: the Israeli National Science Fund, the Bi-national (Israel-US) Science Fundation (BSF) and the German Israeli Fundation (GIF).

Applied research
This part is supported by the Office of the Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Industry and Trade. The OCS support research projects in association with companies and aim at developping products with a high export potential.

Technological researchin Israel

Hi-Tech in Israel

Israeli industry lived a deep overhaul in the 1990s. Originally based on food, agricultural, plastic and textile industries, it moved progressively towards electronics and electro-optics, software, medical equipment, pharmaceutical products and biotechnologies. This transformation was mainly due to the development of the military industry and the transfer of its technology towards the civilian, joint to the immigration of an ex-soviet population with high academic level. These changes have been set in motion by the Office of the Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Industry and Trade (OCS) based on the 1985 law for the encouragement of industrial R&D. Its budget increased from 136 millions dollars in 1990 to 428 in 1999, and has been distributed on average in 1999 as follows: 40% for medical equipment, 29% for telecommunications and software, 22% for electronics and electro-optics, 3% for chemistry and biotechnology.

The OCS gave the Israeli industrial R&D an international dimension and paved the way for bilateral funds with the United States, Canada, and lately Singapore and the UK, as well as collaboration agreements with Europe: Eureka, and bilaterals with the Netherlands, France, Portugal and Spain. In 1996, Israel was the first non European country to participate in the 4th Framework Program for R&D of the European Union. Thus, the MATIMOP, the Israeli center for industrial R&D, reinforced its synergies with its European equivalents, as the French ANVAR, the Dutch SENTER, the Portuguese INICT and the Spanish CDTI.

The Israeli electronic industry, including telecommunications, advanced software, medical electronics, defense systems, emerged in the last decade. Exports of electronic material and communication (+ 138% increase in 2000 over 1999), and of medical and scientific instrumentation (+34%), spearheads of the Israeli economy. They represented 31% of goods exported in the 2000.

Israel is a global leader in the micro-electronics, electro-optics and semiconductors sectors. The Israeli firms are especially interested in digital signaling chips (Intel Israel, Digital Processor Israel), microprocessors and components testing (Motorola Israel) and high speed communication and data transmission, as well as low cost satellite communications.

The software industry occupies an essential place in Israeli industrial production and exports, especially in the electronics and telecommunications sectors. The computer sector constitutes one of the fastest growing area, with total sales exceeding 10 billions $ or more than 30% of the Israeli exports. These results are the fruit of a particularly effective teaching network (universities + army) from which emanate a nucleus of mathematicians, programmers, analysts and remarkably formed system designers. As a result, 15% of software in the world is prepared in Israel in 2000.

The Israeli software industry, mainly relying on SMEs, has increased its activity by focusing on niches such as compression, artificial intelligence, neurons networks, CAO. Israeli firms are also competitive in educational software, especially GILAT Communications’ telecommunication. Israel is a world leader in fiber optics, integrated circuits inspection, thermal systems for night vision and robotics.

Medical Technologies and Biotechnology
Medical doctors constitute 1.1% of the Israeli population, the highest rate in the world. The Israeli medical technology industry is one of the biggest successes for technological growth, innovation and profits. The presence of sophisticated industries in electronics, computer science and precision engineering, permitted to successfully develop a competitive industry on an international scale in the domain of medical outfit. Israel specializes in the sectors of high-level medical diagnosis, scanners, electrocardiograms, and general equipment for hospitals.

The Israeli pharmaceutical industry also achieves a high standard: the American Food & Drug Administration (FDA) even permitted to perform its approval tests in Israel. On the other hand, many Israeli specialists appear among the first-rank world specialists in the domains of immunology, cancerology and genetic engineering (Weizmann Institut). The Israeli research on Alzheimer, Parkinsons and other central nervous systems diseases, produced important results. Besides, Israel is one of the rare countries that created a biotechnical industry already producing ratified medicines such as the interferon – beta by Interpharm, the growth hormone by Biotechnology General, or the fast AIDS diagnosis kits and hepatitis by Orgenics.

Environmental technologies
The mastery of waters and the exploitation of solar energy constitute the two main realizations of Israel concerning ecology. Two technological solutions based on Israeli expertise concerning filtering have been developed in order to guarantee the optimal use of the hydraulic reserves of the country: the use of non-drinkable brackish waters and the recycling of urban vestigial waters for irrigation. Israel is also the country that exploits the more solar energy, with 3% of the solar energy consumption through sensors and water heater in the world.

Several other ecological techniques have been developed in Israel: the use of hydrocarbons-ingesting bacteria, the sowing of the clouds to accelerate rains, or the use of natural predators instead of chemicals. Finally, some companies such as Israel Aircraft Industries and Elbits realized an air pollution detector using laser.

See also the website of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The OCS – Office of the Chief Scientist

The OCS is part of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, in Jerusalem.operating since 1973. The OCS is responsible for implementing government policy regarding support and encouragement of industrial research and development.

The OCS tasks include:

  • Expansion of industries technological and scientific infrastructure
  • The development of science intensive industry
  • Employment placement for scientific and technological manpower
  • Improvement of the competitiveness of the Israeli industry
  • Increase national industrial production and balance of trade

The main support program, is the “standard” risk sharing with the industry of market driven R&D leading to marketable processes or products. R&D Grants are available to companies whose projects have been approved by the Research Committee of the OCS. The grants are a percentage (between 30% and 66%, depending on circumstances) of the estimated R&D expenditure. In cases where the government assisted R&D results in a commercially successful product, the developers must repay the grant through royalties.

The annuel budget for the OCS increased drastically from 1990 to 1999, from 110 to428 millions dollars. In the year 2000, the OCS will have assisted more than 900 enterprises and one thousand projects.

An important success indicator for industrial R&D in Israel is the royalties repayment to the OCS which totalled more than 139 million dollars in 1999.

The “Chief Scientist”
Minister of Industry and Trade has chosen Dr. Eli Opper as the next Chief Scientist of the ministry. Dr. Opper (56) earned his Ph.D. degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Electrical Engineering, from the Technion. He worked for Rafael (Israel Armament Development Authority) for 27 years, holding several senior positions, including VP of R&D. He has been Giza Venture Capital senior VP for the past two years. Dr. Opper remplaced Mr Carmel Vernia as Chief Scientist in may 2002.

4 Mevo HaMatmid POB 2197
Jerusalem 91021 Israel
Tel +972 (0)2 677 05 00
Fax +972 (0)2 624 81 59

MATIMOP, the Israeli Industry Center for R&D

MATIMOP is a public non-profit organization, founded by the three major associations of manufacturers in Israel. Functioning as the interface between Israeli companies and their international counterparts, to promote joint developments of advanced technologies, MATIMOP encourages participation in the many international programs for bi-lateral and multilateral cooperation in industrial R&D, signed and funded by the Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS) of the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

MATIMOP is the major channel for information and assistance regarding cooperation between companies and organizations from Israel and the European Community. MATIMOP tasks in this area include:

  • acting as a national contact point for most of the bi-lateral industrial R&D programs of the OCS, and providing services for the OCS international activities.
  • serving as the official Israeli liaison office for the program EUREKA, which helps companies and research institutes pool their resources in the development of leading edge technology.
  • administering the national liaison office for the EU “Fourth Framework” RTD programs,
    enabling full participation of Israeli companies, universities and research institutes.
  • operating the Israeli IRC (Innovation Relay Center) – a part of the European network, whose main objective is to enhance transfer of technologies, particularly for small and medium enterprises.

MATIMOP – the main technology clearing house in Israel, provides databases – updated daily listing hundreds of projects in diverse advanced technologies plus detailed profiles of Israeli companies looking for foreign hi-tech partners.

MATIMOP publishes a bi-monthly newsletter:
“Advanced Technologies from Israel”, circulated worldwide.

Program Manager
Industry House,
29 Hamered St.
P.O.Box 50364
Tel Aviv 61500
Tel: +972 (0)3 511 8169

Visit the French-Israel Industrial R&D Cooperation Framework : FIRAD

Scientific press about Israel


BE Israel (in French)

Daguesh (French and Hebrew)

RTD News in Israel, the weekly newsletter of the Scientific Delegation of the European Commission to the State of Israel. Ask for subscription.

On-line press



Jerusalem Post

On-line universities press release

Weizmann Institute

Hebrew University

Technion Institute