A Cocktail Reception was hosted by His Excellency, the Ambassador Mr. Lars Faaborg-Andersen, Head of the Delegation of the European Union (EU) to the State of Israel, and Mrs. Jean Murphy in the new EU Residence in Herzliya Pituach on 11 May 2015. This reception took place on the occasion of Israel National Science Day in 2015, and in order to stress the scientific cooperation between EU and Israel.
Mr. Lars Faaborg-Andersen opened his speech by expressing his great pleasure to welcome the distinguished guests to the EU reception in honour of Israel's National Science Day in which we celebrate one of the strongest bonds between the EU and Israel – cooperation in the field of scientific and technological research
He continued with the following remarks:
· Our cooperation in science and technology is a model for the type of close relations we hope will continue and which we would like to see in more fields in the future
· It is also proof that it is ludicrous to talk about an EU boycott of Israel
· Israel has been associated to the EU's Framework Programmes for R&D since 1996 and is the only non-European country to be associated
· As you are probably, with a budget of close to 80 million EURO, the current Framework Programme Horizon 2020 is the biggest research programme in the world. We hope that Israel will be as successful in this programme as it was in the previous one -FP7 - which saw Israel researchers participating in over 1,600 projects.
· The EU's cooperation with Israel in the field of science and technology is a thus win-win situation for both of us. We both have a great deal to learn and benefit from each other. It is beyond an issue of numbers – the exposure for both our academia and industry to cutting edge research, the links to leading institutions and to key actors in the private sector are invaluable contributions to both our research worlds and economies
· We will be hearing later on from Professor Hossem Haick of the Technion whose work on the "electronic nose" has been supported by the gamut of Framework Programme actions from the Marie Curie fellowship through the prestigious European Research Council grant to the collaborative research grant
· But our cooperation starts at an even earlier stage than that of post-doc. We will be hearing from high school student Avner Okun who will be speaking on behalf of the six winners of the Israeli Competition for Young Scientists and Developers who will be going on to participate in the EU Competition for Young Scientists that will take place this September in Milan. I would like to take this opportunity to wish them all the best of luck
I would like to conclude by mentioning a few more examples of our cooperation
· Both in Israel and in the European Union, we share a common problem: how to ensure that future generations of young people take an interest in science and decide to take up a career in research
Every year Israel, supported by the Framework Programmes, organizes Researchers Night, an event mirrored all over Europe whose purpose, like that of Israel Science Day, is to bring science to the general public and to instill a passion for science in young people.
· For the fifth year, the EU Delegation is organising the annual EU-Israel Innovation Seminar which brings together innovation experts to exchange ideas and forge the basis for future collaboration. Last year, the seminar was attended by close to 130 participants including 50 from 13 EU countries
Mr. Lars Faaborg-Andersen ended his speech by wishing all the guests an enjoyable evening and continued excellent cooperation.
The reception continued with a recorded video with greetings from the European Commissioner Carlos Moedas in charge of Research, Science and Innovation.
Then, Mr Ido Sharir, Director General, Ministry of Science, Technology and Space, greeted His Excellency Mr. Lars Faaborg-Andersen, Head of the EU Delegation to the State of Israel, and the distinguished guests. He thanked the Delegation of the EU for organizing this event on the occasion of Israel's National Science Day and pointed out the following remarks:
· Science and Technology are an imperative part of our lives; from the moment we open our eyes in the morning and throughout every second of our day.
· All our experiences, starting with what we see and do in our daily behavior, continuing to the instruments and devices we use on a daily basis and ending in the explanation of physiological and sociological phenomena – all are connected to Science and Technology.
· Israel's National Science Day enables us to present and promote the contribution of science to our life and society.
· The National Science Day will be celebrated tomorrow (May 12th) in over a 100 events all over Israel. (We usually mark the Science Day around March 14th - Albert Einstein's birthday, but this year we postponed it due to the general elections held at mid-March.)
· These events include interactive activities for the entire family and are open to the public.
· They will be held at the universities, at science museums, at community centers, at Regional Research and development Center, etc.
The events will showcase the importance of science in our life and aim to encourage the involvement of youth in the field.
· The Ministry of Science, Technology and Space has put on its agenda to reach out to the general public.
· We are conducting training activities for youth, women, orthodox communities and ethnic minorities to bring them closer to science and scientific activities.
· We believe that science is a bridge to minimize gaps in the society.
· Practicing science can allow every man and woman to fulfill their goals and to contribute to society regardless of gender, economic background, or religion.
· The scientific cooperation with the EU, particularly with the R&D Framework Programs, has proven to be one of the most important tools to promote academic - scientific research in Israel in the past decade.
· We are glad to be part of Horizon 2020 and encourage Israeli scientists to take part in this important European Program.
· I hope and know that through the scientific cooperation, all side will benefit and our bilateral ties will bloom.
Mr Ido Sharir ended his speech by thanking Mr. Lars Faaborg-Andersen for his hospitality and wishing all the guests a good evening.
The reception continued with presentations of the following distinguished scientists:
· Professor Hossem Haick, Department of Chemical Engineering and Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute, Technion Israel Institute of Technology.
· Mrs Maya Halevy – Director, Bloomfield Science Museum.
· Mr Avner Okun, Young Scientist, Himmelfarb Yeshiva High School, Jerusalem
The important EU Reception on 11 May 2015 is part of a series of events that took place in different sites in Israel along a week in order to commemorate Israel's National Science Day.
Photo Silvia Golan