The initiative brings together two countries which have taken a global lead in the physics-shaking nanotechology industry
The Israeli Innovation Authority and the German Ministry of Science announced the launch of a new €30 million project to have nanotechnology institutes in both countries collaborate in joint projects hoping to move the field forward.
“The impressive achievements of nanotechnology in research and industry are a source of pride for us globally – these achievements reflect the state’s focus on this sector and the support it grants,” said Israeli Chief Scientist Avi Hasson, whose Office of the Chief Scientist was redubbed the Israeli Innovation Authority earlier this year.
The budget is intended to last three years. The announcement did not say it would be up for renewal, nor the structure of the grants in terms of any shares Jerusalem or Berlin might take in any spinouts created by the research teams that are funded.
“Our jumping off point . . . was to make a significant contribution on the academic/research level and on the industrial/trade level, on several levels,” said Ilan Peled, Manager of Technological Infrastructure Arena in the Innovation Authority, who then listed, “creating academic excellence at the forefront of the technology, developing research capabilities and achievements, and combining resources and recruiting funding to establish research infrastructure and to train personnel for this sector.”
The joint announcement cited accomplishments in the industry that might hint at what kind of projects the two countries want to fund: nano-material glass five times stronger than classic glass; iron stronger by a factor of six; ceramic body armor stronger than steel that is six times lighter than today’s standard issue; and nano-based fabrics with anti-bacterial properties thanks to the metals embedded in the fabric.
The nanotech industry is looking at explosive growth, up to $75.8 billion by 2020. Nanotechnology is being used to create new kinds of durable materials ranging from aerospace to robotics to new kinds of nano mobile screens using silver and gold.
The latter research is being done in a lot of places, including the Tel Aviv University Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, an interdisciplinary center comprising faculty in chemistry, photonics, biophysics, molecular electronics, pharmatech and neurological engineering. The university also hosted NanoIsrael 2016 in February earlier this year. There are five other nanotech research centers the Innovation Authority supports as well.
“This is a fourfold cooperation of a company and research team from Israel and a company and applied research institute from Germany, carrying out applied industrial R&D together,” Peled added.
“This can contribute to industries in both countries and deepen cooperation between Israeli and German companies and between Israeli nano institutes and their German counterparts. Nanotech is the industry of the future in global hi-tech and Israel has set a goal of becoming a leader of this field, while cooperating with leading European countries.”