Sunday 13 September 2015


A further £3 million of research funding for leading UK and Israeli scientists to tackle some of the world’s most challenging diseases is announced today by the British Council.

The third BIRAX (British Israel Research Academic Exchange) Research Call will award a further seven projects in 2017 worth £3 million in new funding.

The announcement was welcomed today following discussions on science and innovation between the Rt Hon David Cameron MP and the Prime Minister of Israel, Benyamin Nethanyahu today.

A Downing Street spokesperson said:

 “The two leaders welcomed the growing economic ties between the UK and Israel, particularly the progress that had been made since the PM’s visit in a number of areas, including research and science, with an additional £3 million of new funding for bilateral medical research projects in 2017.”

The Britain Israel Research and Academic Exchange Partnership (BIRAX) was created by the British Embassy in Israel and the British Council in collaboration with the Pears Foundation and the UJIA in 2011 and awarded its first research grants in 2013.

The initiative brings together British and Israeli scientists to tackle some of the world’s most challenging diseases including cardiovascular and liver disease, diabetes and Parkinson’s. To date the British Council has raised over £10 million for BIRAX.

Since 2013 over £7 million has been committed to 15 world-class BIRAX projects including eight joint medical research projects announced in February 2015. These included research to use heart cells to restore damaged heart muscle, identify the genetics of diabetes to find new treatments and the use of breath tests for the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease.

As well as a general call for proposals, the Third Call includes a particular focus on arthritis, cardiovascular disease, Type 1 Diabetes, and neurodegenerative conditions including Alzheimer’s, MS and Parkinson’s. Successful research projects will be supported by leading British medical research foundations including Alzheimer’s Society, Arthritis Research UK, the British Heart Foundation, JDRF, the MS Society and Parkinson’s UK. Full details can be found at . Application forms will be published in November 2015. The deadline for full proposals is July 2016 and the successful projects will be announced in January 2017.

Alan Gemmell, Director of the British Council in Israel commented: “Through BIRAX, the best scientists in Britain and Israel are working together to develop therapies and find cures for diseases that affect millions of people. We’re proud to be able to support labs across the UK and fund their work through partnerships with world-leading medical research foundations.”

Professor Chris Mason, co-Chair of the BIRAX Research call and Professor of Regenerative Medicine Bioprocessing, UCL said: "Bringing together world-leading scientists from Israel and the UK will accelerate cures and transformative therapies for a number of serious conditions that impact the lives of millions of patients and their carers.”

Michelle Mitchell is Chief Executive of the MS Society:  “We’re currently funding innovative multiple sclerosis research in partnership with BIRAX and are thrilled to hear they are considering investing further in the condition. The MS Society has already made important breakthroughs and we’re now at the start of a generation of MS research that holds incredible promise. More than 100,000 people are living with MS in the UK – this announcement  is yet another important boost for the MS community.”

Madi Jacobson, CEO of JDRF Israel said: “JDRF Israel is proud to be a part of this unique partnership between the British and Israeli governments. As an affiliate of JDRF international, the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes (T1D) research, we have a strong belief in the Israeli and British scientists and we are looking forward to the discovery of scientific breakthroughs in the field of type 1 diabetes; paving the way for potential treatments that could affect the reality of millions of type 1 diabetics around the world.”

Clare McVicker, Director of Research Advocacy at JDRF in the UK, said: “Regenerative medicine is a thrilling frontier for type 1 diabetes research that offers the potential to change lives. JDRF is delighted that BIRAX is successfully strengthening international research collaboration between Israel and Britain, and we are delighted to once again be a part of this project.”

Dr Stephen Simpson, director of research at the charity Arthritis Research UK said

“We are delighted to be joining BIRAX to promote the cutting-edge regenerative medicine research we’ve funded here in the UK, internationally. We are excited about the novel applications that aim to develop new and better treatments which will return pain-free movement back to millions of people with arthritis.”

 For more information,please contact Anna Brosnan on +44 (0) 7500 811 101

 or email


About the British Council

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide.

We work in more than 100 countries and our 8,000 staff – including 2,000 teachers – work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year by teaching English, sharing the arts and delivering education and society programmes.

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