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British Council

I believe BIRAX has been very helpful in promoting relations between UK and Israeli scientists. I also think it has had a cascade effect beyond the initial projects and main collaborators which has led to wider scientific interaction. It is without doubt that since BIRAX exists it has increased collaboration between the two countries.

Professor Ruth Arnon, Weizmann Institute of Science and Co-Chair of the UK-Israel Science Council

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Life cycle

2011-present

County/Region

Israel, UK

Client/Partner

British Council, British Embassy in Israel, UK Science and Innovation Network, Pears Foundation

Vision

To establish the UK and Israel as each other’s leading partners for scientific research and collaboration, in partnership with the British Embassy and Pears Foundation.

Situation

BIRAX (the Britain Israel Research and Academic Exchange Partnership) creates new UK-Israel research communities that are better able to tackle key global challenges through reaching a wide set of potential participants. These include both individuals and institutions in Israel and the UK, with the ultimate goal of making a significant contribution to global medical research through cutting edge scientific collaboration. Since its inception in 2011, £8 million has been invested in 19 projects that tackles some of the world’s most challenging conditions and diseases, including cardiovascular and liver disease, diabetes and Parkinson’s. 

Implementation

BIRAX operates on three levels: 

  • funding cutting-edge research collaboration led by British and Israeli scientists
  • creating engagement opportunities through a network of British and Israeli scientists, who attend ample engagement opportunities including conferences, workshops, social and promotional events
  • providing researcher mobility grants for early career and senior researchers to take up fellowships, lectureships and symposia

Impact 

BIRAX projects are at the forefront of scientific innovation. In the last year, BIRAX-supported science was presented at the Karolinska Institute’s Nobel Forum, published in the prestigious British academic journal Nature, and was part of the research that was awarded the EU’s scientific innovation award. Seventy-seven publications featuring BIRAX-supported research have been published since the start of the programme, five patent applications have been made, and BIRAX supported research has been presented in around 96 conferences around the world. 

BIRAX Principal Investigators report that BIRAX has allowed them to carry out international research they could not otherwise have done, with 16 out of 19 of those interviewed saying it had allowed them to generate new international collaborations for them or their institution. Data on scientific publication impact factors shows that when Israeli and British scientists work together, their research is much more impactful than had they published separately.

In 2019, BIRAX committed a further £2.8 million to seven projects researching ageing and its impact on human health.

Mutual benefit

BIRAX is our flagship programme in Israel and is the largest grant scheme for UK-Israel scientific research. The collaboration brings together the two scientific superpowers’ complementary skills and knowledge, and has been proven to generate more impactful research. BIRAX meets the aims of both the Israeli and British Governments to internationalise their academic sectors and create more impactful research.