“This is a breakthrough opportunity between Michigan and Israel, two centers of global leadership in technology research and development, in a moment in history that values innovation,” Snyder said. “Our shared entrepreneurial spirit and technology leadership combine for a broad range of possibilities across a range of industries, such as automotive, cyber security, water technologies, life sciences and defense.”
Consul General of Israel to the Midwest Roey Gilad said, “The state of Michigan, under the leadership of Governor Rick Snyder, became a model for all the Midwest in the depth and the breadth of its economic partnership with the state of Israel. It is not a coincidence that the agreement is being signed today during a special workshop that Israeli experts are conducting in Michigan on cyber security. We expect cyber security, together with automotive, defense, and water technology to be in the center of this partnership.”
The agreement, modeled after a similar pact between Israel and Massachusetts, calls for joint research and development projects between Israeli and Michigan companies and provides the conceptual framework for the issuance of joint RFP. It does not mention specific target technology sectors but is anticipated to be primarily focused on industry sectors with major technology dimensions that are common areas of strength to both Michigan and Israel. Proposals will undergo a review conducted jointly by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the Israel Office of the Chief Scientist.
The RFP is currently being jointly drafted by the MEDC and MATIMOP, the Israeli Industry Center for R&D, working on behalf of the Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS) in the Israel Ministry of Economy. Joint projects in this framework will be supported through a variety of existing funding sources, including but not limited to OCS, State of Michigan, and MEDC funding mechanisms. No specific date has been set for the launch of the RFP. It is expected to be issued in coming months and no later than the end of October 2014.
The signing comes a year after Snyder led a delegation to Israel where he met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other senior government leaders. During the mission, he and Naftali Bennett, Israel's Minister of Economy, signed a letter of intent that is the basis of today’s agreement. During his mission, Snyder toured the General Motors Advanced Technical Center Israel in Herzliya, met with several automotive companies with Michigan ties and attended an automotive reception sponsored by the Michigan Israel Business Bridge. Additional stops took the delegation to entrepreneurial companies in a variety of high tech sectors.
Today’s signing followed an all-day cyber sharing workshop in Dearborn for Michigan public and private IT executives and featured experts from Israel and Michigan. It was hosted by David Behen, Director of Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget and Michigan CIO. Snyder and Gilad were joined at the signing by Yariv Becher, Consul, Head of Israel’s Economic Mission, Behen, Michael Finney, President and CEO of MEDC and Hannan Lis, President of MIBB.