In December 1998, the Israeli Finance Ministry and the British Secretary of State for Trade & Industry announced the coming establishment of the Britain-Israel Joint Technology Investment Fund (BRITECH). With an initial $25 million investment from each country, the fund aims to expedite joint ventures and strategic partnerships between Israeli and British companies, particularly in the spheres of telecommunications, biotechnology, software development and electronics.
The fund intends to exploit the comparative advantages of both countries, particularly Israeli R&D and British international marketing prowess. BRITECH is modeled on the successful BIRD and BARD prototypes, with Israel and Britain contributing equally with matching investments from the private sector.
In May 1999, Britain and Israel officially signed the agreement to establish BRITECH, holding a joint ceremony in Jerusalem and London via video-conference. The accord almost immediately strengthens economic and commercial cooperation between the nations and it is the first technological alliance Israel has signed with a European country. The agreement stipulares that the fund will expire after five years.
In July 2006, two years after the initial BRITECH fund reached its expiration, Jerusalem and London decided to relaunch it, resuming investments in what the countries then called BRITECH-2. The Chief Scientist of the Israeli Ministry of Industry and Trade commented that the fund will increase in the future, depending on the progress of joint Israeli-British projects.
The new fund will be slightly different from the original one. Each project can only get up to 300,000 pounds, compared with 450,000 with Britech 1. Royalties will amount to 100 percent instead of 150 percent as in the past. The financial support for each project may not exceed 50 percent of its costs.