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Israel Science & Technology: German-Israel Foundation for Scientific Research & Development (GIF)

Germany and the State of Israel are both well-known for their emphasis on advanced science and technology as an integral part of national development. To further promote and strengthen their existing scientific cooperation, the two governments created the German-Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and Development (GIF) in 1986). As envisaged by former Prime Minister Mr. Shimon Peres and Federal Chancellor Dr. Helmut Kohl, the GIF’s broad mandate was to support joint civil research and development projects in both basic and applied research for the mutual benefit of both countries.

The distinguishing feature of the GIF approach is the joint participation and equal responsibility of both Ministries in financing, management and decision making.

The Foundation’s activities are determined by an agreement between the two Ministries signed in July 1986. The Foundation is a legally registered independent body, directed by a Board of Governors consisting of an equal number of German and Israeli members. Its administration is headed by a Director, appointed by the Board of Governors, who is responsible for operations and staffing.

GIF’s objective is to promote and fund basic and applied scientific research projects for peaceful purposes in both countries. Its annual budget is derived from interest on a DM 300 million endowment fund contributed in equal parts by the two countries. The Foundation has been established as a legal entity by the Israeli Knesset and the German Bundestag.

The GIF Board of Governors is the highest policy and decision making body of the Foundation. It approves the grants, sets guidelines, chooses scientific advisors and considers all important policy issues.

Dr. Amnon Barak, a microbiologist and business administrator by training, has been the Director of GIF since its founding. He previously served as Deputy Director of Israel’s National Council for Research and Development and as Director of the Research and Development Authority of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is assisted by a small, efficient office in Jerusalem and a liaison office in Munich, which maintain contact with the Israeli and German scientific communities.

GIF funds between 50-60 new grants per year, a total of 570 research projects up to now.

An average GIF research grant is approximately DM 350,000, allocated to both the Israeli and German partners over a three-year period. The emphasis is on projects to which the German and Israeli investigators contribute unique and complementary expertise and resources, resulting in a synergistic effect. Grants cover salaries for research staff and allocations for purchase of advanced equipment and travel.

In cases of multi-institutional or multi-disciplinary projects the budget ceiling is DM 500,000 for three groups and DM 900,000 for four and more groups for a three-year period. The maximum number of groups permitted is six.

GIF permits the inclusion of an industrial subcontractor on the condition that the parties commit themselves to adhere to the GIF policy on patents and royalties. For projects of this kind the researchers may request a budget of DM 500,000 to DM 900,000.

Research proposals must conform to the scientific and administrative requirements of the Foundation, which may be revised from time to time.

Final reports of each project are filed in the (National Library of Israel (Jerusalem) and to the Technische Informations bibliothek (Hannover). No additional information on specific projects will be provided.

Sources: German-Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and Development (GIF)