“The R&D budget lacks NIS 1 billion a year,” says Chief Scientist Dr. Eli Opper. He says the NIS 200 million cut in the Chief Scientist’s budget is harming Israel’s R&D inventory. “Budgeting inconsistency sends a signal of instability to investors, and even in times of budget difficulties, it’s illogical to harm the most effective means for guaranteeing growth and jobs,”
Since January 2006, the Office of the Chief Scientist has received applications for supporting R&D totaling over NIS 5 billion altogether. In 2005, the Chief Scientist and Ministry of Finance agreed on a three-year NIS 600 million budget supplement for the office.
On the basis of this agreement, the Office of the Chief Scientist declared nanotechnology, biotechnology and low technology as preferred sectors for increased budgets. The Chief Scientist also launched a program for encouraging R&D and adopting new technologies in low technology industries, on the assumption that knowledge intensive factories will improve their global position through higher competitiveness. The Chief Scientist also decided to establish a biotechnology fund amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars. The office says any cut in its budget will jeopardize these plans.
The Office of the Chief Scientist asserts that leading economists believe that R&D performance accounts for a substantial part of economic growth. R&D is estimated to contribute 45% to the rise in productivity in the Israeli economy, and it contributes an estimated 30% to Israel’s annual return on R&D investment.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes.co.il - on September 12, 2006
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2006