Bavaria and Israel have enjoyed close relations on many levels for several years now. Bavaria has had a contact office in Tel Aviv since 2009. In 2011, the Israeli Foreign Ministry opened a general consulate in Munich, which is responsible for the whole of southern Germany as well as Bavaria.
Alongside the cultural and business connections, the partnership in research and innovation really is a central part of the bilateral relationship. The Bavarian State Government is aiming to further boost cooperation in the future and to strengthen collaboration between Bavarian and Israeli universities and research institutions. Against this backdrop, the Bavaria-Israel Scientific Coordination Office was eventually established within the Bavarian Research Alliance (BayFOR), which started work on 1 March 2018, initially as a two-year pilot.
Numerous European funded projects have already been launched, in which stakeholders from Bavaria and Israel work on scientific collaborations. An example of this is the EU project INNOVIP, which BayFOR supported intensively in the application phase and which it now continues to support during its implementation in the field of administrative project management and dissemination of project results. INNOVIP is coordinated by the Munich-based Forschungsinstitut für Wärmeschutz e.V., while the Israeli company Avery Dennison Israel Ltd. is involved as a partner. The potential for further joint projects is still much greater however.
The Bavaria-Israel Scientific Coordination Office must now tap into this potential and expand it further. As such, it acts as a point of contact for planned Bavarian-Israeli collaborations, provides advice on suitable funding options and enables personal and scientific exchanges by granting mobility allowances for Bavarian stakeholders from the area of research and innovation. In partnership with the office in Tel Aviv, in October 2018, the Scientific Coordination Office held the first Bavaria-Israel Symposium on issues around digitalisation in agriculture, life science and industrialisation. It also accompanied a delegation of Bavarian scientists to Israel for the event. A second Bavaria-Israel Symposium is going to take place in spring 2019. In the medium term, this format should be incorporated into institutions and develop into a long-term collaboration platform for Bavarian and Israeli scientists.