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Australia to Establish First Tech Incubator in Israel

Australia plans to open a start-up incubator in Tel Aviv as part of an international initiative to boost its technology sector, Globes reported on Tuesday.

Yesterday, Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced an innovation program called Ideas Boom as part of his government’s Global Innovation Strategy. Under the program, Australian start-ups will have access to innovation hubs in key international markets, of which Israel is one.

Australian Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb said the overseas hubs – to be called Landing Pads – would assist emerging Australian companies with their approach to identifying and engaging with international opportunities in overseas markets.

According to Robb, “Landing Pads will be created in key global innovation hotspots including Silicon Valley and Tel Aviv to give Australian entrepreneurs and start-ups a short-term operational base.” He added that Landing Pads will be established in three other locations, which will be announced shortly.

The hubs will include office space, as well as “accelerated access to international business networks, entrepreneurial talent, business development and investment opportunities.”

David Sharma, Australia’s ambassador to Israel, emphasized the significance of Israel as a choice for a Landing Pad. “The decision to set up a first Australian start-up incubator in Israel is huge, and reflects the importance that Australia ascribes to Tel Aviv as the world’s start-up capital alongside Silicon Valley. I’m very excited about the potential and the opportunities that will be created as a result.”

Globes added that this initiative is meant to “support Australia’s ongoing economic diplomacy and science diplomacy efforts globally.”

Other countries that have recently boosted their scientific cooperation with Israel include Japan, Germany, Britain, and India.

In China’s Deepening Interest in Israel, which was published in the September 2015 issue of The Tower Magazine, Aryeh Tepper described the growing technological cooperation between Israel and China in the academic sphere.

This relationship extends beyond economic cooperation. In 2012, Carice Witte, the founder and executive director of SIGNAL (Sino-Israel Global Network & Academic Leadership), an institute devoted to strengthening ties between the two countries, noted “A Quiet Transformation in China’s Approach to Israel” in a monograph for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. This transformation included, for the first time, significant academic collaboration between the two countries.

Three examples illustrate this change. In September, 2011, SIGNAL hosted the first-ever China-Israel Strategy and Security Symposium at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya. In 2011-12, SIGNAL established five Israel Studies programs at Chinese universities (11 such programs exist today). And in 2013, the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology announced that it will launch a campus at Shantou University in Guangdong, China’s most populous province. Of course, none of these changes would have been possible if China’s leadership hadn’t approved of the shift.

In 2011, Israel’s Council for Higher Education began setting aside hundreds of scholarships for Chinese undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate students in hopes that more Chinese will study in Israel. Many of these students are studying science and technology, so they spend the bulk of their time in labs or in front of a computer screen. In order to expose them to Israeli society, the first-ever Israel Studies program for Chinese students in Israel was hosted at Ben-Gurion University’s Sde Boker campus in the Spring of 2015.

[Photo: Amir Yalon / Flickr ]