UK-Israel Life Sciences Council

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The UK-Israel Life Sciences Council, is a British government sponsored endeavour set up to encourage UK-Israel research collaborations and as a response to the proposed academic and cultural boycott of Israel.

The council was 'announced by British Foreign Secretary William Hague during his November [2010] visit to Israel'.[1]

According to a statement on the launch on the Ben Gurion University website the Council has an 'illustrious list of 21 members - 12 British and 9 Israeli - including four Nobel Prize laureates.'[1]

Among those who came from Britain for the meeting were: Lord Robert Winston - an expert in IVF and fertility treatments and one of Britain's most recognisable scientific names; Prof. Lorna Casselton - Foreign Secretary and Vice-President of the Royal Society, Sir Adrian Smith – director general for knowledge and innovation at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and former chairman of GlaxoSmithKline, Sir Richard Sykes.[1]

The inaugural meeting of the Council was 'chaired by the British Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould, and co-chaired by Prof. Raymond Dwek of Oxford University and Prof. Rivka Carmi, President of Ben Gurion University of the Negev took place at the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Jerusalem on 25 January 2011 to identify the focus for UK-Israel scientific collaboration.'[1]

The Pears Foundation and the Zabludowicz Trust are 'among those supporting the Council, set up at the initiative of British Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould. Ambassador Gould explained the importance of this body saying, "The UK and Israel are both global superpowers when it comes to science and research. We both have disproportionate numbers of Nobel Prize winners and are home to some of the most important, groundbreaking research. So it makes sense that our scientific communities should work closely together. It also sends a powerful and positive signal about how our countries see each other, and about the sort of relationship we want between us. The British Government is opposed to boycotts of Israel, and this Council is an expression of that."'[1]

The Council will 'direct an ambitious expansion of the BIRAX scheme, which funds collaboration between British and Israeli scientists, and which recently announced the 10 recipients of its second round of funding.'[1]


Prof. Rivka Carmi and Prof. Raymond Dwek co-chairs. Inaugurated by Ambassador Matthew Gould[1]


UK Members

Professor Lorna Casselton - Foreign Secretary, Royal Society| Professor Sir John Bell - President of the Academy of Medical Sciences| Professor Raymond DwekOxford University, Director of Glycobiology Institute| Professor Sir Marc Feldmann - Imperial College, Head of Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology | Professor Baroness Susan GreenfieldOxford University, Fullerian Professor of Physiology | Professor Sir Aaron KlugCambridge University, Nobel Prize Laureate in Chemistry| Professor Chris MasonUCL, Chair of Regenerative Medicine| Professor Lord Naren Patel University of Dundee, Chancellor | Professor Sir Richard Sykes - Former Chairman of GlaxoSmithKline | Professor Sir John Walker - Cambridge, Nobel Prize Laureate in Chemistry | Professor Lord Robert WinstonImperial College, Professor of Science and Society| Professor Sir Adrian Smith - Director General, Knowledge and Innovation, Department for Business, Innovation & Skills[1]

Israeli members

Professor Moshe AbelesBar Ilan University, Director of the Multidisciplinary Brain Research Centre | Professor Ruth Arnon - President of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities | Professor Rivka Carmi - President of Ben Gurion University and Chairperson of the Committee of University Heads | Professor Aaron Ciechanover - Technion, Nobel Prize Laureate in Chemistry| Professor Benny GeigerWeizmann Institute, Chair of Israel Science Foundation academic board | Professor Yossi ShilohTel Aviv University, Faculty of Medicine| Professor Hermona SoreqHebrew University of Jerusalem, former Dean of the Faculty of Science | Professor Daniel Weihs - Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Science and Technology | Professor Ada YonathWeizmann Institute, Nobel Prize Laureate in Chemistry[1]

Present at launch meeting

David Chinn [2] | Trevor Pears[3]



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Ben Gurion University New UK-Israel Council to Forge Strong Ties in Life Sciences 26 January 2011.
  2. UK in Israel Mr David Chinn Flickr Inaugural meeting of UK-Israel Life Sciences Council, 25 January 2013
  3. UK in Israel Mr Trevor Pears, Pears Foundation Flickr Inaugural meeting of UK-Israel Life Sciences Council, 25 January 2013