The Britain-Israel Research and Academic Exchange Partnership (BIRAX) has selected 15 projects for £365,000 (about $612,000) in research grants, promoting UK-Israel academic cooperation.
The projects, selected from top universities in the UK and Israel, range from an ultra long laser for secure communications to the study of Aramaic magical texts and the role of nasal defense in polluted environments.
BIRAX was launched in July 2008 by British PM Gordon Brown and former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert. The joint program was created to tighten the research and academic cooperation between the UK and Israel, following a series of academic boycotts on Israel. The grants are awarded for the purpose of joint scientific research and exchange opportunities.
Academic institutions in Israel include Tel Aviv University, Weizmann Institute and Tel Hai Academic College, and in Britain Oxford University, Cambridge University, Imperial College, Leeds University and others.
The partnership is funded by both private and public funding from the UK and Israel. The largest supporter is the Pears Foundation from the UK and United Jewish Israel Appeal. The scheme has the full backing of the British and Israeli governments and is managed by the British Council from its Israel offices.