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AICC Initiative Leads to South Carolina/Israel Bilateral R&D Deal

Back row: Bill Mahoney (SCRA), Shai Robkin (AICC), Jonathan Zucker (The InterTech Group) Front Row: Bobby Hitt, South Carolina Commerce Secretary, Opher Aviran,  Israel Consul General

Back row: Bill Mahoney (SCRA), Shai Robkin (AICC), Jonathan Zucker (The InterTech Group)
Front Row: Bobby Hitt, South Carolina Commerce Secretary, Opher Aviran, Israel Consul General


Led by the AICC, two years of collaborative work between Israel and the State of South Carolina was highlighted on Tuesday with the signing of an official agreement to establish a bilateral research and development initiative. The agreement, which creates a funding mechanism for joint industrial research and development projects between Israeli and South Carolina companies and universities, will be carried out by SCRA and MATIMOP, the Israeli Industry Center for R&D, on behalf of the Office of the Chief Scientist of Israel’s Ministry of Economy.

SCRA, South Carolina’s leading economic development agency, was awarded the Chamber’s “Partner of the Year” award at this past spring’s AICC Eagle Star Gala. The close relationship of the AICC with SCRA began in 2011 with strong support from the Charleston-based InterTech Group, led by its CEO, Anita Zucker, and President, Jonathan Zucker, Vice Chairman of the AICC and Chairman of the South Carolina-Israel Collaboration Work Group. The agreement signed this week came about as a direct result of the Collaboration’s first South Carolina Business and Research Mission to Israel in November 2011 when the AICC arranged for the delegation to meet with Avi Hasson, Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Economics to North America. Since that time, Israel’s Ministry of the Economy and the Foreign Ministry’s representative to the Southeast, Consul General Opher Aviran, have been strong advocates of the Collaboration.

Aviran and South Carolina Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt, signed the agreement on Tuesday in Columbia. The overarching bilateral initiative between SC and Israel is intended to develop and strengthen economic, industrial, technological and commercial cooperation through joint industrial research and development projects conducted between South Carolina and Israeli companies and universities. SCRA and MATIMOP will assist in “match making” to connect potential project partners in South Carolina with partners in Israel. The two entities will establish a process for submitting joint project applications and a process to review and approve selected collaboration projects on the basis of a mutually-developed set of merit criteria. Projects selected for funding will be funded by SCRA and MATIMOP, respectively.

“Israel, the ‘Start Up Nation,’ is very pleased to join South Carolina, the ‘Smart State,’ in this new stage of business, academic, and governmental relations for the benefit of our two peoples,” remarked Consul General Aviran. “This landmark achievement, which started with the vision of Tom Glaser, founder and former president of the American-Israel Chamber of Commerce Southeast, SCRA CEO Bill Mahoney, and InterTech President Jonathan Zucker, together with the government of Israel and the government of South Carolina, has already yielded tangible results in the field of healthcare, and we look forward to deepening and expanding the relationship between our two states.”

“South Carolina is the first state in the Southeast region to forge this kind of partnership with Israel,” said Secretary Hitt. “As our state continues to foster innovation, collaborative relationships such as this one will keep us on the cutting edge.”

“We look forward to working with our Israeli friends to further innovative research and collaboration in South Carolina,” said SCRA CEO Bill Mahoney. “This collaboration will help further South Carolina’s Knowledge Economy, and SCRA is delighted to help lead this charge. We look forward to many fruitful partnerships in the months to come.”

The technology sectors envisioned for this program consist of those areas where there appears to be the greatest overlap in capabilities and mutual interest between South Carolina and Israel. These areas include, but are not limited to: Biomedical and Life Sciences; Advanced Materials; Sustainable Energy/Water/Agriculture Systems; Transportation; Defense and Homeland Security and Insurance and Health Information Technology.

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