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October 21, 2020 9:21 am

Florida’s Aerospace Agency and Israel Innovation Authority Shoot for More Collaboration

avatar by Yafit Ovadia / CTech

International Space Station. Photo: NASA.gov.

CTech – Space Florida, the aerospace economic development agency of the state of Florida, and the Israel Innovation Authority (IIA) announced they would be devoting an additional $2 million in funding for the research and development of new aerospace projects. For the past eight years, both organizations have streamlined a competition for innovators, and since 2013 have spearheaded and sponsored projects that call for increased commercialization of aerospace projects for Florida and Israel. Relations between Israel and the state of Florida have been in the running for a while; It was barely two years ago that Israel launched its Beresheet lunar mission off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The projects range from developing research in space technologies, including radiation shield technology (that has been used to protect spacecraft from harmful solar radiation emissions), capacitors which propel spacecraft, unmanned aerial systems or UAS for drone capability, and examining and testing the effects of space on human muscle and immune cells in low-gravity environments.

Both groups will then showcase their proposals, which are chosen based on feasibility, while funding is then given to those companies which exhibit high potential, collaboration, commercialization, and sufficient economic gains for both states.

Teams submit their ideas along with an official bilateral cooperation form that details their plan and their joint efforts to a committee. Applications have been open since Oct. 19 and are due on Feb. 22, 2021. All of the submissions are then analyzed by the Israel Innovation Authority and Space Florida, which then decide which projects will be awarded funding. While the program focuses on sponsoring projects in the department of space aviation, it is not exclusive, and other fields that aim to improve research in space such as communications, cyber security, robotics, health, and AI are included as well.

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Space Florida President and CEO Frank DiBello said, “We are pleased to announce this latest call for projects in partnership with the Israel Innovation Authority. With support from Governor Ron DeSantis, the state’s partnership with Israel continues to cultivate the aerospace and technologies industries in both Florida and Israel.”

Lt. Governor Jeanette Nuñez praised the joint efforts as well, noting that “this partnership between Space Florida and the Israel Innovation Authority continues to strengthen the aerospace ecosystem in our state as well as in Israel.”

Space Florida holds itself as a leader both in the national and international sphere, noting that it ranks as one of the top five US states for aerospace industry, with some 11,600 aerospace companies based in Florida alone, that contribute $17.7 billion to the state’s economy.

The collaboration was praised in Israel by the authority’s CEO Aharon Aharon: “The ongoing collaboration between Israel and Florida on space-related technologies brought about unique innovations to this sector. These joint projects and collaborations will further strengthen the economies of both states,” he said.

The Israel Innovation Authority is a government branch whose goal is to strengthen innovation by supporting projects and encouraging research and developments in all sectors, particularly in tech. Not only does it fund high-risk projects, it also supports a wide variety of industries, and formulates programs that will help the industry to flourish. The authority houses six divisions that document the life of a project from technological planning to manufacturing to early stage funding.

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