In the backdrop of British Water and MATIMOP’s recent water agreement facilitating cooperation on global water tenders and bilateral technologies’ access, I conducted an interview with Israel Shamay, MATIMOP’s Director of European Cooperation to hear his thoughts on the role of governments in promoting new water technologies and exports.
First, a quick background on the agreement (from a PR from Matimop’s website):
The Memorandum of Understanding signed by British Water, which represents the UK water industry supply chain, and MATIMOP, the Israeli Industry Centre for R&D, sets up a framework for both organisations to work together on a range of areas of common interest. It will also facilitate greater joint projects to develop new product applications and processes to be commercialised in the global market.
Ian Bernard, Technical Manager for British Water, said: “The agreement with MATIMOP ensures both parties have access to some of the best technological solutions to implement in both the UK and Israel, and will also enable world leading experts in both countries to cooperate for European and international research, development and technical projects.”
Areas of common interest include: water management technology, which increasingly uses ICT to aid water monitoring and fault identification; desalination, water reuse and the use of renewable energy sources in water purification, reclamation and desalination.
…And now the interview:
NM: What is your vision for this model being pushed into further global collaborations?
Israel Shamay: Our goal is to be able to assist SMEs to translate their technology into a commercial success. Many times SMEs are in need of capital to bridge this gap. The governmental entity has the ability to provide different financial platforms and provide the SME with much needed oxygen to jumpstart its business.
However, the government brings much more than just purely monetary value. Utilizing the strength and cross-country ties, the governmental entity opens the door for industrial cooperation agreements with various institutions, bi-lateral cooperation agreements which broaden the R&D platforms available to SMEs and multinational agreements that allow for the creation of industrial R&D centers.
NM: What are your thoughts on the role of governments to promote technology across the globe?
Israel Shamay: This cooperation agreement with British Water is unique in the landscape of cooperation agreements we have been a part of thus far. Oftentimes a cooperation agreement is signed directly with a national funding entity. Under the framework of such an agreement, though funding is provided, the agreement may be lacking in its ability to provide SMEs with accessibility to markets.
The agreement with British Water amends this flaw. It is signed directly with a company, thus providing direct access to markets. We have trust in this type of agreement since we feel that accessibility to the market is vital to an SME’s success. Nevertheless, we will need to find a balanced ecosystem where we are able to provide both aspects of funding and accessibility to markets under the framework of an agreement.
NM: Any significant milestones you have set for viewing this as a successful program?
Israel Shamay: Following this agreement we would like to see higher intensity of cooperation agreements between Israeli and UK companies in the Water sector. We also believe this agreement can allow for high quality joint R&D projects that will receive traditional funding. Furthermore, we anticipate that this agreement can create interesting joint projects between Israel and the UK that will generate actual sales revenue, with the potential to make a global impact in regions of great need for advanced water technology.
NM: Can you explain your vision for the future of Israeli Water technologies, specifically which sectors you see having the longest near term and long term growth?
Israel Shamay: We believe that the global environmental situation will continue to boost companies dealing with desalination, water management and water monitoring systems. Israel being an innovator in agriculture, software and communication has a great advantage in these fields.
In addition, we feel that the need for water security and security of water facilities will grow substantially and Israel is already an active player in these fields.