In a push to encourage the development of made-in-Israel technologies to combat climate change and position the country as a global hub for ClimateTech innovation Jewish National Fund Canada, Start-Up Nation Central, and Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael - Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF), with the support of the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation, launched the Climate Solutions Prize on March 1st, which will be followed by an event at the Israeli pavilion at Expo 202 on 6th March.
Israel’s President Isaac Herzog said in a recorded video address during the ceremony held on March 1st: “We are seeing the dramatic impact of climate change all over the world and it is clear that this important issue has become urgent. But in a world of interests and fears, in a world tearing with distrust, a global crisis can become a catalyst for partnerships because latent in every crisis, is an opportunity. This is why the Climate Solutions Prize initiative is precisely what we need today. This prize excites the famous Israeli creativity and curiosity that turned us into a start-up nation and compels us to live up to this reputation. This is Israel’s opportunity to be a global leader in meeting the challenge of climate change.”
Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennet also addressed the attendees via video, stressing the importance of innovation in the battle against climate change: “It’s my hope that this prize will further enable Israeli technology to fight climate change and win this war. Israeli scientists have transformed Israel into a world leader in this field, but we’ve got so much more to offer. Together we can join forces so our children can breathe cleaner air, drink cleaner water and live in a world that will treat the planet better than we did.”
The fight against climate change is a subject that the Prime Minister also addressed during his recent visit to the UAE, he announced the establishment of an R&D fund of NIS 300 million to be allocated over next decade to support private sector collaborations for climate solutions, within Israel.
The Climate Solutions Prize will award Climate innovation across two trajectories — researchers and start-up companies with more than $2 million in incentives to develop and bring their solutions to market. It is the most comprehensive initiative of its sort in Israel’s history and aims to cement the country firmly on the climate change global map. The winners will be announced in a first-of-its-kind Climate Innovation Festival set to be held in Israel in October.
To meet, or even approach, the net-zero carbon emission goals requires virtually every sector to make radical changes to the way it operates – from the way we generate and consume electricity, manufacture and dispose of products, grow food and get around, to the way we build, heat and cool our buildings. Making a difference will require the development and scale of multiple solutions, each targeting a specific problem and each the result of a dedicated effort to bring about game-changing innovation.
Jeff Hart, Executive Chair of the Climate Solutions Prize stated: “Climate change is the biggest challenge of our time. If temperatures continue to rise, all we have worked so hard to build is at risk due to increased flooding, forest fires and drought. As Jewish people committed to Tikkun Olam - Repairing the World - we created the Climate Solutions Prize to galvanize Israel, known as the start-up nation, to develop breakthrough solutions to help solve the climate crisis, and even turn it into an opportunity.”
Emily Levy-Shochat, KKL-JNF Vice-Chairperson said: “KKL-JNF’s commitment to the Climate Solutions Prize is a vote of confidence in the ability of Israeli research to bring about technological breakthroughs in the global battle against climate change. Our commitment to the mission extends to the establishment of a new KKL-JNF climate center that will promote practical projects in regional councils across the country, dealing with renewable energy, climate leadership, sustainable construction, research and development and increasing public awareness of the climate crisis. This is a crisis that knows no boundaries between countries, peoples, and organisations and it is our imperative to work together to help solve it.”
Avi Hasson, CEO Start-Up Nation Central said “Israel, as a recognised leader in developing advanced solutions to global challenges, is extremely well-positioned to take a central position in battling climate change as one of the world’s most pressing issues. We are joining forces with partners from the philanthropic and business realms to harness Israel’s agile and creative tech ecosystem to come up with solutions to the biggest shared challenge of our time.”
Chemi Peres, Chairman of the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation said: “In the coming decade, we will be called on to cope with the dangers related to global climate change, which risk causing harm at an unprecedented scale. Our success in meeting those challenges depends on our ability to innovate, collaborate and adopt new behaviour patterns when it comes to the environment. The Peres Center for Peace and Innovation is committed to making these changes, side by side with our partners who join us today to launch this joint initiative.”
The Climate Solutions Prize is a comprehensive initiative to support the potential for research and innovation to address the climate change crisis. The initiative operates two distinct tracks. One is the Breakthrough Research Prize offering a grant for Israeli scientists and researchers. The other is the Startup Track, which runs a series of challenges that offer investment, cash prizes and exposure to Israeli tech companies. Each Startup Challenge is led by different industry leaders and philanthropic partners, including Capital Nature, The Temasek Foundation, ESIL, Kornit Digital, SolarEdge and Merck.
Israel is currently home to more than 700 technology companies that are already developing solutions for addressing climate challenges, including sustainable food systems, circular economy, clean energy, efficiency and storage, sustainable mobility, sustainable manufacturing, nature protection and many more. During the prize launch a new landscape map detailing the leading companies with solutions to address the climate crisis was released. View the map here.
For more information about the tracks and their submission criteria and deadlines visit www.climatesolutionsprize.com.
The leadership of the Climate Solutions Prize in Tel Aviv today. Photo: Eliran Avital
About the Israeli Pavilion
Designed without walls, for maximum openness, attendees of Expo 2020 and beyond are invited to the Israel pavilion. Israel is a place of innovation, offering a vision and horizon in dealing with the challenges of humanity. The pavilion has an emphasis on challenges such as; agriculture, water, medicine, communications and cyber issues. The pavilion will showcase its open and diverse society that provides equal rights to all its inhabitants, it is a society that respects different people and cultures and is a recognised and respected state among participating nations.