Md., Israel to boost collaboration; Fellowship to fund work by Israelis at state facilities


TEL AVIV, Israel -- Israel and Maryland have started a biotechnology fellowship to tap into each other's growing talent in the field.

The privately funded program will pay for Israeli scientists to conduct research at one of Maryland's nonprofit scientific institutions.

Besides the University of Maryland and the Johns Hopkins University, the state is home to a number of federal research facilities. The fellowship was announced in Tel Aviv yesterday during a visit by a state trade delegation.

Dr. Robert Gallo, who helped discover the AIDS virus and now runs a research center at the University of Maryland, said he hopes the fellowship will foster scientific collaboration between Marylanders and Israelis and stimulate the pharmaceutical industry.

"The greatest talent per capita is here," he said of Israel, which boasts the highest concentration of scientists and physicians in the world.

Biotechnology applies biological knowledge and techniques to the development of products and services.

Richard C. "Mike" Lewin, Maryland's secretary of business and economic development, said Maryland and Israel are making connections at a "breathtaking rate," developing a "synergy of ideas and research."

The fellowship is sponsored by the Maryland/Israel Development Center, which is funded jointly by the state and the Jewish community.

So far, $165,000 has been raised, mostly from Jewish foundations and individuals. This is enough to pay for three yearlong $50,000 fellowships. But the sponsors do not want to limit the program to one-year grants.

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