MANILA – The Philippines and Israel will work together on various initiatives as part of their science, technology, and innovation collaboration, Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato de la Peña said on Friday.

In a taped report, de la Peña said he and Israeli Ambassador to the Philippines Ilan Fluss met online on January 24 and discussed priority areas for international cooperation.

"Joint initiatives on innovation, agriculture, and health were agreed upon in the said meeting. Recognizing Israel’s strength, the DOST will work with the embassy to bridge both countries’ key players in the innovation ecosystem to establish linkages and share experiences with one another," he said.

De la Peña said Fluss also expressed intent on creating an incubator/accelerator facility in the Philippines.

"The embassy also shared its plan to establish smart agriculture centers in Philippine universities and these will serve as centers to demonstrate Israeli technologies, conduct trainings, and local research," the DOST chief said.

De la Peña added that capacity-building activities on agriculture will be discussed in the future.

"As for health, partnership on drug discovery, and drug commercialization, as well as for the establishment of the Virology and Vaccine Science and Technology Institute, they will be explored," he said.

De la Pena earlier said scholarships, visiting professors, and training were tackled with Israel officials.

Last year, he also met with Israel's Ministry of Science and Technology chief scientist, Avi Domb, and other officials, online.

They discussed potential joint initiatives on identified priority areas that include agriculture (water management), Artificial Intelligence (robotics), and health (biomedical engineering and drug discovery). (PNA)