Israel became eligible for up to €77 billion worth of research grants until 2020 as an important European Union funding project launched this week.

The state’s inclusion in the Horizon 2020 programme was being heralded by Israeli scientists as “very important,” comes amid increased talk of European boycotts of Israel. Last summer, the EU issued guidelines limiting support for organisations operating in settlements.

Israel’s chief scientist Avi Hasson said: “This cooperation does not just bring us funding, it also allows us to be part of the international arena of present and future science and technology.”

The programme, which promises “breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by taking great ideas from the lab to the market,” promises cross-border scientific co-operation, which could benefit from Israel’s expertise in the area.