The German technology company Giesecke & Devrient (G&D) has concluded an agreement with Tel Aviv University to collaborate on research in the areas of public key cryptography, smart cards and server technology.

G&D will provide approximately 2.5 million euros to fund the five-year joint program.

Under the agreement, the university will grant G&D licensing rights to certain patents and inventions.

The agreement to collaborate was signed Tuesday by the president of Tel Aviv University, Itamar Rabinovich, and Jurgen Nehls of G&D, in the presence of Dr. Edmund Stoiber, the prime minister of Bavaria.

"We are delighted by this new agreement both because it lays the basis for an extensive and long-term relationship with major technological cooperation, and because it provides a framework for genuine collaboration between Tel Aviv faculty and an excellent R&D team," Rabinovich stated.

"Working with Tel Aviv University provides G&D with a valuable source of cutting-edge encryption technology and fundamental research to produce innovative and secure smart cards," said Nehls.

According to the dean of the engineering faculty at the university, Professor Gideon Langholz, the faculty gets $3 million funding a year for similar research projects, but this is the first agreement of this magnitude with a private international corporation. He noted that similar collaboration had been discussed with Check Point, but no agreement was reached.

The collaboration program will also include joint workshops, seminars and academic exchanges.

Avi Primor, Israel's former ambassador to Germany and currently vice president of Tel Aviv University, was instrumental in initiating this joint program.

G&D is supplies banknotes and security documents, banknote and security paper and currency automation systems, as well as cards, components, and complete smart card systems for electronic payments and telecommunications. The company employs about 5,800 people worldwide and generated an annual turnover of 2 million deutschemarks last year.