US-Israeli foundation to invest $12m. in first responder tech

All in all, the total $12m., which will include private sector funding, will be distributed over three years.

Ambulance (photo credit: MAGEN DAVID ADOM JERUSALEM)
A total of $12 million in grants is being invested to advance American-Israeli progress in emergency-services technologies.
The money comes from the Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation (BIRD), which has called for project proposals in that public- service sector.
BIRD’s “NextGen First Responder Technologies” program, now in its second year, will grant up to 50% of total R&D budget to recipients up to a maximum of $1m. per project, the foundation said. The program is a joint effort of the Public Security Ministry and the US Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate.
Proposals must demonstrate significant commercial potential in “first responder” fields such as: law enforcement, firefighting or emergency medical services. Participation in the research, development and commercialization of each project must include cooperation between two companies or one company and one university or research institute.
Specific areas of interest include: command, control and coordination, communications, data analysis, explosives and hazards detection, protective clothing, sensors, simulation and training, situational awareness and wearable technologies, according to BIRD.
The $12m. of grants is made up of funding from both the private and government sectors and will be distributed over three years. A grant only needs to be repaid if the project to which it was awarded achieves sufficient revenue.
“This binational cooperation creates synergistic capabilities to handle emergency situations while using innovative technologies to save lives,” BIRD executive director Eitan Yudilevich said. “The program extends and enhances the successful collaboration that already exists between the US and Israel in science and technology in the homeland-security sector.”
The call for first-responder project proposals comes just one week after the foundation awarded $4m. to five new American-Israeli projects in the clean-energy arena. Those partnerships will work on research in solar energy, biomass, fuel cells and energy efficiency.
The BIRD Foundation was established in 1977 with grants from the US and Israeli governments. To date, it has awarded grants to about 900 industrial research and development projects. Grants are funded from repayments made by successful projects and from interest earned on government endowments. To date, $10 billion in sales has resulted from foundation- sponsored activities.