Joint Israel-US R&D projects receive $8.2 million funding boost

The foundation has invested almost $350 million in 982 approved projects to date.

July 7, 2019 13:41
2 minute read.
The American and the Israeli national flags can be seen outside the U.S Embassy in Tel Aviv

The American and the Israeli national flags can be seen outside the U.S Embassy in Tel Aviv. (photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)


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The Israel-US Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation will invest $8.2 million in nine new collaborative research projects between American and Israeli companies, the foundation announced on Sunday.

The nine projects, which will each benefit from conditional grants of up to $1 million, will also gain access to the private sector funding, increasing their total value to approximately $20 million.

Established by the US and Israeli governments in 1977, the BIRD Foundation promotes collaboration between US and Israeli companies in various technological fields for the purpose of joint product development.

The foundation has invested almost $350 million in 982 approved projects to date, with cumulative direct and indirect sales of products developed by recipient companies exceeding $10 billion.

The latest round of approved projects include innovation in the fields of agrotechnology, cleantech, healthcare, lifesciences, media and communication. The foundation funds up to half of a project's budget, beginning with research and development, and ending with the initial stages of sales and marketing. Funding is repaid in royalties from sales of products should the companies enjoy commercial success.

"The US is one of Israel's major partners for innovation," said Dr. Amiram Appelbaum, chief scientist at the Economy Ministry, chairman of the Israel Innovation Authority and co-chairman of BIRD’s Board of Governors.

"We are proud of our long-standing collaboration with the BIRD Foundation that has resulted in such spectacular successes over the decades and numerous groundbreaking technological innovations offered by both Israeli and US recipients of the grant. We are confident that this year's grant recipients in the various fields and the new projects approved will prove vital for the population worldwide."

In the agrotechnology sector, Israel Aerospace Industries and Massachusetts-based Headwall Photonics will receive funding for their development of a precision agriculture decision-support system for large-scale areas, which utilizes wide-area hyperspectral imaging and fixed-wing mobile drones. 

A filter for the advanced disinfection of irrigation water based on pulse electric fields, developed by Netafim and Massachusetts-based Onvector LLC, will also receive a foundation grant.

Other approved projects include a tele-rehabilitation, monitoring and detection platform for Parkinson Disease patients developed by Wizecare and The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, and a food waste-derived high performance compostable packaging designed by 3PLW and California-based Corumat.

"The diversity of companies and technologies that is reflected in the selected projects is inspiring, and a demonstration of the breadth and depth of US-Israel collaboration in innovation," said Dr. Eitan Yudilevich, executive director of the BIRD Foundation.

In May, the Energy Ministry, Israel Innovation Authority and US Department of Energy issued a $40 million call for proposals for a newly-established US-Israel Center of Excellence in Energy, Engineering and Water Technology managed by the BIRD Foundation.

The joint energy center aims to promote the energy security and economic development of Israel and the US by collaborating on the research and development of innovative technologies by companies, research institutions and universities from the two countries.

To be considered for funding, companies, research institutions and universities from the US and Israel who wish to collaborate must establish a consortium of at least two entities from each country. Proposals by interested groups must be submitted by August 15, with the winning consortia expected to be selected by November.

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