A new initiative is due to be announced by the Fulbright Foundation on Friday.Offering NIS 1 million in seed money to an Israeli higher-education or research institution, the project’s goal is to strengthen ties between the US and Israel through collaborative research and shared knowledge.Dr. Anat Lapidot-Firilla, the executive director of the United States Israel Educational Foundation, the Israeli branch of the Fulbright Foundation, spoke with The Jerusalem Post on Thursday about the potential this initiative has for improving Israeli knowledge of the US.While Israel’s higher-education and research institutions have much to offer academics, Lapidot-Firilla sees this as an opportunity to increase studies about the US. “It is easy to learn about Israel while in the United States, but less so [for] learning about the US in Israel,” she told the Post.“This is not to say American studies do not exist here, we just want to encourage more research,” she said. “We hope this will be a meeting point for anyone interested in responsible knowledge in the US.”The program’s vision is to create what Lapidot-Firilla calls an “incubator for research and public discourse.”She sees the timing of this initiative to be rather appropriate. “This is really needed, as there are lots of changes going on here and in the United States. So it’s really important to give proper attention to this type of research,” she said.Interested institutions have until December 15 to submit a letter of intent, while the full application deadline is April 2018, and the winner of the grant will be announced in June 2018.The foundation hopes that the money will go toward hosting public events, such as conferences and seminars, and offering travel grants to researchers from both the US and Israel.