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The American and the Israeli national flags can be seen outside the U.S Embassy in Tel Aviv.(Photo by: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)
Joint U.S.-Israel innovation projects receive $7.3m funding boost
The BIRD foundation has invested nearly $350 million in 974 projects to date, with cumulative sales of products subsequently developed by companies exceeding $10 billion.
The Israel-US Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation will invest $7.3 million in eight new American-Israeli innovation projects, it announced Tuesday.

The selected projects involve innovation in fields including agritech, energy, edtech, digital health, medical devices and homeland security. In addition to the grants, they will also gain access to private sector funding, boosting their total value to approximately $20.4m.

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

The foundation has invested nearly $350 million in 974 projects to date, with cumulative sales of products subsequently developed by companies exceeding $10 billion.

"Today, what's nice to see is that US companies do not see Israeli companies only as a source of innovation, but actually see a complementarity of innovation," Dr. Eitan Yudilevich, Executive Director of the BIRD Foundation, told The Jerusalem Post.

"The Israeli eco-system has matured considerably, and today you see cases where more mature Israeli companies are looking at US start-ups, which is a reverse model of the BIRD Foundation's original rationale in the 1970s and 1980s. One of our core values is that the benefit must be mutual, even if different."

Among those selected were Petah Tikva-based 4Cast Systems and Montana-based Adelos's development of advanced pipeline disaster prevention system Upstream; a joint project by Ramat Gan-based HackerU and and New York-based Just Greens to develop a platform for measuring and enhancing cyber security readiness and tech talent competency; and the design and manufacture of a Surround Vision Scope by Netanya-based Mitos Medical and Maryland-based FiberTech Medical.

"It’s satisfying to see how varied the projects submitted to the BIRD Foundation are, with diversity in sectors, size of US companies and their geographical location enhancing BIRD’s impact for the mutual benefit of the US and Israel," said Dr. Phillip Singerman, Associate Director for Innovation and Industry Services at the US National Institute of Standards and Technology and co-chairman of BIRD’s Board of Governors.

"Originally designed in the 1970s to enable mature US companies to help the emerging Israeli technology community, 41 years later the BIRD Foundation is enabling Israel's now mature technology sector to join forces with US companies to compete in the new global market of the 21st century."

Under the program, the BIRD Foundation provides funding valued at up to 50% of a project's budget, beginning with research and development, and ending with initial stages of sales and marketing. BIRD funding is repaid as royalties should the project enjoy commercial success.
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