During its meeting last month, held in Tel Aviv, Israel, the Board of Governors of the Israel-US Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation approved $7.75 million in funding for nine new projects between US and Israeli companies. In addition to the grants from BIRD, the projects will access private sector funding, boosting the total value of all projects to approximately $19.3 million.
The BIRD Foundation promotes collaboration between US and Israeli companies in various technological fields for the purpose of joint product development. In addition to providing conditional grants of up to $1 million for approved projects, the Foundation assists by working with companies to identify potential strategic partners and facilitate introductions.
The nine projects, approved by the Board of Governors, are in addition to the nearly 950 projects, which the BIRD Foundation has approved for funding during its 40-year history. To date, BIRD’s total investment in joint projects has been about $350 million, helping to generate direct and indirect sales of more than $10 billion.
The projects approved include:
· AgRobics (Shfaram, Israel) and Bennett & Bennett (Lemoore, CA) will develop an innovative anaerobic wastewater treatment for food processing plants.
· Axon Vision (Tel Aviv, Israel) and DermaSensor (Miami, FL) will develop a medical household device for skin cancer evaluation powered by cutting edge Artificial Intelligence.
· Farm Dog Technologies (Tel Aviv, Israel) and Deere & Co. (Urbandale, IA) will develop a variable rate pesticide application based on in-field observations.
· ImageSat Israel (Or Yehuda, Israel) and Balcony.io (Sunnyvale, CA) will develop a system that aggregates high-resolution satellite imagery with crowd sourced mobile user information.
· Motorola Solutions Israel (Airport City, Israel) and Neurala (Boston, MA) will develop on-edge video analytics for public safety.
· MyndYou (Tel Aviv, Israel) and Genesis Rehab Services (Kennett Square, PA) will develop artificial intelligence (AI) optimized care for a growing elderly population.
· NSLComm (Airport City, Israel) and Space Micro (San Diego, CA) will develop high bandwidth communications for nano-satellites.
· RunEL NGMT (Rishon Lezion, Israel) and Anokiwave (San Diego, CA) will develop a 5G cellular communication platform.
· Taranis (Tel Aviv, Israel) and Advanced Microbial Solutions [Agricen] (Frisco, TX) will develop crop abiotic stress detection and prevention.
Eli Cohen, Israeli Minister of Economy and Industry said, "The BIRD Foundation is a special manifestation of the strong relationship between Israel and the US, fostering collaboration based on Israel's innovation and technology, to achieve competitive advantage, economic growth and social contribution, in both countries."
US Ambassador David Friedman said, "On its 40th anniversary, the BIRD Foundation continues to be vital, vibrant, and at the heart of the strong US-Israeli relationship. The BIRD model has proven itself time and again by helping to bring important and impactful technologies to market. It has earned admiration in the United States, Israel and around the world."
Dr. Phillip Singerman, Associate Director for Innovation and Industry Services at the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and co-Chairman of BIRD’s Board of Governors said, "A necessary strategic approach for both large and small US companies is collaboration in innovation. Among the selected projects by BIRD's Board of Governors are US-Israel collaborations between large, well-known US companies partnered with small Israeli companies, and vice-versa, especially in sectors which are adopting massive digitization and processing of large amounts of data, such as precision agriculture, healthcare IT and homeland security. These joint innovation efforts, as well as the other selected projects, will benefit from BIRD's funding for R&D risk-sharing, towards potential successful commercialization."
Dr. Amiram Appelbaum, Chief Scientist at the Ministry of Economy and Industry, Chairman of the Israel Innovation Authority and co-Chairman of BIRD’s Board of Governors said, "The digital age creates a technology inflection point impacting all areas of our life, including education, medical treatment, work places, entertainment, the banking industry and more. The world the way we knew it is changing, so that nations and companies need to be creative to address the changes and leverage them for their benefit.
The BIRD Foundation is one of the best vehicles for enabling both Israeli and US companies to work together and leverage their respective strengths in innovation, and be ahead of the changes. I call upon Israeli and US companies to continue taking advantage of the unique opportunities provided by the BIRD Foundation for bilateral collaboration."
Dr. Eitan Yudilevich, Executive Director of the BIRD Foundation, said, "We wish the selected companies success in their joint projects, look forward to creating new opportunities for US-Israel collaboration in technology, and continue supporting companies in both countries, as BIRD has done for four fruitful decades."
The deadline for submission of Executive Summaries for the next BIRD cycle is March 1, 2018. Approval of projects will take place in June 2018.