The BIRD Foundation approves $8 million in funding for nine innovative joint projects between the U.S. and Israel.
Economy Government Partnerships

BIRD Approves $8 Million in Funding for U.S.-Israel Collaborations

In a significant boost to bilateral technological collaborations, the Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation recently announced the approval of $8 million in funding for nine new joint projects between U.S. and Israeli companies. The decision was made during the Board of Governors’ meeting on June 28th, 2023, held in Washington D.C. The approved projects cover a diverse array of sectors, including quantum computing, agri-tech, food science, medical devices, health IT, logistics, and video processing.

The BIRD Foundation, with its 46-year history of fostering innovative partnerships, plays a vital role in promoting joint product development between U.S. and Israeli companies in various technological fields. The conditional grants offered by BIRD can go up to $1.5 million, and the Foundation also assists companies in identifying potential strategic partners and facilitating introductions.

The projects undergo a rigorous evaluation process by experts appointed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) of the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Israel Innovation Authority. The selected projects not only receive funding from BIRD but also access additional private-sector investments, resulting in a total investment of $23 million for all nine projects.

The nine approved projects encompass a range of groundbreaking innovations that have the potential to revolutionize their respective industries:
  1. Agado Live (Tel Aviv, Israel) and Adventist HealthCare (Rockville, MD) are collaborating to develop an end-to-end remote rehabilitation platform for neurologic diseases.
  2. Agromentum (dba as Fieldin) (Yokneam Illit, Israel) and Manulife Investment Management Agriculture Services Inc. (Turlock, CA) aim to create a hardware and software platform that transforms regular tractors into autonomous ones, specifically for operating in orchards.
  3. AlvaLinks (Tel Aviv, Israel) and Cobalt Digital (Champaign, IL) are partnering to develop a video network intelligence and observability platform designed for broadcasting and media companies.
  4. ContainerEyes (Tel Aviv, Israel) and NTELX (Tysons, VA) plan to create a real-time tracking and risk analysis service to enhance food safety and reduce food loss during shipping.
  5. GeneYX (Herzliya, Israel) and Ocean Genomics (Pittsburgh, PA) are working on a multi-omic software method that combines DNA and RNA to improve disease diagnosis and identify drug targets more effectively.
  6. NeuroTrigger (Tel Aviv, Israel), and Rand Eye Institute (Deerfield Beach, FL) are collaborating to develop a clinically validated eyelid pacemaker that aims to restore blinking in individuals with facial paralysis.
  7. Oshi (Rehovot, Israel) and The Better Meat Co. (West Sacramento, California) are jointly developing allergen-free mycelium-based whole-cut salmon analogs.
  8. Quantum Machines (Tel Aviv, Israel) and QuEra Computing Inc. (Boston, MA) are working on a Photonic Control Unit and Photonic Integrated Circuit to be integrated into quantum computing devices.
  9. Treetoscope (Mikve Israel, Israel) and The Toro Company (Minneapolis, MN) are aiming to develop next-generation, cost-effective, and scalable precision irrigation management based on direct plant sensing technology.

The BIRD Foundation has a remarkable track record, having previously approved over 1000 projects, with a total investment of over $390 million. These investments have led to direct and indirect sales amounting to more than $10 billion, underscoring the Foundation’s significant impact on the U.S.-Israel technological landscape.

The co-Chairs of the BIRD Foundation’s Board of Governors, Mojdeh Bahar, Associate Director for Innovation and Industry Services at NIST, and Dr. Amiram Appelbaum, Chief Scientist of Innovation at the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology, have expressed their excitement about the selected projects and their potential for driving innovation and addressing critical challenges in various industries.

Mr. Jaron Lotan, the Executive Director of the BIRD Foundation, highlighted the record number of exceptional submissions received during this funding cycle. He commended the BIRD team’s support in assisting the companies throughout the process and expressed pride in the diverse and high-quality collaborations, all of which have the potential to bring forth creative solutions for future technologies.

For companies interested in participating in the BIRD Foundation’s program, the next deadline for submitting Executive Summaries is September 12, 2023, with project approval set to take place in December 2023.

The Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation is a catalyst for fostering collaborations between U.S. and Israeli companies across various technology sectors. With a unique approach, the Foundation offers funding to selected projects without claiming any equity or intellectual property rights. Instead, BIRD funding is recovered as royalties from sales of products that result from the supported projects. The Foundation provides funding of up to 50% of the project’s budget, covering everything from R&D to the initial stages of sales and marketing. Notably, the BIRD Foundation shares the risk with the participating companies and does not require repayment if a project fails to reach the sales stage, making it a supportive and attractive platform for innovative ventures.

With BIRD’s continued efforts and successful collaborations, the U.S. and Israel can anticipate further advancements in technological innovation and a strengthened bond between the two nations in the pursuit of addressing global challenges.

Photo by Artur Widak

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