BIRD Fund invests $7.2M in 8 new projects

The approved projects involve innovations in the areas of agrotechnology, biotechnology, material sciences, homeland security and others

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During its meeting on December 13, 2016, held in Tel Aviv, Israel, the Board of Governors of the Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation approved $7.2 million in funding for eight new projects between U.S. 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 $17 million.

The BIRD Foundation promotes collaboration between U.S. 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.

Projects submitted to the BIRD Foundation are reviewed by evaluators appointed by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and by the Israel Innovation Authority, formerly the Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS) at the Israel Ministry of Economy and Industry.

The eight projects approved by the Board of Governors are in addition to about 940 projects which the BIRD Foundation has approved for funding during its 39 year history. To date, BIRD’s total investment in joint projects has been over $330 million, helping to generate direct and indirect sales of more than $10 billion.

The projects approved include:

  • Dotz Nano (Petach Tikva, Israel) and Pflaumer Brothers (Ewing Township, NJ): Development and manufacturing of graphene quantum dots from coal sources.
  • Evogene (Rehovot, Israel) and Keygene (Rockville, MD): Development of novel drought tolerant wheat varieties using genome editing technologies.
  • Motorola Solutions Israel (Airport City, Israel) and Eclipse Identity Recognition Corporation (Campbell, CA): Development of distributed enhanced video analysis.
  • NovellusDX (Jerusalem, Israel) and Christiana Care Health System (Newark, DE):Development of in-vitro mutagenesis for a functional characterization of patient mutations and their response to drugs.
  • Pluristem Therapeutics (Haifa, Israel) and The New York Blood Center (New York, NY): Development of placenta derived PLX-R18 cells to improve the efficiency of cord blood for hematopoietic regeneration.
  • Voiceitt – Technologies of Voice Interface (Ramat Gan, Israel) and SCJ Associates (Rochester, NY): Development of a wearable device that  enables people with speech disabilities to communicate freely and naturally using their own voice.
  • Vimmi Communications (Rehovot, Israel) and Tech Mahindra Technologies (Wilmington, DE): Development of a system to significantly reduce resources required for transmitting video on mobile networks.
  • Westham (Tel Aviv, Israel) and The Terminix International Company (Memphis, TN): Development of breakthrough technology for vector mosquito control.

The Honorable Daniel Shapiro, U.S. Ambassador to Israel
, said, “The BIRD Foundation’s efforts to promote R&D collaboration between U.S. and Israeli firms helped put Israel on the path to becoming the Start-Up Nation it is today.  Both our countries benefit enormously from the many partnerships that BIRD supports.  We applaud the BIRD Foundation for its contributions to Israel’s development as well as the dynamism it brings to the U.S.-Israeli relationship.”
Dr. Phillip Singerman, Associate Director for Innovation and Industry Services at the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and co-Chairman of BIRD’s Board of Governors said: “We can be proud of the diversity of projects presented to the Board and the joint selection process with our Israeli counterparts. As it approaches its 40th anniversary, the BIRD Foundation continues to be a valuable source of support for American and Israeli companies, for their common innovation and commercialization goals.”
Mr. Avi Hasson, Chairman of the Israel Innovation Authority and co-Chairman of BIRD’s Board of Governors said: “The Israel Innovation Authority’s operations in the U.S. and in particular the BIRD Foundation reinforce the innovation output and economic value that is consistently generated by helping Israeli and American companies to increase their competitiveness and accelerate commercial success in global markets.”

Dr. Eitan Yudilevich, Executive Director of the BIRD Foundation, said: “We conclude another year of fruitful collaboration between U.S. and Israeli companies supported by the BIRD Foundation. We recognize in the newly selected projects the potential for business and social impact and wish the companies success in their R&D partnerships and their future commercialization efforts.”

The deadline for submission of Executive Summaries for the next BIRD cycle is March 3, 2017. Approval of projects will take place in June 2017.

About the BIRD Foundation

The BIRD (Binational Industrial Research and Development) Foundation works to encourage and facilitate cooperation between U.S. and Israeli companies in a wide range of technology sectors and offers funding to selected projects. BIRD has approved over 900 projects over its 39 year history.

The BIRD Foundation supports projects without receiving any equity or intellectual property rights in the participating companies or in the projects, themselves. BIRD funding is repaid as royalties from sales of products that were commercialized as a result of BIRD support. The Foundation provides funding of up to 50% of a project’s budget, beginning with R&D and ending with the initial stages of sales and marketing. The Foundation shares the risk and does not require repayment if the project fails to reach the sales stage.