BIRD – Israel: U.S. Binational Industrial R&D Foundation to invest $8.3 million in 11 new projects

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During its meeting on December 16, 2014, held in Jerusalem, Israel, the Board of Governors of the Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation, approved $8.3 million in funding for eleven 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 $23 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 National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and by the Chief Scientist’s Office of the Israeli Ministry of Economy.

The eleven projects approved by the Board of Governors are in addition to the 900 projects which the BIRD Foundation has approved for funding during its 37 year history. To date, BIRD’s total investment in joint projects has been over $300 million, helping to generate direct and indirect sales of more than $10 billion.

The projects approved include:

  • BrainsGate (Caesarea, Israel) and Formlabs (Somerville, MA): 3D printed patient-specific implantation guides for injectable stroke treatment neurostimulators.
  • Danziger Innovations (Mishmar HaShiv’a, Israel) and Precision BioSciences (Durham, NC): Long shelf life petunia varieties by site specific genomic deletion.
  • FSV6 (Herzliya, Israel) and Abbott Medical Optics (Santa Ana, CA): Shape change accommodating intra ocular lens.
  • Hy-Laboratories (Rehovot, Israel) and GENEWIZ (South Plainfield, NJ): Diagnostic panels for the determination of the microbiome in obesity and diabetes.
  • IOSight (Tel Aviv, Israel) and American Water Works Company (Voorhees, NJ): Smart water management system.
  • MobileOCT (Tel Aviv, Israel) and Dimagi (Cambridge, MA): Advanced cervical cancer analysis in remote areas.
  • Orgenesis (Haifa, Israel) and Pall Corporation (Washington, NY): Autologous insulin producing cells for the treatment of diabetes.
  • SCD (Misgav, Israel) and Quantum Imaging (Colorado Springs, CO): Uncooled VGA SWIR camera.
  • Softwheel (Tel Aviv, Israel) and Crawford Composites (Denver, NC): Wheel for safety and freedom of the wheelchair bound.
  • ThetaRay (Hod HaSharon, Israel) and GE Global Research (Niskayuna, NY): Anomaly detection for advanced manufacturing.
  • Timocco (Tel Aviv, Israel) and Rhode Island Hospital (Providence, RI): Web/mobile therapeutic game platform for child physiotherapy.

Dr. Eitan Yudilevich, Executive Director of the BIRD Foundation, said: “We conclude another very successful year of joint U.S.-Israel innovation nurtured by the BIRD Foundation. In 2014, BIRD’s Board of Governors approved a total of 22 projects involving companies of diverse sizes and sectors with identified potential for both significant revenue and social contribution.”

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: “The 11 winning projects include several U.S.-Israel collaborations in healthcare disciplines such as 3D printing for the treatment of strokes, lenses to restore natural vision, diagnostics for complications from obesity and diabetes and efficient diagnosis of cervical cancer in remote areas. Also, among the projects are a smart management water system and a cyber system for advanced manufacturing. All the selected projects implement state-of-the-art technologies and are of relatively high risk, which BIRD helps mitigate in order to achieve successful commercialization.”

Mr. Avi Hasson, Chief Scientist at the Israel Ministry of Economy and co-Chairman of BIRD’s Board of Governors said: “The number of applications submitted to the BIRD Foundation has been growing steadily and remarkably in the last years. The steady demand by the U.S. and Israeli companies attest to the vitality of the Foundation and the central role of the industrial partnerships in the U.S-Israel relationship.”

The deadline for submission of Executive Summaries for the next BIRD cycle is on March 10, 2015. Approval of projects will take place in June 2015.

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 37 year history. To date, BIRD’s total investment in these projects has been over $300 million and has received approximately $100 million in repayments. BIRD funded projects have generated direct and indirect sales of approximately $10 billion.

The BIRD Foundation provides support of up to 50% of a project’s budget, or up to $1 million, beginning with R&D and ending with the initial stages of sales and marketing. The Foundation supports projects without receiving any rights in the participating companies or in the project itself. The Foundation shares the risk and requires the investment to be repaid only if the project reaches the sales stage.

Find this article in Israël Science Info n° 16

Israël Science Info