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During its meeting on June 23, 2020, held via video conference, the Board of Governors of the Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation approved $8 million in funding for ten 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 $20 million.
The BIRD Foundation promotes collaborations 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) of the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the Israel Innovation Authority.
The ten projects approved by the Board of Governors are in addition to the 1000 projects which the BIRD Foundation has approved for funding during its 43-year history. To date, BIRD's total investment in joint projects is over $350 million, helping to generate direct and indirect sales of more than $10 billion.
The projects approved include:
- Aeronautics Defense Systems (Yavne, Israel) and PreVision (Edgewood, NM) to develop a Wide Area Motion Imagery (WAMI) sensor with an automated interface to an Electro-optics payload on a UAS platform.
- AEYE Health (Tel Aviv, Israel) and University of Massachusetts Medical School (Worcester, MA) to develop a diagnostic screening system for retinal imaging.
- Datumate (Yokne'am Illit, Israel) and Heavy Construction Systems Specialists (Sugar Land, TX) to develop a construction site management collaboration framework.
- Firedome (Tel Aviv, Israel) and Olibra (Cresskill, NJ) to transform traditional consumer electronics devices into connected cybersecurity guardians of the home.
- Genoox (Tel Aviv, Israel) and ASPiRA Labs, a Vermillion Company (Austin, TX) to develop AGTT: an AI-based, dynamic, and affordable genetics testing technology transfer.
- Redler Technologies (Netanya, Israel) and Martin Technologies (Hudson, MI) to develop an advanced automotive electronic power distribution module.
- Senso Medical Labs (Nazareth, Israel) and Haystack Diagnostics (Brookline, MA) to develop a multi-electrode device to advance electrodiagnostic medicine.
- Serenus.AI (Tel Aviv, Israel) and HealthTrio (Denver, CO) to develop an AI-based platform to assist medical professionals and insurance companies in making better medical decisions.
- Vaya Vision (Or Yehuda, Israel) and Trimble (Sunnyvale, CA) to develop a perception-based autonomous-driving system for vehicles and heavy machinery in the agriculture, construction, and mining markets.
- XRHealth (Tel Aviv, Israel) and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (Boston, MA) to develop a perioperative VR platform designed to distract patients from pain while undergoing medical procedures.
Dr. Walter Copan, U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology, Director of NIST and co-Chairman of BIRD's Board of Governors said: "The BIRD Foundation continues to demonstrate its unique ability to attract innovative U.S. and Israeli companies to work jointly, strengthening the ties between our two countries and benefiting our economies. These approved projects, which advance AI, biomedical health, autonomy, and cybersecurity, exemplify the continued innovation leadership of the U.S. and Israeli private sectors in driving new industries and revolutionizing existing ones."
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 U.S. is Israel's major partner for innovation. We are proud that our collaboration with the BIRD Foundation has seen such spectacular successes over the decades, which resulted in groundbreaking technological innovations offered by both Israeli and U.S. recipients of the grant. We wish much success to the winning teams and companies and look forward to the amazing changes they will make for the benefit of the population worldwide.
"We are also calling on additional companies to submit their innovations for the Fund's programs and be instrumental in finding the solution that will provide cutting edge solutions to the global challenges we are all facing."
Dr. Eitan Yudilevich, Executive Director of the BIRD Foundation, said: "It is outstanding to see how companies and institutions from the U.S. and Israel demonstrate agility and creativity to pursue their partnerships in these challenging times. We at the BIRD Foundation are proud to be able to support these innovations selected by BIRD's Board of Governors from a high quality group of candidate projects, in a very competitive process."
The deadline for submission of Executive Summaries for the next BIRD cycle is September 1, 2020. Approval of projects will take place during December 2020.