BIRD Newsletter VIII


Dear friends and colleagues,

Enclosed is the eighth edition of the BIRD newsletter. As always, we welcome and encourage
your comments and suggestions, and hope you find the newsletter informative and useful.

The Editor



Director’s Perspective    


Call For Proposals

BIRD News & Updates

About BIRD               


BIRD Upcoming Events

Contact Us

Director's Perspective                                                                                                        

Eitan Yudilevich, Executive Director

BIRD and Contribution to Society


One of the main characteristics which differentiate BIRD from other Foundations is its balanced approach in dealing with innovation and financial goals, with technology development and commercialization goals. Projects submitted to BIRD tend to be at a relatively risky stage of their technological development; In spite of that, companies are expected to present well structured commercialization plans in their BIRD proposal, plans which then receive significant attention from the reviewers.


Recently, encouraged by a member of our Board of Governors, we decided to include the issue of Social Contribution in the BIRD proposal template. Specifically, Section G of a BIRD Proposal is now entitled: “Cooperation, Economic and Social Benefits”.


Many BIRD projects can easily be labeled as having “social benefits”. For example, in most cases it is easy to identify the social contribution of a project in the Life Sciences sector. It may be somewhat harder to identify specific social contributions in other cases, but it is always a worthwhile “exercise”.


Recently, following an agreement between the U.S. Department of Energy and the Israel Ministry of National Infrastructures, BIRD has established a new track to fund grants in the sector of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, called “BIRD Energy”. Although just started, we can already report that many proposals were submitted for the first round and the first four awards will be announced at the beginning of November.


“BIRD Energy” is and will be a catalyst for U.S.-Israeli cooperation in the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency sector. In this sector business goals and social contribution are closely coupled, since – as Dr. Steven Chu, U.S. Secretary of Energy emphasizes – global future economic prosperity is intimately tied to the efficient and sustainable use of energy.


BIRD’s primary mission has not changed and will not change: supporting joint U.S.-Israeli R&D with promising commercial prospects. At the same time, we encourage companies submitting projects not to overlook describing the social contribution of their projects. It is good for business, for sure.


Eitan Yudilevich, Ph.D.
Executive Director
BIRD Foundation and TRIDE Fund




BIRD News & Updates                                                                                                     

This section features highlights of BIRD organized events, hosted delegations and other relevant developments concerning the BIRD sphere

“Digital Healthcare – Transforming the Management of Healthcare Information”          Seminar Supported by BIRD Foundation                                                                            

The United States Healthcare industry is on the verge of change with the approval of the economic stimulus package passed by the U.S. Congress. The stimulus package, formally known as the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” of 2009, allocates more than $19 billion to fund the introduction of electronic health records in every physician’s office in America. As much as $44,000 is offered as an incentive to a physician for investing in a qualified Electronic Health Records (EHR) system that has the functionality to communicate with the Health Information Exchange (HIE).


Digital Healthcare – Transforming the Management of Healthcare Information Systems”, a full day seminar, was organized by the Government of Israel Economic Mission in Chicago, supported by the American Israel Chamber of Commerce - Chicago and the BIRD Foundation. The seminar, held on April 3rd, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois, hosted Israeli Healthcare IT companies which came to participate at HIMMS 2009, the leading Healthcare Information and Management Systems conference.


The seminar’s program included speeches and panels discussing how the new federal initiatives will affect the digitization of healthcare management. Ivan Handler, the CIO of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, delivered a keynote on a state’s perspective towards healthcare digitization. The program also included presentations of Israeli companies ARX, DbMotion, EWave, ExactCost and The Sephira Group (More details on these companies can be found below). In addition, the Government of Israel Economic Mission in Chicago arranged over 45 meetings for the attending Israeli companies with local hospitals and other healthcare IT stakeholders. 


As stated above, as much as $44,000 is offered as an incentive to a doctor for investing in a qualified EHR system. To access the full $44,000, which is paid through Medicare in stages (four annual installments starting in 2011), the EHR system has to be qualified and used in a meaningful way starting in 2010. Those who choose not to make the transition to an Electronic Health Record system will be penalized beginning 2015 and continuing through 2018. These penalties will be assessed through a reduction in their Medicare claims reimbursement on services billed.


Despite the clear benefits of adopting an EHR system, a study published in the March 25th, 2009 online edition of the New England Journal of Medicine has concluded that the biggest obstacle to adopting such systems are costs (which can run as high as $20 million to $100 million per hospital) and the reluctance of doctors and nurses to change their “old ways”. Lack of universal standards is another reason cited by many hospitals for not instituting these systems. It is also worth mentioning that one of the main barriers for patients and physicians to fully benefit from the medical record systems is the inability to synchronize healthcare information from several providers. Currently, the concept of a national centralized server model of healthcare data in the United States has been poorly received. Issues of privacy and security in such a model have been of concern.  


Regardless of the challenges in adopting the use of Electronic Health Records in the United States, I have already started to experience the change on my last visit to my primary physician, who is a solo practitioner. Although my medical information was still recorded by hand, in prescribing my medicine, my physician used a small device, provided to him free of charge by Allscripts. The prescription was sent directly to my pharmacy and within less than an hour, I received a voicemail on my cell phone telling me that my prescription is ready for pick up.

The transformation from paper to electronic records brings forth changes in how providers and patients think, and with that change - a bundle of new business opportunities.


Limor Nakar-Vincent

East Coast and Midwest Representative

BIRD Foundation

Further information on the Israeli companies presenting at the Seminar is listed below:


·         ARX (Algorithmic Research), a global provider of cost-efficient digital signature solutions (

·         DbMotion, a premier provider of healthcare information integration software that facilitates interoperability and health information exchange for health information networks and integrated healthcare delivery systems (

·         EWave, a system integrator and provider of healthcare software solutions. (

·         ExactCost, an Application Service Provider (ASP) dedicated to improving healthcare performance and the quality of care (

·         The Sephira Group, an innovator in electronic claims transmission, offering a variety of solutions to reduce management and administrative costs (



Center for Water Technologies Established in Atlanta                                                     


Cleantech continues to be a major focus in the Southeast Region:  The Center for Water Technologies (CFWT) has been established in Atlanta as a U.S. “landing pad” for Israeli water technology companies focusing on industrial and municipal wastewater and potable water.


In cooperation with the American-Israel Chamber of Commerce - SE Region, the Center will offer services to help Israeli companies validate potential operation in U.S. markets, serve as a reference point for potential U.S. partners and customers, help create demonstration sites, and provide other support to ensure a successful launch into U.S. markets.


CFWT and AICC will also partner to host a delegation of Israeli water technology companies (who will be in the United States for the October WEFTEC conference) for a matchmaker session in Atlanta.




Dr. Eitan Yudilevich Discusses BIRD with MIT Students' Delegation

Dr. Eitan Yudilevich,
Executive Director of BIRD,
met with a delegation of 30 selected
MIT students visiting Israel as part of the MIT International Science
and Technology Initiatives (MISTI)
program led by David Dolev.   



MIT students visiting Israel


The students are currently in Israel for a three month internship in a variety of leading companies and universities. The delegation is also engaged in meetings with senior members of the Israeli business community. Through the internship and the leadership meetings, the MISTI program aims to strengthen the ties between Israel and the MIT students, who are likely to take on leading roles in the U.S. hi-tech market in the future.





BIO 2009 U.S.-Israeli Matchmaker Event, May 2009                                                   

The Israeli delegation to the International BIO Convention, hosted in Atlanta in May 2009, was treated to warm Southern hospitality by the American-Israel Chamber of Commerce - SE Region, BIRD and their economic development and corporate partners.  Nineteen Biotech and Pharma companies from Israel participated in a kickoff luncheon and gave introductory presentations to an audience of over 100, which included Regional and National industry leaders in a program organized by the AICC Medical Committee.  For a view of the participating Israeli companies, please click HERE


11th Professional Seminar Focuses on Effects of Economic and Political                         Changes on U.S. - Israel Business                                                                                                                 

The 11th Annual Professional Seminar was held on August 27th in Atlanta, GA. The half-day educational event focused on the effects of recent economic and political changes on U.S.-Israel Business.
The seminar featured a presentation by Israel-based medical device company Spirocor, a case study presentation of the 2009 Eagle Star "Deal of the Year" winner EMS-Starling, an Israeli CEO Roundtable, as well as former U.S. Congressman Paul McHale’s delineation of U.S. business opportunities presented by the Economic Stimulus Act, in which Israeli companies can take part.

Pennsylvania Business Mission to Israel Visits in June 2009                                        

The Pennsylvania June 2009 Business Mission to Israel, which included twenty-three participants (including Pennsylvania’s State Treasurer Rob McCord) spent seven days traveling the country, meeting with high-ranking business leaders and government officials. Highlights of the trip included a meeting focusing on renewable energy policy at the
Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya, which included a presentation by BIRD Foundation’s Executive Director, Dr. Eitan Yudilevich; a tour of Teva’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Jerusalem; a meeting in the offices of the brand new Jerusalem BioPark, hosted by Dr. Shirley Kutner, Executive Director of BioJerusalem; a presentation of Better Place, Israel’s electric car company, by one if its lead investors, Idan Ofer; a visit to Arrow Ecology’s waste treatment plant in Tel Aviv and a demonstration of ReWalk, a new medical technology presently under trial at Moss Rehabilitation Center that enables paraplegics to walk.


The mission participants also toured some of Israel’s tourist attractions: the Kotel, the Old City of Jerusalem, Masada, and the Dead Sea. Mr. Yair Shiran, Israel’s Economic Minister to North America provided expert trip planning and joined the business mission throughout the week.


The mission enabled joint discussions and relationship-forming and we are hopeful these will lead to enhanced business activities between the Central Atlantic Region and the State of Israel.


BIRD Upcoming Events                                                                                               

Smart Grid Panel - October 15th, 2009, Palo Alto, CA                                                    

A Panel dealing with Smart Grid, jointly organized by the BIRD Foundation and the Government of Israel Economic Mission to the West Coast will be held on October 15th, 2009 in Palo Alto, California. This one-of-a-kind event will provide a unique opportunity to hear and network with leading U.S.and Israeli companies in the area of Smart Grid.



Panelists include: Harish Belur, Director, Product Management, Smart Grid, Cisco; Joe Ball, Director, Business Development, Itron; Safi Oranski, VP, Business Development, Arcadian Networks; Jeff Lund, VP, Business Development, Echelon; Gil Bar-Noy, VP, Business Development, Alvarion.

For further information, please contact Michal Miasnik, BIRD’s West Coast Representative



Proposal Deadlines                                                                                                            

The BIRD Foundation’s Board of Governors (BOG) is held twice a year: June and December, in the U.S. & Israel, respectively.  BIRD's upcoming BOG is scheduled for December 1st, 2009 in Jerusalem.


The deadlines for this CYCLE are:


Monday, September 14, 2009 – Executive Summary of the Proposal (PASSED)

Friday, October 16, 2009 – Final Proposal


Please feel free to contact us in order to discuss your proposal, prior to submission of an Executive Summary.

For contact details, please click HERE


Newsletter VII                                                                                                                

Newsletter VI                                                                                                                

Newsletter V                                                                                                                

Newsletter IV                                                                                                               

Newsletter III                                                                                                              

Newsletter II                                                                                                                

Newsletter I                                                                                                                  


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