In these challenging times of uncertainties and concerns, we at the BIRD Foundation are doing everything possible to continue our activities with minimum disruption. The June 2020 cycle is continuing as planned, the BIRD Energy 2020 Call for Proposals was just published and we are working on the BIRD HLS 2020 Call for Proposals.
The U.S.- Israel Energy Center awardees (congratulations to them!) are proceeding towards signing contracts and launching their consortia R&D activities.
In Israel and in the U.S., government agencies, as well as the private sector, are joining forces to provide solutions to address the COVID-19 pandemic as rapidly as possible. This is critical as countries struggle to cope with a crisis, the sheer scale of which has yet to be determined. In this context, our first goal is to support U.S. and Israeli companies so that they can continue their cooperation efforts, as well as facilitate new partnerships, which are happening despite the hurdles. A second goal is to provide much needed funding to innovative companies, many of whom are struggling to raise capital and continue their operations.
As part of our contribution, we have been busy discussing new initiatives related to the coronavirus crisis. The first, an Emergency Program for ongoing BIRD projects, was swiftly approved by BIRD’s Board of Governors and launched on March 23, 2020 (See Call for Proposals). Another initiative, still in discussion, focuses on U.S.-Israel partnerships that can contribute to the public health emergency generated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
From relatively simple ideas such as transforming a handheld respirator to operate automatically using a robotic arm, to novel cell therapy products for treating high-risk coronavirus patients under a compassionate use program, the vibrant Israeli technology ecosystem has rapidly shifted its attention to adapting and developing solutions for the coronavirus outbreak. Many of these companies will be seeking cooperation with U.S. counterparts to expand the potential use of their offerings. It is not only a matter of business potential – it means leveraging the close U.S.-Israel relationship for the common cause of defeating the COVID-19 pandemic which is threatening the wellbeing of Americans, Israelis and citizens around the world.
Eitan Yudilevich, Ph.D.