BIRD is an acronym for Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development. The BIRD Foundation’s mission is to stimulate, promote and support industrial R&D of mutual benefit to the U.S. and Israel.
The BIRD Foundation was established by the U.S. and Israeli governments in 1977 to generate mutually beneficial cooperation between U.S. and Israeli companies, including start-ups and established organizations. BIRD provides both matchmaking support between U.S. and Israeli companies, as well as funding covering up to 50 percent of project development costs, up to $1M per project (and in rare cases up to $1.5M for exceptional projects). BIRD takes no equity in the companies.
BIRD’s scope extends to Agriculture, Communications, Construction Technologies, Electronics, Electro-optics, Life Sciences, Software, Homeland Security, Renewable and Alternative Energy and other technology sectors.
BIRD supports approximately 20 projects annually. The cumulative sales of products developed through BIRD projects have exceeded $10 billion.
Since its inception in 1977, BIRD has approved over 1000 projects with leading companies in the U.S., for example: ADM, American Red Cross, Applied Materials, Avaya, Bayer Pharmaceutical, Becton Dickinson, Bio-Rad Laboratories, Eastman Kodak, General Dynamics, General Electric, Guidant, IBM, J&J, KLA- Tencor, Molex, Motorola, Procter & Gamble, SanDisk, Spansion, Telcordia, Texas Instruments, Tyco and many others. See http://projectsdb.birdf.com for a complete database of BIRD projects.
You too can take advantage of the business opportunities offered by the BIRD Foundation. BIRD requests repayment on the basis of actual revenues generated, demonstrating BIRD’s commitment to risk sharing.
How does the BIRD Foundation Operate?
Any pair of companies, one Israeli and one U.S.-based, may apply jointly so long as they can demonstrate the combined capabilities and infrastructure to define, develop, manufacture, sell and support an innovative product based on industrial R&D.
The key criterion is that each corporate entity shall have the ability to carry out its part of the joint development and commercialization. Their willingness to share in the financial risk of product development as well as in the financial gain of commercialization, are also key factors in BIRD’s evaluation.
The BIRD Foundation offers conditional grants for joint development projects on a risk-sharing basis. The Foundation funds up to 50% of each company’s R&D expenses associated with the joint project, up to $1M per project. Repayments are due if commercial revenues are generated as a direct result of the project.
A Full-Scale Project is defined as one in which the total development cost to the two companies (up to the point of commercial readiness) is at least $400,000. BIRD’s cost-share is up to 50% of the total cost of such projects.
Decisions whether to approve or reject proposals for funding full-scale projects are made by BIRD’s Board of Governors. The Board of Governors convenes semiannually to act on proposals for full-scale projects.
The budget of a BIRD mini-project is limited to $400,000, which should be enough to complete the R&D phase. Therefore, the grant is a maximum of $200,000, or 50% of actual project costs, whichever is less.