The BIRD Foundation in Expansion
This report summarizes another year of innovative new projects, exciting success stories from previously approved projects, numerous events and “matchmaking” efforts.
The BIRD Foundation’s main program, based on the endowment fund provided by the U.S. and Israeli governments years ago, will continue to be the core of the Foundation’s activities. It allows U.S. and Israeli entrepreneurs and companies of all sizes to achieve their cooperation goals. The business potential of a proposed project, along with its innovation and the quality of the U.S.-Israeli partnership presented in the proposal, are the main criteria used by the Board of Governors to select awardees. Moreover, each proposal includes a section on economic and social benefits, inviting the proposing companies to emphasize the broader contribution and impact of their project.
The Foundation is rapidly approaching 1000 approved projects since inception. A comprehensive data base of funded projects can be found on: http://projectsdb.birdf.com
Starting in 2009, the BIRD Foundation adopted a strategy of establishing programs dedicated to specific sectors. The first such program, BIRD Energy, celebrated its 10th cycle in 2018. BIRD Energy is the implementation of a cooperation agreement between the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Israel Ministry of Energy (MOE), jointly with the Israel Innovation Authority (IIA). BIRD Energy funds projects on renewable energy and energy efficiency. In 2018, natural gas and other associated technologies were added to the list of topics covered under BIRD Energy. A performance study on BIRD Energy showed that following these awards, the participating companies (both from the U.S. and Israel) have raised close to $400M in funding.
As a result of the success of BIRD Energy, the U.S. and Israel have decided to expand their energy cooperation, establishing the U.S.-Israel Energy Center. The DOE, MOE and IIA announced recently that the BIRD Foundation was selected to manage this new, exciting program, which will fund consortia of U.S. and Israeli companies and/or research institutions to jointly perform research and development, significantly accelerating deployment of technologies and leading to technology transfer from academia to industry.
In 2016, a program dedicated to innovative technologies for First Responders was launched. BIRD First Responders was established under an agreement between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security – Science & Technology (DHS S&T) and the Israel Ministry of Public Security (MOPS). This program was recently expanded to include additional homeland security topics. As a result, the name of the program was changed to BIRD HLS.
Although the management of several programs adds complexity to BIRD’s activities, there is a significant upside which is aligned with the Foundation’s mission of promoting and supporting joint U.S.-Israel research and development, for mutual benefit. These programs have added 75% to BIRD’s funding capability (not including the new Energy Center).
We will continue to work closely with U.S. and Israeli entrepreneurs, companies and research institutions, promoting and supporting joint U.S.-Israel innovation and making sure the available opportunities are well communicated.
At the end of the day, there is nothing more rewarding than receiving the following testimonial from a young entrepreneur and BIRD grantee: “We expect this project to become a huge success, which could not have happened without the funding and support of the BIRD Foundation.”
Eitan Yudilevich, Ph.D.