The BIRD (Binational Industrial Research and Development) Foundation promotes and facilitates collaboration between U.S. and Israeli companies in a wide range of technology sectors for the purpose of joint product development. It provides conditional grants of up to 50% of a project’s budget to selected projects.
In addition to providing conditional grants, the Foundation assists by working with companies to identify potential strategic partners and facilitate introductions.
The BIRD Foundation (www.birdf.com) was established by the U.S. and Israeli governments in 1977 to generate mutually beneficial cooperation between the private sectors of the U.S. and Israeli high tech industries, including start-ups and established organizations. BIRD provides both matchmaking services between U.S. and Israeli companies, as well as funding covering up to 50 percent of project development and product commercialization costs.
The BIRD Foundation supports projects without receiving any equity or intellectual property rights in the participating companies or in the project itself. BIRD funding is repaid as royalties from sales of technology products that were commercialized as a result of BIRD support. The Foundation provides support of up to 50% of a project’s budget, beginning with R&D and ending with the initial stages of sales and marketing. The Foundation shares the risk and does not require repayment if the project fails to reach the sales stage.
The BIRD Foundation Board of Governors meets twice a year to select projects for approval. Projects submitted to the BIRD Foundation are reviewed by evaluators appointed by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and by the Israel Innovation Authority (formerly, the Office of the Chief Scientist – OCS – at the Ministry of Economy and Industry).
The Foundation manages the BIRD Energy Program focused on U.S.- Israel R&D joint projects relating to renewable energy and energy efficiency. This program is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Israel Ministry of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources jointly with the Israel Innovation Authority.
In 2016, the newly established BIRD “NextGen First Responder Technologies” program was launched to promote and fund joint U.S.-Israel R&D projects in order to meet the most pressing needs of First Responders. The program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Israel Ministry of Public Security.