The U.S.-Israel Science and Technolog Commission (USISTC) supports the process of globalization by ensuring that physical borders and cultural disparity do not impose barriers on commercial collaboration between the US and Israel. To do this, USISTC supports programs that promote the advancement of science and technology for the benefit of both countries, reduce barriers to bilateral cooperaiton in high technology, foster growth of industry in both countries, and build infrastructure for long-term strategic collaboration.
Established in 1993 through initiatives by President Bill Clinton, USISTC's mission is to encourage high-tech industries in both countries to engage in joint projects; foster scientific exchanges between universities and research institutions; promote development of agricultural and environmental technologies and assist in the adaptation of military technology to civilian production.
In 1993, the United States and Israel each committed $5 million annually for three years, for a total of $30 million. The Commission is co-chaired by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and Israel's Minister of Industry and Trade and also has a joint high-level advisory panel comprising private sector representatives from both countries, including leaders from academia and industry.
One major goal of the Commission is to facilitate private sector high-technology cooperation by working to eliminate regulatory and bureaucratic barriers in both the United States and Israel. The Commission serves as a bridge between the government agencies in both countries working to achieve harmonization of product development and testing standards. This low-cost effort has eight task forces to enable the private sectors of Israel and the U.S. to collaborate more easily. Approximately $4 million is devoted to this program from the Commission's $30 million budget.
In 1995, the USISTC established the U.S.-Israel Science and Technology Foundation (USISTF) to administer and implement programs and disburse grants funded throught he USISTC. The Foundation is funded annually as part of the budget of the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
The funding dispersed by the USISTF covers a broad range of fields and disciplines but are focused on the following: information technology; biotechnology; harmonization of regulations and standards; defense commercialization; enviornmental technology; and, telemedicine and medical devices.
The Commission is helping U.S. and Israeli government agencies (especially the FDA and the Ministry of Health) to identify differences in regulations and standards. Israeli government ministries and private companies are encouraged to adopt the more rigorous U.S. standards. To reach this goal, the two governments have conducted several training seminars in Israel for health authorities and pharmaceutical companies. As Israelis are trained on FDA standards and practices, the FDA will be able to approve inspections of laboratories, production plants and clinical trials done by Israel's Ministry of Health. Training workshops have already been held on Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) in medical devices, Good Clinical Practices (GCP), and Good Lab Practices (GLP). These programs, designed to ensure that future drug and medical device testing meets FDA approval, were attended by Americans, Jordanians, Israelis, and Palestinians, and conducted by FDA employees.
In February 2012, the USISTC presented the U.S.-Israel Innovation Index (USI3) at the U.S. Department of State to discuss the ways that the USI3 can be used as a model to measure, track, evaluate and benchmark innovation relationships between other countries. The USI3 is a unique publication which measures and tracks the U.S. innovation relationship with Israel, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, Chile, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore and South Korea. The USI3's distinction from other indexes is that it tracks and benchmarks relationships rather than benchmarking and scoring countries against one another. The USI3 utilizes qualitative and quantitative indicators that explore the human capital, government, private sector and R&D relationships of the United States.
Ann Liebschutz, USISTF Executive Director said, "when USISTF produced the USI3, our goal was not only to help industry and policy makers in the U.S. and Israel understand the strengths and opportunities in the U.S.-Israel innovation relationship, but also to create a model for evaluating global innovation relationships."