The U.S.-Israel Science and Technology Foundation


In March 1993, President Clinton and the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, announced their intention to create the U.S.-Israel Science and Technology Commission, an agreement consummated in January 1994. Its goal was to promote U.S.-Israeli cooperative science and technology activities that could benefit the two nations' civilian high technology commercial sectors, create jobs and foster economic growth. Funded with $15 million from each government over three years, the money targeted projects involving technology innovation, reduction of regulatory and other barriers to binational cooperation, and scientific exchange leading to cooperative commercial activities.

In September 1995, the Commission established the U.S.-Israel Science & Technology Foundation to administer all joint venture activities, manage and award financial assistance, and serve as the administrative arm for Commission funds.

The USISTF mandate is to support programs that:

  • Promote the advancement of science and technology for the benefit of the general public of the United States and Israel.
  • Encourage scientific exchanges between institutions in the U.S. and Israel.
  • Stimulate mutually beneficial scientific and technical collaboration.
  • Reduce barriers to bi-national cooperation on scientific and technical matters.
  • Foster the growth of high technology industries in the U.S. and Israel.
  • Promote the free flow of commerce and trade between the U.S. and Israel.
In accordance with the directives of the US-Israel Science and Technology Commission, the Foundation currently has several strategic areas of focus including: Information Technology, Biotechnology, Security Technology, Nanotechnology and Harmonization of standards/regulations.

Projects and Activities:

(1) Biotechnology :

The goals of this area are to:

  • Foster cooperation between the US Biotechnology industry and the emerging Israel Biotechnology industry, through projects such as technology transfer, strategic alliances, executive exchanges, and seminars.

Examples of projects supported by the Foundation in the Biotechnology area:

Biologics Facility Feasibility Study

A study to determine the need for and viability of a protein contract development and manufacturing facility in Israel, including the extent to which such a facility might benefit the US biotech industry. The study includes primary research of the US and Israel markets for biologics development and manufacturing, as well as a feasibility design of a pilot plant.

(2) Information Technology (IT)

The goals of this area are to:

  • Encourage competition, reduce prices, increase access and improve service.
  • Promote dialogue among government, industry and academia to enhance the exchange of information on successful strategies, to encourage collaborative R&D, and to develop a competitive IT industry.

Examples of projects in the IT area the Foundation supported:

IT Fellowship Program

A bilateral fellowship that matches mid to senior level IT professionals for mentoring relationships with seasoned industry executives at leading IT companies in the United States and Israel. Fellowship grants will be awarded on a competitive basis to individual U.S. and Israeli firms to help defray the costs of hosting the visiting fellows. The Fellowship program is intended to facilitate improved cross-cultural understanding, and to provide managers with practical training in American and Israeli methods of innovation and management.

IT Survival Strategies Seminar

This workshop for American and Israeli information technology (IT) companies and managers will examine the business realities of today’s fast-changing IT marketplace, and will seek to identify why some companies have failed while others have succeeded. The seminar will explore the impact of the current IT global climate on U.S.-Israeli joint ventures in the IT arena, and will offer case studies on lessons learned from past successes and failures.

(3) Harmonization of Standards

The goals of this area are to:

  • Harmonize the regulatory environment in areas under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and other agencies, in order to develop Israel’s capacity to conform with FDA and EPA regulations, as well as with other US standards.
  • Facilitate a uniform regulatory environment offering equal treatment to companies in both countries, including recognition of patent and other intellectual property rights in both countries.

Examples of projects supported by the Foundation in Harmonization:

Good Laboratory Practices (GLP) Certification

This program supports laboratory inspection training methods of Israeli inspectors, with the aim of reaching a Memorandum of Agreement between EPA and ISRAC (Israel Laboratory Accreditation Authority) that would recognize laboratory tests conducted by Israeli labs and research facilities.

Good Clinical Practices (GCP) and Good Management Practices (GMP) Training

This program, supported since 1996, arranges meetings among officials of the FDA and Israel’s Ministry of Health, as well as other participants in the health industry, to address regulatory issues of mutual interest and concern. Additionally, the program sponsors seminars and educational activities to assure that work conducted by medical clinics in Israel will comply with FDA standards. The Foundation will be sponsoring a series of GCP and GMP seminars in Israel.

(4) New Science and Technology Initiatives

The goals of this area are to:

  • Explore and initiate bi-lateral collaboration on other science and technology matters that may benefit the economies and citizens of the U.S. and Israel.

Examples of projects supported by the Foundation in this area include:

The Role of Science and Technology in Global Security

This high-level conference will convene industry leaders, policy makers, and think tank specialists to examine the role of Science and Technology in the battle against terrorism, and to explore possible security collaboration between the US and Israel.

(5) Joint Venture Technology Commercialization

[Note: The Foundation is no longer funding new initiatives in this program area]

  • From 1995-2001, the USISTF supported a number of Technology Commercialization projects as Joint Ventures between teams of US and Israeli companies.
  • Solar/Gas Hybrid (completed January, 2002)

U.S. Companies: The Boeing Company

Israeli Companies: Ormat Industries, Rotem Industries, The Weizmann Institute of Science

Unlike conventional central receiver systems, this innovative system is modular in nature and has a unique scaling feature. Four innovations that have stemmed from this project are: a) a sunlight ‘beam down’ from a tower reflector to produce large scale high solar concentrations on the ground; b) a solar receiver capable of supplying high-temperature , high-pressure air directly to a gas turbine; c) high-precision optics and large size surfaces with a reflectivity of over 95% and d) compact phase-change thermal storage used to extend plant operations on solar supplied energy after daylight hours or during inclement weather.

Alternatives to Methyl Bromide Fumigation

U.S. Companies: GrainPro, Oklahoma State University (OSU)
Israeli Companies: Agricultural Research Organization (ARO),Haogenplast Ltd

This project is developing environmentally-friendly methods for eliminating insects and other contaminants in stored agricultural commodities through the use of vacuum-hermetic fumigation (V-HF) technology as an alternative to the standard process of fumigation with methyl bromide. Under The Montreal Protocol of 1991, methyl bromide was defined as a chemical that contributes to depletion of the Earth’s ozone layer and is to be phased out by 2005. The use of the V-HF technology as an alternative to fumigation with methyl bromide will help reduce the use of this ozone-depleting substance.

A second phase of the project is developing methods for treating commodities during shipment and transportation, based on the V-HF technology.

Gamma Camera

U.S. Company: eV Products
Israeli Companies: Soreq Development Corporation, Isorad Ltd.,Elgems Ltd.,

This project focuses on the development of a next-generation medical imaging camera capable of targeted high-resolution imaging of specific organs. The gamma camera prototype is based on highly innovative Cadmium Zinc Telluride substrates, and features a FOV (field of view) of 18.5 x 20.1 square centimeters. The performance of the prototype solid state gamma camera, named the NUCAM3, exceeds that of state-of the-art Sodium-Iodide (Anger) cameras currently on the market in terms of image contrast and spatial resolution.

Aquaculture (completed 2000)

U.S. Companies: Martek Biosciences Corporation, University of Maryland Center of Marine Biotechnology (COMB)
Israeli Companies: Ardag Ltd., Kibbutz Ma’agan Michael

An interdisciplinary project to enhance the management and control of reproduction, rearing, and crossbreeding of gametes for use by the aquaculture industry. Development efforts focused on larval growth, nutritional use of fermentation co-products and algae, and reduction of rotifer enrichment. The project sought to optimize conditions for the environmental control of fish maturation with breeding stocks of four species – seabass, mullet, grouper, and seabream. Research was also done on converting brackish water greenhouse larval rearing ecosystems to freshwater.

Salt Water Desalination (completed 1999)

U.S. Companies: Parsons Overseas Company,
Israeli Company: Israeli Desalination Engineering

An innovative desalination project designed to develop and demonstrate a commercially attractive, technically innovative method of distilling potable water from seawater. This project addressed the complete process design for a desalination unit, including the detailed design of a vertical tube evaporator with containment vessel and aluminum supporting structure, the fabrication of one vertical effect tube bundle, testing of the components, and an overall detailed design of a working facility.

T6 Ethernet Switch (terminated 2002)

U.S. Company: 3M Telecom Systems
Israeli Company: BATM Advanced Communications

The T6 Program focused on creating a high speed Ethernet switch to enable rapid communication at a lower price than currently available, over private networks with a span of up to 100km. The final product was introduced to the market during late 2001.

Biological Treatment of Organic Brominated Waste

U.S. Company: Advent Corporation
Israeli Company: Dead Sea Bromine Group, Ben Gurion University

The objective of this project is to develop a prototype of a waste treatment plant aimed to treat Tetrabromobisphenol (TBBA) waste – a highly toxic byproduct in the production of methyl bromide. This waste is insoluble at acidic pH and in water at pH levels above 7.0. The project will develop information required to complete a process design package for a self-contained on-site waste treatment plant. The project work entails assessing the chemical and physical properties of the TBBA waste, improving analytical procedures, isolating the bacteria or consortium of bacteria responsible for the degradation of the waste, and understanding the characteristics of this consortium. The anticipated outcome is a pilot plant capable of demonstrating the feasibility of this new approach to TBBA treatment through non-toxic bacterial degradation.


USISTF
1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Suite 700
Washington, DC 20004

Telephone: 202.204.3102
Fax: 202-289-7322

Ms. Ann Liebschutz
Executive Director
ann@usistf.org

Ms. Na'ama Ron
Program Manager
naama@usistf.org


Source: U.S.-Israel Science & Technology Foundation