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Unique US/Israel
Conference Set For June 17

Jim Prevor’s Perishable Pundit, May 13, 2008

There is a group of US-Israeli international foundations, colloquially referred to as the “three sisters,” holding an important seminar in Washington, DC on June 17, 2008.

The “sisters” consist of the following organizations:

United States — Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund (BARD)

BARD is a competitive funding program for mutually beneficial, mission-oriented, strategic and applied research of agricultural problems, jointly conducted by American and Israeli scientists. Most BARD projects focus on increasing agricultural productivity, particularly in hot and dry climates, and emphasize plant and animal health, food quality and safety, and environmental issues. BARD also supports international workshops and postdoctoral fellowships.

United States — Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF)

The BSF supports cooperative research projects of mutual interest to the United States and Israel, concerned with science and technology for peaceful purposes. Basic and applied research projects are considered. The focus here, though, is on basic fundamental research in various scientific disciplines.

Israel — U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation (BIRD)

The BIRD Foundation’s mission is to stimulate, promote and support industrial R&D of mutual benefit to the U.S. and Israel. Practically, this means the foundation works combine Israeli high-tech startups with large US companies that can help market and sell these products.

The conference in Washington is described this way:

From Science to Industry:
Successes and Challenges
of the U.S. — Israel Bi-national Model

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

8:00 am — 2:00 pm

The National Academy of Sciences Building

2100 C St. NW Washington, D.C. 20037

A unique opportunity to hear leaders in government, science and industry from the United States and Israel discuss the challenges and successes of bringing innovations from the lab to the marketplace.

The seminar will explore the path of new ideas, highlighting the U.S. — Israel binational model and its future impact.

The Program is intriguing and offers some marquee names.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

8:00- 9:00 AMRegistration and Breakfast
9:00- 9:05 AMWelcome by The National Academies
9:05- 9:25 AMGreetings: The Hon. John D. Negroponte, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State
The Hon. Sallai Meridor, Israeli Ambassador to the U.S.
9:25- 9:55 AM“From Basic Research to Clinical Therapy:
The Promise of the Ribonuclease P Enzyme” Prof. Sidney Altman, Yale University,
Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, 1989
9:55- 10:25 AM“Combating Oil Dependency and Climate Change Through Technology, Leadership and Action”
Dr. Sass Somekh, Founder, Musea Ventures
10:25- 10:35 AM“International Science and Technology Cooperation”
Dr. Eli Opper, Chief Scientist,
Israel Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor
10:35-10:55 AMCoffee Break
10:55- 11:40 AMPanel: “The U.S. — Israel Binational Foundations: A Proven Model with a View to the Future” Moderator: Mr. Ron Dermer, Minister for Economic Affairs, Embassy of Israel
Dr. Edo Chalutz, Executive Director, BARD
Dr. Yair Rotstein, Executive Director, BSF
Dr. Eitan Yudilevich, Executive Director, BIRD
11:40- 12:10 PM“Discovery with Delivery — Effective Partnerships for Developing and Commercializing Food Systems Technologies”
Prof. Victor Lechtenberg, Vice Provost for Engagement, Purdue University
12:10- 12:40 PM“The Roots of the Israeli Venture Capital Industry”
Dr. Ed Mlavsky, Chairman & Founding Partner, Gemini Israel Funds
12:40- 1:00 PMAudience Q & A
1:00- 2:00 PMAdjournment and Lunch

This bi-national model is worthy of ten seminars itself. What better way to encourage strong relations between nations than to engage collaboratively on research to build a brighter future? These organizations fund important research based on addressing issues of mutual concern and doing so utilizing the respective competencies of both nations.

The conference will address vital issues, such as the transition from basic research to clinical therapies, how technology can combat oil dependency and deal with climate change, and the role of partnerships in discovering and commercializing food systems technologies. The reason a little country such as Israel has been able to foster such a vibrant high tech and venture capital infrastructure also makes this one-day seminar an important one, likely to attract influential and important attendees.

The produce industry has a special reason to be focused on this conference. The Executive Director of BARD is a gentleman by the name of Edo Chalutz, Ph.D., a noted scientist who has done a great deal of work related to ethylene, including co-editing a book entitled, Ethylene: Biochemical, Physiological and Applied Aspects (Advances in Agricultural Biotechnology), with Yoram Fuchs.

Dr. Chalutz was for many years a scientist in the Department of Postharvest Science of Fresh Produce at Israel’s Volcani Center. This gives him deep awareness of Israeli capabilities in agricultural research — especially as they relate to fresh produce.

These insights combine with his position at BARD to make his decision to join the Board of Directors of the Center for Produce Safety quite consequential. It opens up the door to collaborative US/Israeli research on food safety issues related to fresh produce.

Since Israel has a large industry exporting fresh produce, especially to Europe, the US and Israel share a mutuality of concern on these matters.

Israel has a strong reputation for the quality and innovativeness of its agricultural research, especially its research into arid and low-water-use agriculture — an important area if the world is to meet the growing need for food.

If Dr. Chalutz can use his position as both executive director of BARD and a board member of the Center for Produce Safety to serve as a bridge between Israeli agricultural technology and the interests and research needs of the Center for Produce Safety, we can anticipate a highly productive bi-national cooperation, serving the interests of both nations as we work together to advance food safety research.

This seminar, in essence, is about the dilemma of how to successfully bring innovations from the lab to market, or to broad use. In a nutshell, this is one of the most important tasks of the Center for Produce Safety.

Supporting this important and interesting seminar is not a bad way to start some cooperation.

You can RSVP for the program, which is available without charge, here.

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