On April 30th, U.S. and Israeli officials convened at the Embassy of Israel in Washington, D.C. for a festive dinner reception in honor of the US-Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund (BARD). Participants recognized the remarkable progress in bilateral agricultural R&D over the past four decades and pledged to continue expanding and deepening policy coordination and cooperation across a broad range of agriculture, food and nutrition-related topics. Over BARD's 40 years of operation, BARD has funded over 1300 agricultural joint US-Israel research projects to the tune of over $300 million, granted 250 post-doctoral fellowships and funded over 50 scientific workshops.
Benjamin Krasna, Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of Israel, said: "BARD highlights the best of the Israel-United States relationship. Its agricultural research and development initiatives benefit not just our two countries, but contribute to scientific achievements around the world. Agriculture, after all, is at the source of all our most basic needs for nutrition, clothing and so much more. Agricultural innovation and science is critical as we look to provide a better, healthier and sustainable future for all. We are happy to host BARD at the Embassy of Israel in Washington, to highlight what is possible through close cooperation in pursuit of scientific progress."
What makes the US and Israel good partners for agricultural R&D? Both the US and Israel are highly advanced in agricultural technologies, and both have outstanding research institutes dedicated to excellence. Both face similar pressing challenges in agricultural practices, and both are keen to act and solve them. How can we strengthen the ties between the American and Israeli Ag-R&D communities in the hope of great, outstanding achievement? This need to enhance our bi-national R&D ties was acknowledged by US legislators in the recent Farm Bill.
Aharon Aharon, CEO of the Israel Innovation Authority said: "Israel has a world-renowned innovation eco-system, one that supports innovation at all stages. Such an ecosystem offers several opportunities for entrepreneurs to grow a company from seed via government funding and incubator programs, venture capital funding, university technology-transfer units and many non-governmental organizations. The new global trends of big data analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence rely heavily on the ingrained strength of the Israeli high-tech industry. As a result, this presents many opportunities to be realized by ag-tech entrepreneurs. BARD's programs are an excellent mechanism to accelerate the flow of innovation from science to Ag-industry and, in so doing, enhance the return on investments."
Prof. Yoram Kapulnik, Executive Director of BARD, said, "Today both the US and Israel are facing several burning issues in agricultural practice. The road to finding solutions is a long and tedious journey. Yes, on our own we can go faster, but together we can go farther and reach new limits.
BARD's mission is to fund and promote the translation of scientific excellence to agricultural practice. Through our new "B-lever" program, we started to work with our partner at the USDA-ARS National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and the Israel Innovation Authority. We are taking BARD-funded agricultural research achievements and giving them the support, they need in order to go to market".