New foundation to commercialize research at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
LOS ANGELES, November 24, 2010 — A Los Angeles philanthropist has created an innovative foundation model that will provide up to $1.2 million to help fund and commercialize research at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer-Sheva, Israel.
Should the initial research projects, selected by committee, become successful, the proceeds and royalties will revert back to the foundation, dubbed “Project Jacob,” to underwrite additional projects.
Dariush Fakheri, who is president of the International Judea Foundation (IJF) supplying the funding, says that, “Israel’s future and its economy are dependent on continued successful innovation. We are trying to fix the dilemma of too many incredible innovations and discoveries getting stuck in a lab due to limited resources.”
Project Jacob is open to other donors who want to contribute to promising research that requires additional financial support to get it to a stage where patents can be sold.
“Project Jacob” refers to the biblical Jacob, who requested to be paid in speckled goats and sheep while working for his uncle, Laban. Jacob, one of the earliest scientists, initiated a selective breeding program yielding a large flock — and consequent prosperity.
“Project Jacob is a unique and innovative example of channeling philanthropy in support of research on the verge of commercialization that will help the University and impact fields like medicine and alternative energy,” explains Doron Krakow, executive vice president of American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. “It is a new avenue through which any donor can support the commercialization of the most promising research at BGU in a targeted way.”
International Judea Foundation’s initial donation will seed three projects chosen by a BGU research committee to receive funding. The organization will provide additional funding up to the $1.2 million based on successful commercialization of these projects.
Among the initial projects chosen by the committee of BGU research heads and Fahkeri for Project Jacob are:
- Retinal Angiography System – Retinal blood flow indicates many health issues, including diabetes mellitus, macular degeneration and vascular occlusion. BGU researchers have developed an image analysis tool from a series of high-resolution angiographic images that allows for the quantification of blood flow and vessels’ permeability to help make diagnoses.
- Balance Training System – This robotic engineering project, a treadmill-like device, simulates real life mobility problems while walking to help improve motion stability for the elderly and disabled.
- Venus Catheter – This device has already been patented but needs refinements to treat thrombosis, or blood clots, which affects 15 million people each year who suffer from strokes.