The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the Israel Ministry of Energy, and the Israel Innovation Authority have announced a new Call for Proposals from the U.S.-Israel Center of Excellence in Energy, Engineering and Water Technology (U.S.-Israel Energy Center) for cooperation in providing cyber-security solutions. The aim of this Call for Proposals is to develop tools and technology for energy cyber and cyber-physical security for critical infrastructure, which have been a primary target for cyber crime as of recent.
In a conversation with Geektime Eitan Yudilevich Executive Director, BIRD Foundation (Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development) explained why the DOE decided to focus trust in Israel’s leading cyber-security ecosystem. “The U.S. Department of Energy decided to include cyber-security as one of the U.S.-Israel Energy Center topics because of Israel’s global stand in this field. Earlier than other global players, Israel companies developed technologies and products to protect infrastructure, attracting prominent U.S. companies to invest in Israel. As in other successful technology areas, the Israeli strength in cyber-security stems from its closely coupled ecosystem, involving academy, industry and the defense establishment. The U.S. Congress recognized this fact in the U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act, a bipartisan, landmark legislation that authorized the establishment of the U.S.-Israel Energy Center.”
In order to receive the prize money offered for the winning solution, commercial companies, research institutes, and universities from both the U.S. and Israel must form a consortium of at least two entities from each country. The maximum award for the winning consortium is $6 million for a period of 3 years, subject to funding appropriations. A 50 percent cost-share is required from the winners. The program may be extended for up to 2 additional years (for a total of 5 years, with a maximum total award of $10 million).
“A consortium should include companies and universities and/or research institutions from both countries (minimum of two entities from each country), which proposes close R&D collaboration for the development and demonstration of cyber-security technologies. The Energy Center is looking for close collaboration between the U.S. and Israeli members of the consortium and innovative proposals on a broad range of subtopics, jointly defined by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Israel Ministry of Energy and the Israel Innovation Authority (see https://us-isr-energycenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/EC-Cyber-Topic-July-23-2020.pdf)," explains Yudilevich.
Following recent critical infrastructure cyber attacks in Israel, Yudilevich noted that “both the U.S. and Israel identified the need to design resilient energy delivery systems that can go through cyber incidents without disruption of critical functions. This is a sustained effort that requires the investment of resources and the recruitment of talent. The call for proposals is the result of the joint decision at the highest levels, to strengthen U.S.-Israel cooperation in the energy sector and specifically on cyber-related technologies.”
In February 2019, DOE announced the BIRD Foundation as the operating agent of the U.S.-Israel Energy Center. The Energy Center's target is to promote energy security and economic development through the research and development of innovative energy technologies while facilitating cooperation among a consortium of U.S. and Israeli companies, research institutes, and universities.