In 1979, following the United Nations Conference on Science and Technology for Development (UNCSTD), the United States announced a program for science and technology cooperation as a major initiative. In 1981, congressional legislation authorized the U.S. Agency for International Development (AID) to initiate a research grants program identified as the Program in Science and Technology Cooperation (PSTC).

PSTC was created to fund innovative scientific research on issues of importance to developing countries. PSTC had the following objectives: (1) to assist developing countries to strengthen scientific and technological capacity; (2) to address significant problems in developing nations on a regionwide basis; and (3) to fund innovative research of high scientific merit. Further, PSTC sought to foster collaboration between scientists and other technology experts in the United States as well as scientists in developing nations.

In 1985, again under congressional mandate, AID established a parallel grants program, called the U.S.-Israel Cooperative Development Research Program (CDR), to encourage collaborative research between Israeli scientists and scientists of developing nations. Its objectives were similar to those of PSTC, providing funding for research in both Israel and a developing country, with the stipulation that the research should be a cooperative endeavor.

In 1982, with support of a grant received under PSTC, the Board on Science and Technology for International Development, the unit of the

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