The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an intergovernmental organization, created to serve the goals of nonproliferation. It was established in 1992 by the European Union, Japan, the Russian Federation, and the United States on the basis of a multinational agreement and an associated protocol. Norway, Republic of Korea, and Canada have also joined the ISTC as funding parties. The ISTC has been pivotal in coordinating efforts to provide new professional opportunities for former defense scientists from Russia and other countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States, with the aim of integrating them into the world scientific community.
Since its inception, the ISTC has supported a program to (a) engage specialists with defense-oriented experience in civilian scientific work, (b) retain Russian scientific talents, and (c) incorporate previously isolated experts into the international scientific community. During a period of economic unrest in Russia during the 1990s, tens of thousands of scientists found themselves without adequate incomes to support their families, making them potentially attractive targets for nefarious parties with hostile intentions that were in search of technological expertise. The ISTC’s nonproliferation objectives have been achieved through project grants that are designed to fulfill research and development (R&D) work for civilian purposes proposed by scientists that possess important advanced technology skills.
Since 1994, the ISTC has provided financial support to more than 900 institutions with about 74,000 project participants. Funds expended for projects have exceeded $860 million for about 2,760 projects.
In the life sciences, 702 projects have been funded, with total expenditures
of $234 million (involving about 10,000 bioexperts, including more than 7,000 in Russia).
The Department of State has funded 995 projects via the ISTC in the amount of $221 million, of which 720 were implemented in Russia, with $160 million allocated. Of those projects, 273 have been in the life sciences and funded at a level of $64 million. Total funding for 478 Russian projects in the life sciences (both regular and partner projects) reached more than $180 million.
Permanent sustainability of the ISTC as an organization has not been among the major goals of the program. Rather, efforts have been devoted to funding and implementation of specific projects with explicit technological goals.
With regard to biological-related concerns, special attention has been given to the safety of collections of bacterial and viral pathogens in research institutes. A number of institutes have been involved in the program to upgrade physical security and biosafety systems that was funded by the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency. Fourteen projects were funded for nearly $18 million, beginning in 1999. Also, ISTC projects in the area of medicine and health care were developed following recommendations at international meetings of experts from the World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health, and Food and Drug Administration.
Russian institute leaders report that ISTC funding was the mechanism that helped institutes not only to survive in the economic duress of the 1990s but also to improve infrastructure, cultivate a community of English-speaking scientific managers, develop leadership, gain recognition in the world community, and engage in world-class research.
Efficacy of funds administered through the ISTC, as determined by expert evaluations, has been higher than funds allocated by Russian organizations because of tax-free and customs-free conditions and transparent management of project funds. International independent audit of projects is a usual ISTC practice.
The ISTC has been able to provide effective informational, scientific, financial, managerial, and procurement services for many institutions. The ISTC developed unique mechanisms of facilitating scientific collaboration, assisting Russians in learning about international standards and regulations and in implementing them in their project practice. The ISTC developed expertise and provided services broadly in technology databases, project management, commercialization of products, competency building, and communication and travel support.
The ISTC partner program enabled private companies, government agencies, and nongovernmental organizations to fund directly R&D projects undertaken by Russian scientists and institutions. Partners working with ISTC-affiliated scientists and institutes could gain access to the established ISTC infrastructure, including in-country project management customs clearance, intellectual property rights support, and searches for R&D needs (matchmaking).
BIOTECHNOLOGY AND ISTC
Biotechnology, including agriculture and medicine, is one of the most active areas of ISTC activity. From 1994 to 2012, about 27.2 percent of all funds were allocated to biotechnology. Table E.2-1 offers examples of biotechnology projects supported by the ISTC, completed in 2011.
The ISTC received a total of 1,359 proposals in the life sciences field during this period. Of those, 702 projects for an amount of $234 million were funded, as displayed in Figure E.2-1.
As presented in Table E.2-2, U.S. governmental partners (Department of Defense, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Agriculture, Department of Energy IPP, Department of State, Environmental Protection Agency) have funded 207 projects in Russia in the life sciences for approximately $122 million.
The United States funded 146 regular projects in biotechnology for approximately $33 million. Additionally, 127 regular projects in environmental sciences were funded by the United States for $31 million. Table E.2-3 lists areas funded by the Department of State.
The main recipients of U.S.-funded ISTC grants in the Russian Federation in biotechnology were the institues that were managed previously by “Biopreparat” (Figure E.2-3).
Targeted initiatives are a new approach. Three were developed in biotechnology:
Drug Design and Development—Has been developed to facilitate development of novel therapeutics to combat emerging and reemerging infectious diseases and cancer. The initiative is built upon a set of workshops and projects with a view to establishing long-term, cooperative research and development relationships between research institutes and international health care, pharma, and bioscience bodies.
Probiotics and Health—Was developed to (a) create new platforms for development of alternatives to antibiotics, (b) search for new approaches to develop innovative functional healthy foods on the base of Lactic acid-producing bacteria isolated in Russia, which can be used for prevention and complex therapy of gastrointestinal, urogenital, cardiological, and oncological diseases.
Science and Technology in the Prevention of Biological Threats—Has the objective of developing new techniques and technologies for the rapid detection of a defined list of highly dangerous microorganisms; focusing on the Group of Eight priority of protecting food supplies; and assisting in the development of adequate emergency planning, reporting, first response, and epidemiological analysis.
SOURCE: Information provided by ISTC, April 2012
|Project Title||Russian Institute|
|Bacteriocin Production and Field Trials for Treating Campylobacter Jejuni and Salmonella spp. in Broilers||State Research Center for Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, Obolensk|
|Isolation and Characterization of Novel Antimicrobials Against Staphylococcus Aureus: Bacteriophage Endolysins||State Research Center for Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, Obolensk|
|Conservation of Genetic Material and Study of Genomic Structure of Different Variola Virus Strains||State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology Vector, Novosibirsk|
|Development and Optimization of Technological Processes for Manufacturing Enzyme Preparations, Including Alpha-Amylase, Glucoamylase, Cellulase, Xylanase, Pectate Lyase, Beta-Galactosidase, Lipase, Phytase||Open Stock Company “Vostok,” Kirov|
|Immunologic and Structural Studies on Mammalian Cell Expressed Recombinant HCV Envelope Proteins E1 and E2||State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology Vector, Novosibirsk|
|Carbon Exchange Formation in Boreal Forests of Eurasia||All-Russian Scientific Research Institute of Experimental Physics, Sarov|
|Development and Demonstration of a Methodology and Software for Risk-Based Land Use Planning and Decision Support||Khlopin Radium Institute, St. Petersburg|
|Hand-Held Express Detector of Drug Traces Based on a Method of Ion Mobility Increment Spectrometry||Design and Technological Institute of Instrument Engineering for Geophysics and Ecology, Siberian Branch of RAS, Novosibirsk|
|Development of a Research Center for Tuberculosis Clinical Trials Through the Conduct of a Study of a Modified Treatment Regimen for WHO Category 1 Patients||First Moscow State Medical University/Research Institute of Phthisiopulmonology, Moscow|
|Phosphorescence Multianalyte Microanalysis of Dried Blood Spots as a Basis of Seroepidemiological Monitoring of Zoonotic Infections Transmitted by Ixodid Ticks||State Research Institute of Biological Instrument-Making, Moscow|
|Monitoring of Influenza A Viruses in Wild Birds, Poultry and Pigs in the Novosibirsk Region||State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology Vector, Novosibirsk|
|U.S. Governmental Partner||Funds, US$||No. of Projects|
|Department of Defense/DTRA||36,494,286||28|
|Department of Health & Human Services||30,733,322||59|
|Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville, MD||23,267,328||50|
|Department of State – FSU Bio Industry Initiative, Washington, DC||12,488,287||20|
|Department of Energy / Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention Program, Washington, DC||8,782,500||13|
|Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC||6,803,295||24|
|Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Arlington, VA||3,708,932||13|
|Technical Area||Number of Projects||U.S. Allocated Funds, US$||Total Allocated Funds by All ISTC Parties|
|Information and Communications||27||6,640,754.00||8,666,443.00|
|Other Basic Sciences||1||300,000.00||300,000.00|
|Space, Aircraft, and Surface Transportation||22||5,522,976.67||7,798,670.00|
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