Money for grants from the Chief Scientist's Office in the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry has run out, sources close to the ministry said on Wednesday.
The Chief Scientist's Office had hoped to receive an additional NIS 300 million, on top of this year's annual budget of NIS 1.42 billion. NIS 100 million of this additional funding had already been approved - but given the growing budget deficit for this year and next, the office may not receive it.
The ministry hopes that NIS 120 million extra will come from the Finance Ministry in the next two months. The remaining NIS 180 million will depend on negotiations with the treasury.
This is not the first time the chief scientist's budget for grants has run out in the middle of the year - in fact it has been happening regularly in recent years. Demand for grants has grown as the global economic crisis and slowdown has worsened and other funding sources have dried up.
In the past, the treasury was willing to provide additional funds as it was assumed that every dollar invested in research and development had a relatively high payback. But this year the treasury seems to have decided that the Chief Scientist's Office must be more strict about managing its budget and stretching it out over the entire year without expecting additional allocations.
The Chief Scientist's Office is charged with executing government policy on the support of industrial research and development. It also assists in the development of technology in Israel as a means of fostering economic growth and encouraging technological innovation and entrepreneurship.
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