International Science and Technology Center

International Science and Technology Center

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The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an international organization
International organization
An intergovernmental organization, sometimes rendered as an international governmental organization and both abbreviated as IGO, is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states , or of other intergovernmental organizations...

 established by an international agreement in November 1992 as a program to prevent nuclear proliferation
Nuclear proliferation
Nuclear proliferation is a term now used to describe the spread of nuclear weapons, fissile material, and weapons-applicable nuclear technology and information, to nations which are not recognized as "Nuclear Weapon States" by the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, also known as the...

 and the proliferation of other weapons of mass destruction
Weapons of mass destruction
A weapon of mass destruction is a weapon that can kill and bring significant harm to a large number of humans and/or cause great damage to man-made structures , natural structures , or the biosphere in general...

 (WMD) by giving Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

n and Newly Independent States (NIS) scientists and engineers with knowledge and skills of WMD or missile delivery systems, opportunities to redirect their talents to peaceful activities such as fundamental research, international programs and innovation and commercialization.

The ISTC supports innovative projects that are expected to induce business opportunities by launching new commercial joint ventures that link the demands of international markets with the highly qualified scientific talent pool available in Russian and the Commonwealth of Independent States
Commonwealth of Independent States
The Commonwealth of Independent States is a regional organization whose participating countries are former Soviet Republics, formed during the breakup of the Soviet Union....

 (CIS) institutes.

The ISTC is a non-profit organization with a sister organisation called the Science and Technology Center in Ukraine
Science and Technology Center in Ukraine
The Science and Technology Center in Ukraine commonly known as the STCU, is a intergovernmental organization dedicated to the non-proliferation of nuclear, biological and chemical weaponry and related technologies...



The Funding Parties to the ISTC are Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

, Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

 and South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

. The Recipient Parties are Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

, Belarus
Belarus , officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered clockwise by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno , Gomel ,...

, Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

, Kazahkstan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan
Tajikistan , officially the Republic of Tajikistan , is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. Afghanistan borders it to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east....



ISTC activities fall in two broad categories: Research Projects, which employ former weapons scientists (FWS) in the development of new science and technology (S&T), and supplemental programs, which include workshops and other events to integrate FWS in the global S&T and industrial communities, training, and commercialization support initiatives.

In all, over 58,000 weapons scientists and their team members in 765 research institutes spread across Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

/CIS have been involved in ISTC projects and activities.

The International Science and Technology Center participates in the WorldWideScience
WorldWideScience is a global science search engine designed to accelerate scientific discovery and progress by accelerating the sharing of scientific knowledge...

 global science gateway.

Motivation for Establishment of the ISTC

According to James Baker's address of March, 1992, in the early 90's the economic and professional conditions faced by Russian nuclear scientists was deteriorating to the point where some might be tempted to sell their skills to other regimes.

According to the European Commission (EC)
European Commission
The European Commission is the executive body of the European Union. The body is responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the Union's treaties and the general day-to-day running of the Union....

 the ISTC mission is "to organise the redirection of WMD scientists’ activities, through supporting innovative projects in science and technology. In so doing, these programmes are expected to induce business opportunities for both NIS and EU companies through launching of new commercial joint ventures."


The funded projects encompass the following:
  • Space
    Outer space
    Outer space is the void that exists between celestial bodies, including the Earth. It is not completely empty, but consists of a hard vacuum containing a low density of particles: predominantly a plasma of hydrogen and helium, as well as electromagnetic radiation, magnetic fields, and neutrinos....

    , Aircraft
    An aircraft is a vehicle that is able to fly by gaining support from the air, or, in general, the atmosphere of a planet. An aircraft counters the force of gravity by using either static lift or by using the dynamic lift of an airfoil, or in a few cases the downward thrust from jet engines.Although...

     and Surface Transportation
  • Fission Reactors
    Nuclear fission
    In nuclear physics and nuclear chemistry, nuclear fission is a nuclear reaction in which the nucleus of an atom splits into smaller parts , often producing free neutrons and photons , and releasing a tremendous amount of energy...

  • Physics
    Physics is a natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through spacetime, along with related concepts such as energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.Physics is one of the oldest academic...

  • Biotechnology
    Biotechnology is a field of applied biology that involves the use of living organisms and bioprocesses in engineering, technology, medicine and other fields requiring bioproducts. Biotechnology also utilizes these products for manufacturing purpose...

     and Life Sciences
    Life sciences
    The life sciences comprise the fields of science that involve the scientific study of living organisms, like plants, animals, and human beings. While biology remains the centerpiece of the life sciences, technological advances in molecular biology and biotechnology have led to a burgeoning of...

  • Chemistry
    Chemistry is the science of matter, especially its chemical reactions, but also its composition, structure and properties. Chemistry is concerned with atoms and their interactions with other atoms, and particularly with the properties of chemical bonds....

  • Environmental Science
    Environmental science
    Environmental science is an interdisciplinary academic field that integrates physical and biological sciences, to the study of the environment, and the solution of environmental problems...

  • Nuclear fusion
    Nuclear fusion
    Nuclear fusion is the process by which two or more atomic nuclei join together, or "fuse", to form a single heavier nucleus. This is usually accompanied by the release or absorption of large quantities of energy...

  • Information
    Information science
    -Introduction:Information science is an interdisciplinary science primarily concerned with the analysis, collection, classification, manipulation, storage, retrieval and dissemination of information...

     and Communications
    Communication studies
    Communication Studies is an academic field that deals with processes of communication, commonly defined as the sharing of symbols over distances in space and time. Hence, communication studies encompasses a wide range of topics and contexts ranging from face-to-face conversation to speeches to mass...

  • Instrumentation
    Instrumentation is defined as the art and science of measurement and control of process variables within a production, or manufacturing area....

  • Manufacturing
    Manufacturing is the use of machines, tools and labor to produce goods for use or sale. The term may refer to a range of human activity, from handicraft to high tech, but is most commonly applied to industrial production, in which raw materials are transformed into finished goods on a large scale...

  • Materials science
    Materials science
    Materials science is an interdisciplinary field applying the properties of matter to various areas of science and engineering. This scientific field investigates the relationship between the structure of materials at atomic or molecular scales and their macroscopic properties. It incorporates...

  • Non-Nuclear Energy
  • Other Basic Sciences


According to the ISTC website, over 350 organizations have joined the Partner Program to date and provided funding for 500 projects with a total value of US$160 million.

In 2004, the proposed European Commission (EC) budgets for the ISTC and STCU were approximately €21 million and €4 million respectively.

According to the 2003 budget proposal by the EC during the period 1994 to 2003, the total budget was approximately USD$ 441 million, which supported about 1,628 projects and 51,000 scientists. The EC contribution, through the Tacis Programme, for this period was € 77 million to ISTC. In 2002, 301 new ISTC projects were funded for respectively USD 78.6 million. ISTC supported 26,500 participants, for a total of grant payment reaching USD 42.5 million. Most of these projects have been medium-sized (0.35 million USD each) with a duration of two to three years. The financial contribution of the EC represents in total approximately 26% of the total funding, second to the support allocated by the USA (34,7%). In absolute figures in March 2003, the EU support of ISTC projects amounted to more than € 90.9 million.

Evaluation by the European Union

The European Union (EU) organisation EuropeAid undertook an audit of the ISTC and STCU in 2006 and 2007. Among the conclusions and recommendations were the following:
  • Some projects, particularly those led by former high-level weapons scientists, have the potential for dual use
  • The majority of the work in the funded projects is carried out by former weapon scientists
  • The programmes are generally "non-proliferant" in that they are succeeding in keeping the former weapon scientists occupied, particularly at institutes which were at the core of the weapons research
  • The funding to pay the scientists salaries is not always compatible with the respective costs of living and should be increased to reduce the risk of them selling their know-how, knowledge and harmful materials on the black market
  • Biotechnology
    Biotechnology is a field of applied biology that involves the use of living organisms and bioprocesses in engineering, technology, medicine and other fields requiring bioproducts. Biotechnology also utilizes these products for manufacturing purpose...

     scientists working on highly virulent strains (plague, anthrax
    Anthrax is an acute disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Most forms of the disease are lethal, and it affects both humans and other animals...

    , etc.) projects in Kazakhstan (and possibly also Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan) have particularly low salaries and these sites are hence vulnerable to proliferation of know-how, knowledge and biological materials

External links