International Trade minister Stockwell Day says he is requesting increased funding for ISTPCanada from his Cabinet colleagues to take advantage of the huge demand for the program and exploit opportunities as they emerge. Day made the comments at the opening ceremony of the Second Canada-China-Israel Roundtable on Trilateral Agricultural Research and Technology Development earlier this week in Ottawa.
The response to calls for proposals (CFPs) under the bilateral agreements currently handled by ISTPCanada greatly outstrip the ability of the organization manage and fund all meritorious projects. As an example, the three CFPs under the Canada-China agreement resulted in more than 700 expressions of interest but only 30 projects were ultimately funded for a success rate of about 4%. ISTPCanada received $20 million over five years in the 2005 Budget to support bilateral R&D with Israel, India, China and Brazil and the program is facing renewal next year.
"I'm asking for more money from my colleagues for that particular program," said Day. "We have a science and technology program and $20 million. And frankly, as good a program as that is, the demand for it is huge … I would like to see that grow, not just for the demands for that type of science and technology agreement … but the promise is even larger."
ISTPCanada president and CEO Dr Henri Rothschild says Day's comments are "very encouraging news" reflecting the minister's commitment to bilateral and now trilateral R&D collaboration.
"It's wonderful to have a minister who is not a lightweight in Cabinet ... He is a key minister with strong ties to China and Israel," says Rothschild. "Our (funding) agreement expires in 2010 but because we've been so successful in sourcing programs, most of our funding is committed ... We're tapping into a huge potential for Canada to partner with some of the most important economies and innovation sources in the world."