Activities of the International Science and Technology Center(ISTC)

Yu Takagi
International Science and Technology Center(ISTC)

Background of Establishment

The International Science and Technology Center is an international organization that supports researchers in Russia and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries after the Cold War and contributes to converting their focus to activities in the general private sector. The organization was established in March 1994 based on the Treaty for the Establishment of the International Science and Technology Center signed by Japan, the USA, the EU, and Russia on November 27, 1992 (Korea and Canada joined the Treaty as supporters in 1998 and 2004, respectively). ISTC provides support to researchers in Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz. and Tajikistan in addition to Russia.

Role of ISTC

There are five key objectives of ISTC activities: 1) Offering research funds to researchers in Russia and CIS countries so that they can participate in research activities in private sectors using their technology, 2) Contributing to the development of science and technologies in Russia, CIS countries, and related nations surrounding this region, 3) Supporting the introduction of a market economy in Russia and CIS countries, 4) Offering opportunities for researchers in Russia and CIS countries to participate in the global community of scientists and engineers, 5) Offering research-related information and support to various projects so that universities, research institutes, and private companies in the participating countries, including Japan, can utilize unique and excellent technologies in Russia and CIS. By doing so, ISTC works as a bridge to the government of the treaty countries, related international bodies, and private organizations.

Details of Activities

To achieve the above-mentioned objectives, ISTC has programs called the Regular Project and the Partner Project. In the Regular Project, the government of each country provides funding for excellent projects with significant policy needs. Conversely, the Partner Project is carried out based on the technical needs of partners (private companies, etc.).
The scope of funding for the Regular Project encompasses versatile areas including basic research, nuclear fusion, energy, nuclear safety, medicine, electric engineering, material technology, aerospace, and aviation technologies. Under the review of the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) members, including experts from treaty countries, a total amount of $800 million was granted to more than 2600 projects as research funds for researchers in Russia and CIS countries. Experts from universities and institutes of treaty countries take part in these programs to provide advice on the project progress. Furthermore, information and data accumulated as research results are shared among program participants and researcher exchange is promoted.
Recently, ISTC is placing an increased emphasis on the Partner Project, reflecting the activated moves of private organizations in Russia and CIS countries. ISTC provides various services to support matchmaking such as the offering of free scientific and technical information (seeds), tax reduction/exemption, support for customs clearance and the handling of intellectual properties associated with the project to ensure advantages for partners. In particular, tax reduction/exemption will serve as powerful instrument to reduce costs and expenses in comparison with those associated with R&D in the domestic arena. Further, ISTC will investigate the progress of each project and implement audits to guarantee the transparency of the project implementation.

Achievements Related to Japan

While Russia and CIS countries have unique technological potential developed independently, information on the organizations and their activities are still insufficient. Partly due to the difference in regulatory systems, many parties tend to be hesitant to start collaboration. To address this barrier, many foreign-based research institutes and private companies, including Japanese organizations, currently participate in collaboration activities through ISTC. So far, the Japanese Government supported approximately 220 Regular Projects. In terms of the Partner Project, 20 organizations have been involved in approximately 50 projects in total. ISTC is committed to make further efforts in promoting collaborations between research institutes in Russia and CIS countries and Japanese counterparts such as universities, research institutes, and private companies by playing a role of pilot in the frontier of collaboration. Specific project information can be accessed on our website. ISTC has compiled a database for information on past projects handled by ISTC. Information matching your interests can be accessed free of charge by keyword search. ( We sponsor the ISTC Japan Workshop on regular basis (approximately 5 times a year), where various subjects in science and technology are discussed. Using this opportunity, we invite researchers from Russia and CIS countries who report on the latest research trends. In addition, based on the advice of ISTC experts in each area, we make arrangements for individuals to contact and visit to local institutes. Please feel free to contact our staff. We have four dedicated staff members (two Japanese, two Japanese-speaking Russians) to serve your needs.