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[MEXICO CITY] One year after its creation, the Science and Technology Institute of Mexico City (ICyTDF), has received a 500 per cent increase in its budget.

According to an issue of the Official Newspaper, the official publication of Mexico City's government, last month (27 December) the ICyTDF's budget will increase from US$9.5 million in 2007 to US$64.3 million this year.

"The ICyTDF has had the most important growth of budget to a scientific institution in all the country in the last 20 years," Esther Orozco, general director of the ICyTDF, told SciDev.Net.

Mexico City is home to nearly 50 per cent of the country's scientists, and hosts the main universities and scientific institutions of Mexico.

The ICyTDF was created in December 2006 with the objective of supporting diverse local government action in science and technology — financing research projects and supporting science and technology decisions for example — and promoting scientific activities in the city.

"These resources will be assigned to foster research in high-priority areas for the city, like transport, clean energy technologies, education, water treatment and drainage, science education, and scholarships for postgraduate degrees and funding scientists to go overseas," said Orozco.

Also included in Mexico City's 2008 budget are tax incentives for companies involved in applied research and innovation that benefits the city, who will pay 80 per cent less tax.

This reduction will be applied throughout the year to compensate companies for the expense of paying the salaries of researchers and technicians, particularly for innovation and development projects.

During the approval of the initiative in the Legislative Assembly, the local deputy, Enrique Vargas — president of the Treasury Commission — rejected claims that the funding increase is a waste.

"This is not a waste of public funds but is an instrument to stimulate research and the generation of economic wealth".