For the first time, the Israel Science Foundation (ISF) will host an official delegation from the National Science Foundation of China (NSFC). Representatives of the two foundations will meet here this week for the purpose of encouraging collaboration between scientists from both countries. The Chinese foundation has expressed interest in the fields of nanoscience, informatics, energy, biotechnology, agriculture and water utilization. The delegation will meet the vice-presidents for research and senior scientists in Israeli institutes of higher education to make initial connections. In recent years, the Chinese foundation's budget has been increased at an annual rate of more than 20 percent. The budget for 2006-2010 will be twice that of 2001-2005. The budget for 2007 is approximately $540 million. There are 38.5 million Chinese workers in the field of science and technology, and 1.09 million in research and development. The Chinese delegation, due to arrive on Monday and headed by NSFC president Prof. Zhu Zuoyan, will be hosted by the ISF until January 12. Following the visit, an ISF delegation is due to go to China, where an agreement on scientific cooperation between the two national foundations will be signed. The agreement will include provision for joint workshops, exchange of scientists and the creation of various collaborative frameworks. Prof. Joseph Klafter, chairman of the ISF's academic board, said he was satisfied with the emerging ties between the two foundations. He said an agreement for scientific cooperation would greatly benefit scientists from both countries.