The Office of the Chief Scientist approved 16 new projects in the month of December worth NIS 35.5 million, the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry said Sunday. The Chief Scientist's office is financing a little less than half the budget for the projects with grants worth NIS 14.5m. from its Research and Development fund. The companies receiving awards are working on a range of applications in communications, biotechnology, medical equipment, computer software and plastics. At least five of the projects have international partners including Holland-based EUREKA and Germany's Bio-Disc.