The Chief Scientist's Office in the Ministry of Industry and Trade approved 39 research and development projects totalling NIS 50.5 million for factories belonging to traditional industries, the ministry said Sunday. State grants accounted for NIS 29.5m. of the total amount. The ministry's program to support R&D for traditional industry was launched in September 2005 to promote absorption of technological advances among lo-tech factories. Chief Scientist Eli Ofer said he intends to increase the amount of money spent on R&D for traditional industry to "hundreds of millions of shekels" within three to four years.