Israel's chief scientist Shooky Gleitman is this week trying to come to terms with a Pounds 10 million reduction in the level of government support provided for his office by 1997.
The cuts are part of a severe package of measures announced by Binyamin Netanyahu's new Likud-led coalition, and amount to a decrease of 5 per cent in government contributions to research and development compared with those for 1996.
Mr Gleitman had recently been making a case for increased government support for research and development, particularly in the areas of biotechnology, advanced electronics and computing.
Analysis carried out by the chief scientist's office suggested that if the ministry of finance's own industrial growth targets were to be met, then an increase of 17 per cent in support for research and development would be needed.
"I feel certain that these cuts will result in a drop in research and development activity in Israel and will cause serious long-term damage," said the chief scientist.
"In the field of technology, standing still is a step backwards and it will be very hard to catch up later on."