In 1985, the government of Tunisia under President Habib Bourgiba received a $3 million (USD) Computer Technology Transfer Project Grant from the US Agency for International Development (USAID). This funding contributed towards the establishment of a national research body, the Institut Régional des Sciences Informatiques et des Télécommunications (IRSIT) in 1987, dedicated to the promotion of telecommunications and computer sciences in Tunisia (Kavanaugh 1998). IRSIT was the country’s most prestigious technological research institution, and attracted some of the Tunisia’s finest research and engineering talent, employing 45 full-time computer scientists on staff (Curtis 1996).