The Chinese government will begin dispersing funds this October for two major research programs that were initially announced two years ago. Although a final figure has yet to be released, observers estimate that $880 million will be allocated for drug discovery research and $440 million will be available for infectious disease research. The projects will run from October 2008 through December 2010. The drug discovery research will target 10 diseases, including cancer and cardiovascular disease, and the establishment of platforms for Good Laboratory Practices and Good Clinical Practices. The infectious disease research will focus on HIV/AIDS, hepatitis and tuberculosis. Eligible applicants include scientists at Chinese universities and research institutes, as well as firms that are majority Chinese owned. China’s health ministry is leading the effort, but has been criticized for failing to allow adequate time to meet the August and September application deadlines. Critics also contend that favoritism and inefficiency could mar the projects. Source: Nature

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