GENET archive


9-Misc: China seeks greater American-Chinese coordination ofbiotech research

                                  PART I
-------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  China seeks greater coordination of biotech research
SOURCE: SciDev.Net, by Jia Hepeng
DATE:   21 Jul 2004

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China seeks greater coordination of biotech research

[BEIJING] China is to create a top-level 'leadership committee' and
establish a national development plan to guide the growth of its
biotechnology sector.

One of the main tasks of the new committee will be to co-ordinate
research and development efforts across all government departments. At
present, such efforts are split between research efforts run by the
ministry of science and technology, hospitals run by the ministry of
health, and universities, which are run by the ministry of education.

Xu Guanghua, the Chinese minister of science and technology, made the
announcement at the 10th international symposium of the Society of
Chinese Bioscientists in America (SCBA), being held this week in Beijing.

In China, leadership committees are powerful bodies that are only formed
either in sectors of strategic importance, or at times of urgent need,
such as during the SARS outbreak.

Xu said the body will be headed by "a major state council leader", who
Zhang Hongxiang, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Chinese Biotechnology,
predicts will be Chen Zhili, one of China's three state councillors. But
Xu did not indicate when the development plan would be released, or the
leadership committee formed.

"We will continue to increase our investments in basic research,
developing a group of research teams and enhancing national data-sharing
in the biotechnology and life science sectors,'' Xu also told the SCBA

In his speech, the minister announced additional moves to boost Chinese
biotechnology. These included the creation of a national biotechnology
industry association, which will represent the interests of biotechnology
enterprises, and the development of a biosafety law that will regulate
the health and environmental impacts of technology.

Since 2001, China has greatly increased public funding for biotechnology.
According to Li Yong, deputy minister of science and technology, the
national biotechnology budget for the five-year period 2001-2005 is 400
per cent higher than the budget during the previous five-year plan
covering 1996-2000, reaching a total of USD 1.2 billion.

 But the sector still faces significant challenges. Zhou Yongchun, senior
policy researcher with the Chinese Centre for Science and Technology
Promotion, says that biotechnology in China is still characterised by a
lack of collaboration between different institutions, poor corporate
support for research on new drugs, and a lack of adequate intellectual
property protection.

The fact that public funding is distributed between organisations run by
three separate ministries "creates red tape and wastes resources," says
Zhou. He adds that the new committee is intended to increase the co-
ordination between these efforts.

But he says the committee will not be in a position to address two key
problems: the lack of incentives for companies to carry out research and
development in biotechnology, and the lack of demand for innovative
biotech products.

                                  PART II
-------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  SCBA International Symposium Comes to Beijing
        Organization's first-ever meeting in China marks exciting time for
SOURCE: Society of Chinese Bioscientists in America, Press Release
DATE:   17 Jul 2004

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SCBA International Symposium Comes to Beijing
Organization's first-ever meeting in China marks exciting time for

BEIJING (July 17, 2002) - Society of Chinese Bioscientists in America
(SCBA) International Symposium will be held at the Beijing International
Convention Center, Aug. 16 to 21, 2003. This is the first SCBA meeting
ever held in China and is organized by SCBA, the Chinese Academy of
Sciences, Peking University and the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences
as well as several distinguished co-sponsors such as the National Natural
Sciences Foundation, the Chinese Academy of Engineering and Ministry of
Science and Technology, Education and Health. SCBA also anticipates that
many institutes as well as industrial corporate supporters will join as
co-sponsors of this exciting and unprecedented meeting with over 1,500 to
2,000 participants attending.

The theme of this unique meeting is Science for a Better Life and it will
feature at least four to five Nobel Laureates, various academy members
from the Chinese and U.S. National Academy of Sciences and Academia
Sinica of Taiwan and about 150 invited speakers who are doing cutting-
edge research in biological, medical and biotechnological sciences. These
scientists will present their data and hypothesis in four to five plenary
sessions and 30 different workshops. SCBA also anticipates about 400 to
500 poster presentations from scientists and investigators from all
different parts of the world. A two-day satellite post-conference
symposium will also be held in Shanghai.

SCBA is a society dedicated to the establishment of fraternity,
communication, mutual assistance and improvement of professional careers.
Its missions are to:
a. Promote research in bioscience
b. Encourage advancement of biological and medical knowledge
c. Improve the qualifications and occupational opportunities of its members
d. Facilitate professional contact among its members
e. Establish a spirit of fraternity and international cooperation

In an effort to promote the goals of SCBA, the organization has hosted
nine biennial international symposia in the U.S., Canada, Hong Kong,
Singapore and Taiwan over the last 18 years. These symposia have brought
together bioscientists from both academia and industry for the open
exchange of ideas, establishment of collaboration, networking and
professional friendship and improvement of better and mutual
understanding of peace and humanity.

"This meeting marks an exciting time for bioscientists," said Joseph K.-
K. Li, SCBA executive director. "With increasing contributions from
Chinese bioscientists here and overseas, the scientific new knowledge is
growing at an unprecedented rate. This will enlighten our basic and
fundamental understanding of the mechanisms of life. With the
collaborative efforts of SCBA and its partners, we should be able to
stimulate economic development, enhance the future of our society and
improve the quality of our life globally via advances in biological and
biomedical sciences."

Press Conference with Press Release of the 10th SCBA International
Symposium was held at the People's Great Hall in Beijing at 3:00 pm
Thursday July 18, 2002 by co-chairs of this meeting: Zhi-hong XU,
President of Peking University; Jean C. Shih, SCBA President; Zhu Chen,
VP of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Tian Xu, SCBA Treasurer and
several Local Organizers

Contact: Jinghua Cao
Chinese Academy of Science


Joseph K.-K. Li


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