Business / Economy

Gates Foundation announces plans to establish Grand Challenges China Program

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-10-20 09:27

BEIJING - The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) announced plans on Monday to establish the "Grand Challenges China Program" in the near future.

The program is considered a new partnership under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the two sides also on Monday in a bid to support, strengthen and develop science and technology research cooperation on global health and development.

According to the MOU and an implementation agreement, the Gates Foundation and NSFC will jointly select and fund research projects on major infectious diseases, reducing maternal and child mortality, translation, agriculture, food and nutrition, as well as other areas that will benefit people in need in China and beyond.

Research projects involving substantive collaboration between Chinese and international teams are encouraged to apply for grants of up to $1 million (6.36 million yuan) with joint funding from the Gates Foundation and NSFC.

With a growing and robust community of innovators, China has the capacity to achieve significant discoveries that could benefit other developing countries in the world, said Shen Yan, vice president of NSFC.

"We look forward to working with the Gates Foundation to drive new Chinese-international collaborations that can lead to major progress in global health and development," he said.

"Grand Challenges has been a successful model for global health and development during the past 10 years," said Sue Desmond-Hellmann, CEO of the Gates Foundation.

According to the MOU, proposals will be accepted from early 2016 for safe, effective, affordable and widely utilized interventions, such as vaccines, which have the potential to protect against acquisition, progression or transmission of infectious diseases, or to provide a cure for infectious diseases, in resource-limited settings.

The partnership joins existing initiatives in Canada, Brazil, India, Thailand and Africa.

The announcement and signing of the MOU took place at the 2015 Grand Challenges Annual Meeting, which is being held in Beijing from Oct. 19 to 21.

During the meeting, the Ministry of Science and Technology and the foundation honored 50 outstanding young scientists from China.

The winners, all under the age of 45, have a diverse background in research and industrialization spanning bio-technology, population health and modern agriculture.

Grand Challenges encourages initiatives addressing global health and development problems. Since 2003, it has supported researchers around the world to translate their bold and ground-breaking ideas into tangible products.

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