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China’s biologists have worked for years to catalogue the country’s vast array of flora and fauna. Now, the time is ripe to build the bigger biodiversity picture, by synthesising the data and tackling areas such as species interactions.

In this article, Dennis Normile shows how a new research facility in Kunming aims to do just that. The International Center for Studies of Evolution and Biodiversity (ICSEB), to be launched next week, will train a new generation of Chinese evolutionary biologists and ecologists. Two supporting bodies, the University of Chicago and Germany’s Max Planck Society, will facilitate collaborations with Western researchers.

One of ICSEB’s greatest challenges may be funding. Starting with a shoestring budget of US$100,000, its founders aim to persuade the Chinese Academy of Sciences to underwrite a US$1 million budget for its second year.

Link to full article in Science

Reference: Science 302, 559 (2003)

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