Biologists urge reform of life science funding in China
Science funding in China has been criticised as biased and inefficient by the Ray Wu Society, most of whose members are US-based Chinese biologists. Last week, members of the society, which promotes development of the life sciences in China, expressed concern that several 15-year projects due to begin in 2006 are soaking up too much of China's science and technology budget.
China's system of research funding, largely controlled by the Ministry of Science and Technology, has long been criticised for its lack of transparency and inefficiency. Following the 2002 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), researchers both in China and overseas called on China to establish an equivalent to the US National Institutes of Health to improve funding (see Why China needs a National Institutes of Health). The Ministry of Science and Technology rejected that proposal last week.
The Ray Wu Society plans to continue to lobby Chinese authorities, saying that the current system — where a few people control the bulk of the money — is unfair.
Reference: Nature 430, 495 (2004)