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A centre to encourage health policy-makers in Africa to use the results of scientific research to guide their decisions is to be created with funds from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

The research and policy centre, which will be located in East Africa, is part of a Can$2.5-million (US$1.6-million) package of funding unveiled yesterday (2 July) by the Canadian organisation.

"This new institution will provide policy-makers in the region, both nationally and locally, with research findings on people's health needs and best responses to meet these needs," says Maureen O'Neil, president of IDRC.

The new funds will also be used for a second initiative — of which details have yet to be confirmed — which will aim to open dialogue between researchers and policy-makers.

"Our goal is to increase the relevance and utilisation of research outputs/results by decision-makers at all levels, thereby enhancing the influence of the researchers, institutions, and African civil society on key issues for development," says Gordon Smith, chairman of the IDRC board of governors.

The IDRC announcement follows the Canadian government's pledge earlier this week to significantly increase funding for agricultural research in Africa and towards the development of an HIV/AIDS vaccine (see Canada boosts support for agricultural research).

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