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A £12-million programme to promote health research and training in developing countries in Southeast Asia and the Pacific has been launched by the UK-based Wellcome Trust and the governments of Australia and New Zealand.

The programme will concentrate on major health issues in countries such as China, Indonesia, the Philippines, the Pacific Islands and India. It aims to promote collaborative research and training between these countries and Australia and New Zealand.

"The new fund will focus on improving Pacific peoples' health through research and building biomedical research capacity and capability in the Pacific community," says Pete Hodgson, New Zealand's Minister of Research, Science and Technology.

Funds will be provided for five-year research programmes, which will be judged on their scientific excellence, significance to relevant health problems, high-level training and complementarity of research groups. Award decisions will be made in May 2003.

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