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Developing biomedical research in China poses a massive and unique challenge, writes Zhu Chen in a special series on health system reform in China, published by The Lancet.

In 2006, the Chinese government set up policies to develop its talent pool in biomedical research and allocated more than 20 per cent of its research and development budget to life science and biotechnology.

Since then it has launched a national basic research programme, established major scientific facilities and, argues Zhu, built up a comprehensive medical research system. As a result, China has made considerable contributions to research efforts in fields ranging from proteomics and structural genomics to
antibody studies and stem cell research.

But gaps remain to improve public health in the twenty-first century. The country still needs to extend international collaboration; develop partnerships between academia and industry; invest more in drug research and development; and support the oversight of food and drug safety, says Zhu.

Link to full article in The Lancet*

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