On Jan. 19, representatives from the U.S. and China signed an extension to the U.S.-China Agreement on Cooperation in Science and Technology. First signed in 1979, the agreement has fostered more than three decades of intergovernmental cooperation in biomedical research as well as in physics, chemistry, energy, industrial technology, and other critical areas.
John P. Holdren, director of the U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), and Wan Gang, minister of Science and Technology for the People's Republic of China, signed the extension. NHLBI Acting Director Susan B. Shurin represented the National Institutes of Health at the signing on behalf of NIH Director Francis Collins.
Since the original agreement, 19 NIH institutes and centers have developed collaborative ventures with counterparts in China, including the NHLBI. In Oct. 2010, the NIH signed an MOU with China's National Natural Science Foundation to allow joint funding of U.S. and Chinese scientists. In FY 2009 alone, HHS/NIH invested approximately $15 million in U.S.-China collaborations through extramural grants and contracts, and 717 Chinese scientists participated in the HHS/NIH intramural Visiting Scientist Program.
The NHLBI's scientific partnerships with China include a Collaborating Center of Excellence at The George Institute for International Health in Beijing, providing support for research and training as part of the NHLBI's Global Health Initiative in conjunction with UnitedHealth Group. The program is examining the effects of two intervention programs—one targeting healthcare providers and the other focusing on community education to lower salt consumption—on cardiovascular diseases in 100 rural villages from five provinces.
The NHLBI was also a founding member organization of the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases, along with China's Ministry of Health (in association with the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences) and six other health research organizations worldwide. The Alliance plans to facilitate collaborative funding activities for innovative research exploring the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases.