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9 Cooperation with the United States Since 197S, Chinese scientific leaders and adminis~ors have increasingly focused on cooperation with developed counties, particularly the United States, as a means to raise China's modest level of research and development In biotechnology. Contacts within developed countries occur Trough a varied of channels, including government agencies, private foundations, educational institutions, and commercial concerns. Major activities include information and technology transfer, s~port of Chinese research through grants and contracts, joint research projects, Joint commercial ventures, Mining programs in China, and perhaps most important, study abroad. In China, cooperative activities are coordinated by active international cooperation deponents within CAS, NSFC, SSTC, SEDC, and the Ministries of Agriculture and of Public Health. The sections below, while not all-inclusive, indicate Be range of Sino-American cooperative activities. GOVERNMENT-SUPPORTED PROGRAMS The CSCPRC, Sponsored by NAS and with facial support from NSF, and CAS have organized a joint 3-year program (19X7-1989) of minicollrses and a symposium auned at inducing Chinese scientists to the new Enviers of basic biological and biotechnology reach. To date, three combined laboratory and lecture Courses have been held at the Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry and one at Me Beijing Institute of Microbiology. The Em, organized by Robert Ho~tz (Massachuseus Institute of Technology), focused on the genetics and molecular biology of Caenorhabditis elegans. During He past decade, this 68
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COOPERATION W17H THE UNITED STATES 69 simple nematode has proven ~ be an exceptionally useful experiment organism for fundamental studies of early development, behavior, and neurobiology. The main purpose of He course was to expose young Chinese sciences to the genetic manipulations that make this organism well suited for answering basic biological questions. The course was the first introduction to this important organism for most of the attending Chinese students and researchers. The second course, organized by Dean ~ Homer (National institutes of Heals In, focus on gene cloning and expression in yeast and mammalian cells. The laboratory portion of the workshop offered instruction in several techniques, such as cDNA cloning and site~ected mutagenesis, which }save wide applicability in many areas of biotechnology. Perhaps more importantly, the lecture portion focused on He most Went advances in understanding He regulation of eukaryotic gene transcription during environmental adaptation and development The third course, organized by Mike Boon (NeoRx Corporation), focused on He more applied topic of immunotoxins. ~ramry exercises demons~ed sta~of-~e-artme~ods for antibody and tom punf~cadon, chemical coupling, and immlmotoxin delivery. Lectures ranged from introductory material on basic immunology to He most recent results of animal and clinical Dials. The fourth course, organized by Thomas Osbom (IJniversity of Wisconsin), was on plant molecular genetics and was held at the Beijing Institute of Microbiology in May 1989. The above minicourses lasted for 2 to 3 weeks and were taught by up to five visiting instructors, including university professors and assistant professors, NIH scientists, industrial scientists, postdoctoral fellows, and in one case, a Chinese scientist studying in He United Sees. Laboratory exercises were limited to between 10 and 25 people, whereas lectures were amended by larger numbers of intended Chinese scientists. Dowry space andlarge equipment were provided by Be Chinese, while reagents and most laboratory supplies were brought in from the United States. ~ genial, He Chinese participants were enthusiastic, eager to learn, and hardworking. They were excellent in the laboratory, picking up new techniques win ease, and in most cases, Hey had a good working knowledge of modern elemental methods. In congest, the students' basic knowledge, particularly in genetics, was not always so song. In some cases, they could do a Southern blot but were unable to predict the outcome of a single Mendelian cross. Others could transform yeast cells win high efficiency, but were incapable of distinguishing between a czs- and a trans-acting mutation. Thus, while the students knew many of the facts of modern molecular biology, they had less sense of how to design experiments to test these hypotheses or develop new ones. Perhaps the main benefit of the minicourses, in particular the lecture portions, was in emphasizing the importance of He expenmental method and broad wining in science. This message apt to be wannly accepted by the participating scientists. An oblige aun of Be joint CSCPRC
70 BIOTECHNOLOGY IN CHINA Spring Harbor, New York, in which Chinese scientists would gradually take over the teaching responsibilities. The Chinese support this idea, and the Shanghai Imitate of Biochemistry has set aside apace for a dedi~l Gaining laboratory. However, at He present early stage of this cooperative program, it is clear Hat atonal American participation and funding will be required to achieve this aim. Tne CSCPRC also has a~'niniste~ the V=ting Scholar Exchange Progr~un. This program has provided funding for sham (1- to 3-month) visits of American scholars to China and of Chinese scholars to He United States. The main focus in He sciences has been on He establishment of collaborative research projects, Specially in areas in which work in China and/or win Chinese scientists can make a unique contn~udon. The program has been especially useful in allowing AmeAcan-~ained Chinese scientists to continue Heir contacts with He West and update Heir bmining. The program has been supporting 15 American and 10 Cheese scholars each year' typically including two biologists. As has been an important program that bridges Be gap between cradle study abroad and visits by senior scientists and administrators. It is regrettable Hat this progr~un will be termin n 1990. The N1H, which is the main supporter of biologic research in He United States, engages in several cooperative activities win China While He general agreements between NIH and CAS, and NIH and CAPM, are largely inoperative, contract research programs are support within several N1H institutes. The National Cancer Institute is engaged in epidemiological studies of throat and stomach cancer in China, clinical Dials of traditional herbal medicines, and an analysis of to relationship between vitamins End cancer. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases supports research on hepadds and several parasitic diseases, while the National Hem, Lung, and Blood Stile is involved in a study on He relationship between diet and spoke. Although it is not widely known, investigamr-initiated NIH grants are open to scientists of all nationalities on a competitive basis; the National Instate of Allergy and Infectious Diseases elects to fund at least one independent research project in China in 1989. The NIH, through the slogan International Center, is also an unportant training center for Chinese scientists. There are currently 125 Chinese scientists at He main NIH campus. PRIVATE FOUNDATIONS AND ACADEMIC INSTITUTIONS The Rockefeller Foundation, which has long historical ties with China, is the most visible of He private American foundations supp~ing research and raining of Chinese scientists. It provides fact research grants in two major areas: population condor (including basic studies of reproduction) and agriculture (particularly improvement of rice strains). Between 1979 and 198S, the
COOPERATION W177] THE UN17ED STATES 71 foundation's medical sciences department e~nded $2.1 million on 34 research grants, of which 10 dealt with basic studies of Me molecular and cellular biology of reproduction, e.g., studies of plasminogen activators in early embryos and cloning of sperm surface protein genes. In addition to research grants, the Rockefeller Foundation provides Biotechnology Camer Fellowships to young scientists (many of whom have mained abroad) in China and other developing countries. These Rockefeller Foundation programs have had a major impact on Chinese biotechnology. While average grants are small, typically $30,000, they are very effective because they are provided in U.S. dollars, which can be spent outside China without We usual encumbrances of the procurement system. An addition, We fellowship program allows investigators to work abroad on a regular basis, providing a key incentive for students to mt~ to China Furthermore, virtually every high caliber scientist that was met during Be 1-month evaluation Hip had been helped, one way or another, by Be Rockefeller Foundation. Finally, most of Be foundation-suppor~d research projects, except those at Be Beijing Institute of Developmental Biology, are clearly above average. Several other private foundations support Sino-American biotechnology cooperation, mosey through small grants for travel and study abroad. Recently, He Fudan Foundation has unveiled preliminary plans to establish the Thomas H. Morgan Science Center at Fudan University's Instate of Genetics at a projected cost of several million dollars (see Chapter 8~. Many Chinese educational and research institutes have established formal or informal ties with Am~i~n universities. For example, Fudan University has lies win Harvard, Princeton, and Yade Universities and win He University of M=land, while Nanjing University has an association win Johns Hopkins University. Id certain instances, attempts have been made to establish joint research projects such as He breeding of improved pig smains (Beijing Institute of Developmental Biology with Norm Carolina State University) and the development of anti-liver cancer immuno~x~ns (Shanghai Instance of Cell Biology with Sanford University). However, such ties lag behind Dose established by over counties, and notably, no American university conducts a regular research or paining program in China such as He Max Planck Inshtute's program at the Shanghai hnshtute of Cell Biology. We major contribution of American universities lies in Paining Chinese students abroad, a topic discussed below. STUDENTS ABROAD: HOW MANY WILL RETURN? According ~ a recent study by Leo Orleans, Chinese Students u' America: Policies, Issues and Numbers (Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1988), some 56,000 Chinese students and scholars visited He United Sates between 1979 and 1987. About 60 percent of these were officially sponsored by He
~2 BIOTECHNOLOGY IN CHINA Chinese government 0-1 visa smms), while 40 percent were students privately supported by friends or funnily (F-1 visa status). At Me beginning of 1988, it was estimated that there were 36,000 victors from China in the United States: 21,000 studying or wowing wig J-1 I, 7,000 holding F-1 student Kansas, and 8,000 who managed to remain in the United States either with or without a different lope of visa Based on figures Mom 1985, 17 percent of We Chinese visitors were supported by Me Chinese government; 9 percent by personal funds; and 64 percent by U.S. universities, foundations, corporations, and govenunent programs. Between 1979 and l98S, Mere was a severe decline in Me proportion of students and scholars supported by Me Chinese government (from 54 percentin 1979 to 17 percent in l9BS) and a corresponding increase in support Prom American sources, particularly universities Atom 18 to 57 percent). Total expenditures by American sources in l9SS were in excess of $80 million, and it is likely that today Me figure is greater than $100 million. Although no statistics are available on Me number of Chinese visitors wowing ~if~cally on biotechnology, it is Emma that 11 to 17 percent are involved in Me combined fields of life sciences, heals sciences, and agricrilt~e and Mat 7 percent of undergraduate plus graduate students are studying biology or biochemistry. From these figures, together with casual observations of graduate student populations at several American universities and medical schools, it can be estimated that about 1,000 to 3,000 Chinese students and scientists are currently Raining in biotechnology and related fields in the United States. Clearly, this Amble pool of students and scientists abroad presents China wig an important opportunity to accelerate Ethnological development. But how many of Me students will actually return? And will those that do return be able to use their new training? Although breakdowns by field of study are not available, overall figures compiled by Orleans on the return of students and scholars to China between 1978 and 1988 are revealing. It is estimated Cat within this period approximately 12,500 J-1 visa holders and 7,000 F-1 visa holders returned to China These 19~500 returnees represent approximately one-~rd of Me total sent to Me United States, including Me majority of all officially Sponsored students and scholars. Moreover, of Me 36,000 visitors currency in Me United States, only 20 Rent have overstayed Weir originally planed visit. Since more than half of all student and scholar that have been sent to the United States are still here, it is mo early to predict what the overall return late will be; but judging from Me fast few years, it will undoubtedly be high enough to have a significant impact on China's science and technology development. Despite these encouraging return Dues, Chinese leaders have recently introduced several new measures to try and increase Me Faction of students and scholars that In to China These include the following steps: 1. Students are no longer officially sponsored for undergraduate study, only for graduate study and postdoctoral research.
COOPERATION WITH TlIE UNITED STATES 73 2. Students who have obtained Heir undergraduate or masters degree in China must remain an Me country for 2 to 3 years before going abroad for a Ph.D. degree. 3. Visas for spouses and children are no longer routinely granted. (representatives of the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C. deny changing this policy, but numerous Chinese colleagues assert Cat it has been changed.) 4. Wow units are being held increasingly responsible for selecting and ensuring He return of students and scholars abroad Even when a student or scholar Is clearly emigrant, he or she is still counted as occupying a work position in China. Financial penalties are levied on the funnily andior guarantor of students or scholars that fail ~ return within the allotted time. Since these penalties are decided by each work or administrative unit, they may vary considerably. One example cited to us was 100 yuan per month (about He average salary for a Chinese scientist) for the first 6 months; after that, 400 yuan per month. 5. Several Chinese universities and research institutes are Wing to establish programs in which graduate students do their course work in China and go abroad only for their dissertation work (typically, 2 years). Wile He indecent of these measures is clear, Heir ultimate effectiveness remains to be tested. The general impression is that Here has been a tangible alteration in Be mood of Chinese students in He Unified States since the "antibourgeois democracy" movement of lme 1986 and early 1987. Students who fully intended to In to Chum are now talking a "wait and see" attitude; recipients of an undergraduate degree are staying on for graduate studies; and Ph.D. recipients are staying on for postdoctoral work. These "lingerers" are waiting for Free assurances: (1) Hat China will not return to an outright and-intellectual campaign of the sort Hat has occurred so regularly since 1949, (2) that once Hey return Hey will have the opportunity to go abroad again to continue high-level Gaining or collaborative research, and (3) that they will be provided with an appropriate environment and sufficient funding to continue doing science in Chow Measures Hat help to assure students and scholars abroad on these points will undoubtedly have a positive impact. The most commonly discusses] solution to the brain-drain problem, namely, the improvement of waking and living conditions in China, is unfortunately the most difficult to achieve. To Heir credit, certain Chinese universities and research instates have offered considerable incentives for scientists ~ return from abroad. These include immediate promotion to professor, ample laboratory space, permission to go abroad on a regular basis, and virmally guaranteed research support ~ addition, while scientists are abroad Hey can apply for He relatively small research grants provided by NSFC. By offering such incentives, a small number of universities (e.g., Peking University) and institutes (e.g., Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry and Beijing Inshtute of Virology) have managed to attract truly topnotch researchers Pained abroad The inch use of such incentives could have a major impact on China's biotechnology development
74 BIO~HNOLOGYIN CHINA COMMERCIAL ENTERPRISES Given China's preoccupation with applied research, it is not surprising that special emphasis and hopes are placed on ties with U.S. corporations. Four types of commercial activities are under way or planned in Chunk (1) sponsored (contract) research, (2) joint ventures, (3) wholly owned subsidiaries, and (4) technology transfer. Although He demils of many of these commercial agreements are not publicly available, a few examples will suffice to indicate the range of ongoing activities. One of the most active U.S. companies In China is the Monsanto Company, which curmndy support over 50 research projects at various Chinese institutions. Most of these are conDact research programs Mat take advantage of Me special slcills of Chinese scientists, e.g., plant tissue culture methods. In the Ron of joint ventures, the formation of the SinmAmerican Biotechnology Company by Promega Corporation has been especially useful in giving Chinew scientists access to biotechnology reagents (see Chapter S). Several major U.S. pharmaceutical funs operate joint vendee factories in China Over projects at venous stages of negotiation include Be genetic engineering of soy~s, BV vaccines, and cancer detection kits. Despite these encouraging signs, and despite the fact that a large number of U.S. biotechnology, chemical, and pharmaceutical funs have made overtures to Chink the overall level of Sino-American cooperation in commercial biotechnology remans low. The ~ complaints on the American side are the weakness of the Chinese patent system (see Chapter 5) and Be fact Mat many Chinese have died to obtain new technology for free, often by playing one company against another and by offering preferential marlcet entry. On the over hand, the number of marketable, profile products available from biotechnology is still low. Perhaps the Chinese are wise ~ save their money, and at the same time build their own technological expertise, und1 the potential of biotechnology becomes a realibr.
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