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Jun 19, 2014

U.K., China Shake Hands on Disease Research Deal

  • The U.K. and China inked a global agreement to work together on more than £50 million ($85.2 million) of research programs taking on several global issues including human diseases. The two nations—represented respectively by David Willetts, the U.K.'s Minister of Universities and Science, and Liu Xiaoming, China's ambassador to the U.K.—approved the programs and a five-year implementation plan of the UK-China Research and Innovation Partnership Fund, which they say will include deals worth a total of £200 million ($340.9 million).

    One of the first programs of the fund involves £16 million ($27.3 million) of joint research partnerships used to support advances in regenerative medicine and stem cells, atmospheric pollution, human health, marine energy, and sustaining the soil ecosystem; this program will be led in the U.K. by Research Councils UK. Another involves £14 million ($23.9 million) of Newton Fellowships to help Chinese and U.K. researchers develop collaborations with researchers in one another’s country.

    In a statement, Willetts described the UK-China Research and Innovation Partnership Fund as an exciting new model of collaboration, building upon an already strong scientific relationship between the two countries. "By working together, the U.K. and China’s ability to produce higher quality research and create opportunities to develop and commercialize new innovative technologies are greatly increased," he added.

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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

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