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China’s Push for Precision Medicine: Lessons for Science and Industrial Policies

September 27, 2023
Larry Au

Working Paper

In this working paper, Larry Au, assistant professor at the Colin Powell School for Global and Civic Leadership at the City College of New York, maps collaboration networks and publication trends for precision medicine from China, and finds that precision medicine should be understood as a negotiating tactic to demonstrate scientists’ relevance to the state and public.


Precision medicine was included in China’s 13th Five-Year Plan (2016–2020) as a strategic emerging industry. Drawing primarily on bibliometric analysis of scientific publications on the Web of Science and the Chinese National Knowledge Infrastructure databases, Larry Au examines trends in publications, multicountry collaboration networks, sources of funding, and influential institutions in precision medicine. Through this mapping of the precision medicine field in China, the paper discusses the role of the Chinese state as well as the U.S.-China relationship in fostering research around precision medicine in China. The analysis identifies the diversity of state funding forces, the strength and centrality of U.S.-China scientific collaborations, and the widespread popularity of precision medicine in China. It ends with brief lessons that we can draw from the example of precision medicine in China for science and industrial policies.

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