LAUNCH : A NEW INSTITUT PASTEUR OPENS IN SOUTH KOREA
KIM Youseung, Director General of the Korean Institute for Science and Technology, and Philippe KOURILSKY, Director General of the Institut Pasteur in Paris, met in Seoul this morning under the auspices of ROH Moo-hyun, President of the Republic of Korea. The object of this Institute is to develop new therapeutic approaches in the field of infectious diseases and cancers by means of its post-genomic programmes.
The first Institut Pasteur to be set up outside France was founded in Saigon by Albert Calmette in 1891, in order to vaccinate the population against rabies and smallpox. Since then, more than 20 Instituts Pasteur have been established all around the world, the most recent being the Institut Pasteur in Bangui (1961) and the Institut Pasteur of the Ivory Coast (1972).
The Institut Pasteur in South Korea will be funded with basic finance of 100 million Euros over 10 years granted by the South Korean Government. The additional 46 million Euros which will be necessary to complete its budget are to be raised through partnerships with industry, in particular within the information technology and nano-technology sectors. The Institut Pasteur in Paris will second scientists to South Korea to work with the Korean teams in setting up and developing the new institute from scratch.
The Institut Pasteur in Korea will launch its work at the beginning of 2004, and activity will accelerate during the year. At first, it will be set up at the premises of the Korean Institute for Science and Technology in Seoul. In the long term it will be designed to house some 250 scientists.
This Institut Pasteur will be structured around the development of new technologies which will make it possible to advance more rapidly from basic research to applications, and in particular to the setting of therapeutic targets. It is also based upon a powerful synergy between chemistry and biology.
The Institut Pasteur in South Korea will be a state-recognised private foundation. The Director will be appointed by the Board of Directors, which will comprise both French and Korean members. The first Director of the Institut Pasteur in South Korea will be a scientist from the Institut Pasteur in Paris. The Science Committee will be made up of members appointed by the Korean authorities and by the Institut Pasteur in Paris.
The establishment of the
new Institut Pasteur in South Korea, the first for several decades, marks a
new dimension in a strategy for the development of international science partnerships
with the Institut Pasteur.
Currently the Asian area comprises: the three Instituts Pasteur in Vietnam (Hanoi, Ho Chi Min City, Nha Trang), the Institut Pasteur in Cambodia, and the University of Hong Kong - Pasteur Joint Research Centre set up in 1999. The Institut Pasteur has also participated in the Sino-French Genome and Life Sciences Department at the University of Shanghai since 2002, jointly with INSERM (French National Medical Research Institution) and the CNRS (French National Scientific Research Centre).
The other regional areas are: Europe, South America (the Pasteur Amsud Programme), Africa, and the Middle East.
The International Network of the Institut Pasteur, comprising 23 institutes located on the 5 continents (with 8,500 staff), is an organisation which is unique in public health research, training, and services the world over. These Institutes report to the research and public health authorities in their respective countries. They are linked by the same mission (scientific research, public health services and teaching), the same "Pasteur culture", and the same values. Through their activities they contribute to the detection, prevention, and fight against the infectious diseases affecting their country or region. They develop joint research and training programmes. They play a role in the international health and epidemiology watch. Several of them are WHO Collaborating Centres (World Health Organisation).
The Institut Pasteur holds
a unique position: a private foundation which carries out three missions in
the public interest: scientific research, medical research, and public health
teaching, training, and services, in France and throughout the world. On its
campus in Paris, it comprises more than 2,500 staff in 12 scientific departments,
made up of more than 150 specialist units and research laboratories dealing
with more than half of all infectious diseases, and others working in particular
in the fields of immunology, neuro-sciences, cancers, and genetics.
The Institut Pasteur has a world-wide reputation for its ground-breaking research on infectious agents, immunology, molecular biology, and for the discovery of the AIDS virus in 1983, and its scientists have been distinguished with eight Nobel prizes and a great number of other international prizes.
The great reputation of the Institut Pasteur on the international scale contributes to the presence and the image of France throughout the world.
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