Research capacity of global health institutions in China: a gap analysis focusing on their collaboration with other low-income and middle-income countries.
INTRODUCTION: This paper presented qualitative and quantitative data collected on the research capacity of global health institutions in China and aimed to provide a landscaping review of the development of global health as a new discipline in the largest emerging economy of the world. METHODS: Mixed methods were used and they included a bibliometric analysis, a standardised survey and indepth interviews with top officials of 11 selected global health research and educational institutions in mainland China. RESULTS: The bibliometric analysis revealed that each institution had its own focus areas, some with a balanced focus among chronic illness, infectious disease and health systems, while others only focused on one of these areas. Interviews of key staff from each institution showed common themes: recognition that the current research capacity in global health is relatively weak, optimism towards the future, as well as an emphasis on mutual beneficial networking with other countries. Specific obstacles raised and the solutions applied by each institution were listed and discussed. CONCLUSION: Global health institutions in China are going through a transition from learning and following established protocols to taking a more leading role in setting up China's own footprint in this area. Gaps still remain, both in comparison with international institutions, as well as between the leading Chinese institutions and those that have just started. More investment needs to be made, from both public and private domains, to improve the overall capacity as well as the mutual learning and communication within the academic community in China.