The organization MERCOSUR — dubbed the Common Market of the South — promotes free trade and movement of goods, people and currency within a trade bloc of five countries in South America. The organization has now funded a large biomedical network spanning research institutes in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. We hope that this unprecedented initiative will encourage other regional scientific endeavours in South America.

The idea of the network is to help each other develop innovative biomedical projects that have potential for translational medicine. The network will encourage contributions from young investigators.

It aims to study the biological and epidemiological aspects of diseases that have social and economic impact; to create biotechnology platforms for clinical developments; and to build up human resources and technology to a high standard.

In recognition of the importance of investment in science and technology on the development and welfare of communities, MERCOSUR will provide US$7 million, with a further $3 million coming from national funding. The MERCOSUR funding will come from its FOCEM budget, better known for supporting local construction projects such as roads or hospitals.