The governments of Japan and the US are planning to launch an international collaborative project to elucidate the structure of proteins. Hirofumi Nakasone, director-general of Japan's Science and Technology Agency (Tokyo), and Neal Lane, scientific advisor to US President Bill Clinton, agreed in May to create common procedural guidelines for an international structural genomics project comparable to the Human Genome Project. The agreement follows a meeting between international scientists from the US, France, Germany, UK, Israel, and Japan that was held in April at the Sanger Centre (Cambridge, UK) to discuss ground rules for a structural genomics collaboration. The discussions focused on policies related to data release and intellectual property, but talks on scientific approaches, which differ widely among research groups, were left out. Many hope the international conference on structural genomics, to be held in November at Japan's Genomic Science Center in Yokohama, will become a forum for detailed discussions on scientific issues, the time scale and membership of the project, and—most contentious of all—intellectual property.