The National Natural Science Foundation of China, which has extensive ties to China’s military and the Wuhan Institute of Virology, has partnered with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on scientific research for over five years.
The unearthed ties between the Gates Foundation and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) follow a National Pulse exposé revealing how the Chinese scientific organization funded People’s Liberation Army (PLA) research and bat coronavirus studies at the Wuhan lab. Beyond describing itself as a state-owned scientific group that is “guided by President Xi Jinping’s Socialist thoughts,” the NSFC has inked “strategic cooperative agreements” with the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Military Commission.
In October 2015, however, the Gates Foundation signed a memorandum of understanding with the NSFC to “jointly support research projects and bilateral workshops.” Together, the Gates Foundation and NSFC would “co-fund awards of up to US$1M and 4 years for collaborations between Chinese and international investigators.”
The agreement is still active, as the Gates Foundation’s most recent annual report details collaborative work on “joint research projects” and “bilateral workshops.” The two foundations “will accept joint research applications in the areas of global health and agriculture in the year of 2020,” the NSFC summary adds.
The Gates Foundation and NSFC have also collaborated on COVID-19 research, as the group was one of several Chinese Communist Party-run scientific organizations identified as a “partner” on a $5 million grant to “identify and confirm cases, safely isolate and care for patients and accelerate the development of treatments and vaccines.”
NSFC officials have also visited Gates Foundation headquarters in Seattle, including Vice President Hou Zengqian, who met with the foundation’s current CEO in October 2019. In 2016, an NSFC delegation met with the Gates Foundation Deputy Director of Discovery & Translational Sciences.