In terms of stem cell research, China appears both as a "powerhouse" armed with state-of-the-art facilities, internationally trained personnel and permissive regulation and as a "bit player," with its capability for conducting high quality research still in question. The gap between China's assiduous endeavors and the observed outcome is due to a number of factors. Based on interviews with 48 key stakeholders active in Chinese stem cell research, this article examines how the structure of scientific institutions has affected effective governance in China. It is demonstrated that despite China's recent efforts to attract highly competent researchers and to launch new regulatory initiatives, the effects of these attempts have been diminished by an absence of middle-layer positions within research teams and by the uncoordinated administrative structures among regulatory bodies
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