At the beginning of April, the Japanese government launched the Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED) (H/T ScienceInsider (subscription required for full article)). This is following through on plans discussed in 2013 (and earlier) and legislation passed last year.
The agency will function as a central manager for government medical research in Japan. Prior to AMED’s launch, medical research was supported through institutes located in three separate ministries. Now AMED is coordinating the effort through 300 staff and a budget of 140 billion yen (roughly $1.2 billion).
Based on reports and a review of the English translation of the website, practical applications of AMED supported (and conducted) research will be practical application. Agency performance indicators for 2015 and 2020 (slide 4 in this 2014 presentation) strike me as aggressive and possibly too output focused (rather than outcomes focused). Should these goals be accomplished, the relative efficiency of the government investment (its annual budget is roughly 4 percent of the National Institutes of Health budget), would be remarkable.