The Millennium Development Goals have become an international standard against which to assess trends in development and human well being. Their adoption in 2000 coincided with two important factors: the growing recognition of the role of science and technology in solving human problems, and the emergence of new infectious diseases. These developments have helped to define biomedical research as one of the most critical public policy issues facing the global community. The state of human health in much of the developing world continues to decline at a time when the world’s fund of biomedical knowledge continues to expand. This challenge offers new opportunities for promoting international cooperation in biomedical research of relevance to developing countries as outlined in the report of the Millennium Project Task Force on Science, Technology and Innovation.1 Addressing health challenges of the developing world will require new forms of international partnerships that take into account emerging opportunities in the globalisation of scientific knowledge.