German scientists will become more active participants in the international community's fight against AIDS, according to the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), an organization devoted to promoting research. The first HIV vaccine clinical trials to be held in Germany will begin sometime in the next year, the group said Tuesday at a conference in Berlin hosted by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Germany's federal institute for disease control and prevention. An application has been filed with the Commission for Somatic Gene Therapy, and, if approved, trials will go ahead at sites in Hamburg and Bonn. In its announcement, RKI also criticized the German government for its AIDS vaccine research spending, which is paltry at €7 million. The U.S., by comparison, spends 300 times more on vaccine research.