The need for clearly-defined health research policies and priorities has been emphasized in the international scenario. In Brazil, this process began in 2003, when a group appointed by the National Health Council proposed 20 sub-agendas to account for the various health research specificities. The second step was to identify research priorities for each sub-agenda during national seminars involving 510 researchers and policymakers. The 2nd National Conference on Science, Technology, and Innovation in Health was held in July 2004. During the preparatory phase, 307 cities and 24 States organized local conferences, involving 15,000 participants. Some 360 health sector delegates were appointed during the local conferences, in addition to those from the education and science and technology sectors. During the Conference, the national policy was approved and 3 other sub-agendas were introduced and approved. The national policy and the priority agenda are currently guiding investments by the Ministry of Health for research and development, and to a certain extent those from the Ministry of Science and Technology as well. From 2003 to 2005, 24 calls for proposals were launched; as a result, 3,962 research projects were submitted and 1,300 financed.