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China unveils plan for basic science research

Xinhua, June 15, 2016 Adjust font size:

The National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) published a development plan for the 13th five-year plan period (2016-2020) on Tuesday.

The foundation, a major source of funding for basic research and frontier exploration, has set targets, including one requiring its own investment in basic research to equal that of big-spending countries by 2020, said Gao Wen, vice president of the NSFC.

Other goals include as many landmark contributions to the global scientific development as those from S&T competitors, taking a leading role in some fields by 2030, and making major original contributions by 2050, Gao added.

The targets are in concert with national goals in S&T development. China wants to establish itself as one of the most innovative countries by 2020 and a leading innovator by 2030 before realizing the objective of becoming a world S&T power by the 100th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China in 2049.

Spending on basic research rose to 67.1 billion yuan (about 10 billion U.S. dollars) in 2015, but gaps still exist in terms of original research achievements, world-leading scientists and the environment for innovation.

For the 13th five-year plan period, the foundation has picked 118 independent disciplines and 16 interdisciplinary areas as priorities, including quantum information technology, cosmic ray detection, global environmental change, cyber security and optoeletronic devices.

During the previous five-year plan, the NSFC financed nearly 200,000 programs, with around 89 billion yuan from state revenue and 1.75 billion yuan from other sources.

To prevent misuse of funds, the foundation has issued regulations to ensure all the money is used appropriately.