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National research centers to stimulate China's S&T cause

Xinhua,November 30, 2017 Adjust font size:

The past few days have been good for China's science and technology (S&T) community.

On Monday, the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) announced that six new national research centers would be built in Beijing, Wuhan, Shenyang and Hefei.

The centers will be based on current pilot national laboratories and discipline clusters, said Ye Yujiang, head of the ministry's basic research department.

The centers will target frontier S&T and major economic concerns,including basic research.

"We will speed up the building of the six national research centers and initiate new centers at the proper time," Ye said."A national research center system will be established by 2020."

"National research centers are significant to improved innovation and to building a world-leading power in S&T," said a statement by Hefei National Laboratory for Physical Sciences at the Microscale when it was confirmed as one of the new centers.

Built at the start of the 21st century, the six pilot labs have won more than 80 international prizes and are home to 2,000 permanent researchers.

"We have amended the law on the conversion of sci-tech achievements over the past five years to encourage researchers to commercialize their products," said Wang Zhigang, deputy head of the MOST.

"Over 50 percent of the profits from commercialization now go to the research teams," he continued.

In east China's Anhui Province, where the Hefei research center is based, the policy has gone even further. Researchers there can claim more than 70 percent of the profits of their achievements. Moreover, tax payments can be delayed until stock rights of the products are transferred. Tax rates could also be lowered, in line with the province's tradition of favoring sci-tech researchers.

Anhui's special treatment for scientists attracted the likes of cytologist Wang Wenchao, one of the eight Chinese doctors from Harvard University who now conduct their research in Hefei.

"Laboratories abroad are already mature, which doesn't allow us to do much new stuff. Back in China we have more freedom," he said.

"The national research center could become one with international influence that encourages academics and other talent," Ye Yujiang said.