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A New Era of Sci-Tech Innovation

China Today by Zhang Ying,December 26, 2017 Adjust font size:

Innovation-friendly Environment

China’s advancements in science and technology in 2017 benefit from longstanding research in key areas and are a collaborative outcome of reforms to invigorate vitality, policy incentives, and significant funding.

As Wang Zhigang, Party secretary of the Ministry of Science and Technology of China, said: “Our work focuses on sci-tech innovation and the innovation of relevant systems and institutions.” New policies have come into force, including reforms on use of sci-tech funds, evaluation of sci-tech outcomes, and assessment of sci-tech programs. This has created a more productive environment for sci-tech research.

The steady increase in financial investment in science and technology is a strong guarantee for China’s sci-tech innovations and programs. In 2016 the national fiscal spending on science and technology exceeded RMB 700 billion. By funding projects in five categories, including key R&D plans, the Natural Science Foundation, innovation of science and technology, specialized research base and high-caliber talent, China has made breakthroughs in a number of core and cutting-edge technologies.

In 2016 China’s total R&D investment reached RMB 1.57 trillion, the world’s second largest. This sum accounted for 2.11 percent of the Chinese GDP, ranking among the largest in developing countries and close to the level of developed countries. Enterprises have become the main force of R&D investment, taking up 77.5 percent of the national total. The number of Chinese sci-tech workers has exceeded 71 million, with 5.35 million in R&D, ranking first in the world. “The Thousand Talents Plan,” “The Ten Thousand Talents Plan” and other major talent projects have helped attract the largest scale of overseas returnees since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.

The year 2017 marks the start of a new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics. A slew of industry leading sci-tech achievements and new growth points bred by their commercial applications have lifted the curtain on this new era.

Zhang Ying, holding a doctorate in law and a post-doctorate in economics, is director of the Policy Department of Sci-Tech Fund Supervision Center of the Ministry of Science and Technology, a research fellow, and deputy director of China’s High-tech Industrial Parks Research Center of Chinese Academy of Sciences.

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