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Science Goals Set Out for 2020

Backed by strong government funding, 16 key scientific projects will be executed and 10 national laboratories built by 2020, Minister of Science and Technology Xu Guanhua said yesterday.

China saw a record high R&D expenditure of 300 billion yuan (US$38.5 billion) 1.4 per cent of GDP in 2006, 22 percent more than in 2005.

R&D funding will continue increasing this year and beyond, Xu said, elaborating on the nation's science program at a national conference in Beijing.

"It was the first time the proportion of R&D spending in GDP reached such a high level," he noted.

Thanks to the huge input, 53,305 patents were registered in China, Gao Changlin, director of the statistical analysis centre of the National Research Centre for Science and Technology Development, told China Daily.

Xu said the gap between China and developed countries in science and technology is "narrowing rapidly" and called the present "the best time in the history for science" in China.

The 16 national-level projects will cover biology, energy, the environment, health, IT, national defense and resources.

They will include the development of large aircraft, software systems, crucial electronic components, high-end computer chips, high-end machinery, new medicines, and advanced integrated circuits.

Xu also said the country will promote manned spaceflight, lunar exploration and a number of other science and technology initiatives this year.

Blueprints of all the projects will be submitted to the State Council for approval by the end of this year.

As one of the key steps, 10 national laboratories their locations are yet to be announced will be built for agriculture, aviation, clean energy, major diseases, nuclear fission, oceanography, protein engineering, quantum manipulation and transportation.

In 2000, China started building six national laboratories to conduct research on high-energy physics, molecular physics, nanotechnology, and radiation studies.

Xu said there is still a big imbalance in science development between the eastern and western regions of the country.

Three municipalities, Shanghai, Beijing and Tianjin, lead the country in science development.

(China Daily January 30, 2007)

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