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TALENT KEY TO BASIC RESEARCH AND ORIGINAL INNOVATION

Monday,Jan 15, 2018

From: China Daily

 


Expertise from overseas a vital ingredient to boost economy, industries and ensure breakthroughs

As the world’s second-largest economy’s innovation-driven strategy proceeds for high-quality development, China has decided to introduce more high-end expertise from overseas to help improve the country’s basic research and original innovation.

That was one of the five measures announced last week by the State Council, China’s Cabinet, to make an innovation-oriented country and upgrade its economy and industries. International cooperation should be strengthened to attract talent from overseas and more professionals in strategic technologies should be introduced with greater support, according to a statement released after a State Council executive meeting, presided over by Premier Li Keqiang on Jan 3.

The statement said business startups should be given steady support in their basic research activities, while overseas experts will be allowed to participate in China’s national technological projects.

The meeting was the latest move by the central government to boost basic research and innovation. China should provide stable and steady support to basic research and the ratio of basic research in overall research and development funds should be raised, according to the 13th Five-Year Plan  (2016-20) on basic research, which was released in May by the Ministry of Science and Technology and three other departments.

“We should use the wisdom of foreign talent to help achieve leaping development in our country’s basic research,” the premier said at the meeting.

“Artificial intelligence and quantum communications must be supported by basic research such as physics and mathematics. We couldn’t make major original research breakthroughs because we are stuck in basic research.”

The premier stressed that enterprises and social organizations should be encouraged to invest more in basic research. In developed countries, enterprises are the main contributors to basic research and measures such as preferential taxes should be deployed to give China’s enterprises and social organizations confidence, he added.

We couldn’t make major original research breakthroughs because we are stuck in basic research.”-- Li Keqiang, Premier


Xu Chenyang, a professor in mathematics at Peking University, said basic and theoretical subjects such as math are core promoters for a country’s scientific and technological progress. He said the current situation makes it necessary for China to spend more resources in this field as a major developing country, especially when the basic research is not as strong as expected.

According to figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics, 5.2 percent of research and development funds in China were spent on basic research in 2016, a record high in the last 10 years. In contrast, the ratio can be as high as 15 to 20 percent in many developed economies.

A recent report by the Tencent Research Institute found that China is confronted with a gap with the most competitive country — the United States — in basic algorithms and theoretical research, even though it’s one of the leading countries for artificial intelligence.

China has come of age in original innovation, instead of copying others, said Wang Huiyao, founder and president of the Beijing based Center for China and Globalization(CCG). The key to improving original innovation is talent, but China still lags behind developed economies such as the US in attracting high-end talent, he said.

The larger the number of innovative, talented individuals, including those from overseas, the better are the chances that China can achieve original innovation, Wang said. “We should recruit talent from all over the globe and create a better environment to help boost original innovation,” he said.

China has been a major country for goods trade and capital flows and should balance the outflow and inflow of talent by decreasing the deficit of high-end professionals, Wang said. What’s more important is that China should cultivate a more inviting environment to keep foreign talent after they decided to come, he said.

“For example, our green card policy should be changed. Currently foreigners can apply for one after four years of stay in the country. The policy should evolve from the current postentry issuing to preentry issuing. Green cards should be issued for highend professionals before their arrivals in China,” the think tank scholar added.

 

From China Daily,2018-1-9

 

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