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SCIO briefing on making China a country of innovators and supporting the fostering of a new development paradigm

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The State Council Information Office held a press conference in Beijing on Feb. 26 to brief the media on issues around making China a country of innovators and supporting the fostering of a new development paradigm.

China.org.cnUpdated: March 3, 2021


This year marks the beginning of the 14th Five-Year Plan Period (2021-2025). How well have we met our targets for scientific and technological innovation during the 13th Five-Year Plan Period (2016-2020)? Are there any weaknesses? Additionally, are there any new arrangements from the Ministry of Science and Technology to support the building of the new development paradigm? Thank you. 

Wang Zhigang:

Thank you for your questions. As I mentioned in my opening remarks, our scientific and technological strength and innovation abilities have been greatly improved since the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020), achieving historic, systematic, and structural changes. The total R&D investment increased from 1.42 trillion yuan in 2015 to an estimated 2.4 trillion yuan in 2020. Last year, China's spending on R&D was estimated to be 2.4% of its GDP. Specifically, spending on basic research was estimated to exceed 150 billion yuan in 2020, almost double that of 2015. As estimated, the contribution of scientific and technological advances to economic growth would exceed 60% in 2020, meeting the expected target. Citizens with scientific qualities accounted for 10% of our population. According to the "global innovation index" released by the World Intellectual Property Organization, China rose from 29th place in 2015 to 14th in 2020. On the whole, we have made decisive achievements in building China into a country of innovators.

Certainly, we should note that weaknesses still exist. Our innovative ability can't meet the need for high-quality development. First, key technologies are not independent and basic research and original research is weak. Second, the supply of high-quality technological results is not sufficient and can't support the industrial and supply chains well. Meanwhile, innovative abilities among enterprises are not good enough. Third, the overall efficiency of the innovative system is not high enough. There is still room to improve concerning the integration of colleges, research institutions, and enterprises into a whole innovative system, the sourcing of top talents and high-level teams, as well as the conduct and academic atmosphere within the science and technology field. 

During the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2020-2025), we will stick to the four principles of targeting the global science frontiers, serving the main economic battlefield, striving to fulfill the significant needs of the country and benefiting people's lives and health. We will emphasize the promotion of high-quality development in building the new development paradigm, and fully display the supporting role of technological innovation. First, to promote the high-end development of the industrial chain, we will step up breakthroughs in key technologies, intensify the arrangement of frontier technologies, and establish a batch of key technological projects in the areas of artificial intelligence, quantum information, and bio-breeding. Second, focusing on supporting real economic development, we will push forward the large-scale application of technological advances. Relying on national self-independent innovation zones and high-tech development zones, we will foster a number of clusters for high-tech industries and high-tech businesses, and step up the development of new forms of business and new models to strengthen new drivers in growth. Third, in order to safeguard people's health and lives, we will enhance R&D and application in the prevention and treatment of major diseases, as well as innovative medicines and medical equipment. Fourth, to realize our goals in cutting carbon dioxide emissions and achieving carbon neutrality, we will advance technological breakthroughs and promote their application in pollution prevention and control, efficient utilization of energy and resources, and combating climate change. Fifth, to improve the overall efficiency of the innovative system, we will put emphasis on stimulating the vitality of talents, launch a new round of reforms in the scientific and technological system, and improve the innovation environment.

We hope that through the next five years' hard work and unremitting efforts, we will notably improve our national technological innovative abilities and the overall efficiency of the innovation chain, so as to better support high-quality development and build a new development diagram. Thank you.

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