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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

Science and Technology Daily:

In recent years, there have been many new policies to reform China's science and technology innovation system and mechanisms. I am concerned about the reform of the management of science and technology planning projects. What's the current progress of reforms in that area? What specific plans do you have to select the best candidates to lead key research projects and funding non-consensus projects? Also, you have mentioned young scientists, so what are your favorable policies for them? Thank you.

Wang Zhigang:

Let's invite Mr. Xie to answer these questions.

Xie Xin:

Thanks for your questions. The national science and technology plan is an important vehicle for the government to organize scientific and technological innovation activities, and many of the major scientific and technological achievements introduced by Mr. Wang just now were formed with the support of our science and technology programs. During the 13th Five-Year Plan period, we worked hard in accordance with the CPC Central Committee's decisions and arrangements to address problems that many people had reported in the science and technology industry, such as repetition, lack of common goals and transparency, and inefficiency. In response, we formulated a new planning system, and established a more transparent and professional management and operation mechanism. In particular, we strengthened the coordination among government departments and that between government departments and provinces. We have achieved good results in setting common scientific research goals, designing tasks, and implementing projects. We plan to continue deepening reforms during the 14th Five-Year Plan period to further motivate scientific researchers and improve the overall performance of our science and technology plan.

In terms of specific reform measures, the first is regarding what you said just now about "selecting the best candidates to lead key research projects," which is a top priority in the 14th Five-Year Plan's goal to reform the science and technology program. In fact, during the vaccine research and development project last year, we already implemented such a model. The "best candidates" are actually the clinical task approval documents. When an approval document is obtained, we will provide support in stages and mobilize the research and development forces of all aspects of society. As a matter of fact, the core reform is to design our R&D tasks based on the urgent needs of the high-quality development of our economy and society. In the process of implementation, responsibilities are consolidated through reforms and via something akin to "military orders." Eventually, users will be required to evaluate our results so that our science and technology plans are able to focus more on national needs and strengthen our ability to tackle tough problems.

While organizing major R&D tasks, we also pay attention to the funding of non-consensus projects. In fact, the difficulty of this reform is that as we support non-consensus projects, we need to break the traditional practices of the past, and have a certain degree of tolerance for non-consensus projects. We will innovate in all aspects of the discovery, selection, funding, and evaluation of non-consensus projects, and truly support a batch of non-consensus projects that are groundbreaking and may have a huge impact on future industrial changes.

The third is to support young people. During the 14th Five-Year Plan period, the young scientist project should be fully promoted and implemented for the national science and technology plan. In fact, young people are already the main force in the implementation of our current science and technology plan, but we must build a higher and larger platform for them in the 14th Five-Year Plan period. We must also let outstanding young scientific researchers take the lead, let them undertake tasks independently, organize national projects, boldly innovate in the project implementation process, and at the same time train a reserve of young researchers who can lead the way in China's future scientific and technological development. All these reform measures will be implemented in the first batch of projects during the 14th Five-Year Plan this year, and we welcome everyone to continue to pay attention to this. Thank you.

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