Acad­e­mies shift fo­cus to younger schol­ars

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By LU­OWANG­SHU lu­owang­shu@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China’s top sci­ence and en­gi­neer­ing bod­ies aim to se­lect younger aca­demi­cians and cut ad­min­is­tra­tive in­ter­fer­ence among schol­ars in 2015.

The Chi­nese Academy of Sciences and the Chi­nese Academy of En­gi­neer­ing be­gan to se­lect new aca­demi­cians on Jan 1, the first elec­tions since the aca­demi­cian reg­u­la­tion re­forms.

The two acad­e­mies re­leased de­tailed amended reg­u­la­tions on aca­demi­cian se­lec­tion and man­age­ment in De­cem­ber, low­er­ing the age of can­di­dacy and for­bid­ding the nom­i­na­tion of civil work­ers with ad­min­is­tra­tive ti­tles higher than di­rec­tor level.

In ad­di­tion, gov­ern­ments, univer­si­ties and en­ter­prises are in­el­i­gi­ble to rec­om­mend aca­demi­cians. Nom­i­na­tions can only be pro­posed by cur­rent aca­demi­cians and aca­demic fed­er­a­tions.

“The new reg­u­la­tions en­cour­age schol­ars to fo­cus on re­search in­stead of ad­min­is­tra­tive work,” said Zhang Boli, aca­demi­cian with the CAE and an ex­pert on med­i­cal re­search.

The ti­tle of aca­demi­cian is the high­est lifetime ten­ure honor for Chi­nese sci­ence and en­gi­neer­ing schol­ars. It at­tracts the in­ter­est of ad­min­is­tra­tors, in­clud­ing high-rank­ing gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials.

Re­cent years have seen the ti­tle bring lu­cra­tive prof­its to mem­bers, in­clud­ing re­ceiv­ing fi­nan­cial ben­e­fits from giv­ing lec­tures and talks un­der the ti­tle of be­ing an aca­demi­cian. Pre­vi­ous re­ports said that some aca­demi­cians charged more than 10,000 yuan

Chi­nese ($1,660) for just one lec­ture.

Gu Haib­ing, a pro­fes­sor of eco­nomics at Ren­min Univer­sity of China, found in a study that aca­demi­cians’ pow­ers over al­lo­cat­ing re­search funds and eval­u­at­ing re­search re­sults could be abused.

The amend­ment reg­u­la­tions also ban gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials from buy­ing the ti­tle.

Me­dia re­ports in 2013 said that Zhang Shuguang, a for­mer rail­way of­fi­cial, con­fessed at a bribery trial that he at­tempted to buy votes in the elec­tion for a CAS aca­demi­cian ti­tle.

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