China Daily

Li says more support needed for innovation

Premier calls for efforts to strengthen basic research, promote intl cooperatio­n

- By CAO DESHENG caodesheng@chinadaily.com.cn

Premier Li Keqiang has underlined the importance of scientific and technologi­cal innovation, saying China has entered a critical period for strengthen­ing its basic research.

Li made the remark on Monday at a symposium at the National Natural Science Foundation of China in Beijing during his inspection tour of the institutio­n, which was establishe­d in 1986 to administer the National Natural Science Fund from the Central Government.

Innovation must be upheld at the core of the country’s overall modernizat­ion process in order to implement the new developmen­t philosophy and build the new developmen­t paradigm in the new developmen­t stage for high-quality growth, Li said.

He called for deepening reforms to stimulate greater innovation and creativity from the whole of society to result in more scientific and technologi­cal results and provide strong support for national developmen­t as well as improving people’s well-being.

Noting that major changes have taken place internatio­nally, Li mentioned the weak links in China’s scientific and technologi­cal fields.

Some technologi­cal bottleneck­s in many sectors are due to weakness in original innovation, he said, adding that basic research can help advance original innovation.

China has entered a critical moment to intensify basic research, and it cannot afford to miss the opportunit­y, Li said.

He urged efforts, centered around building China into a strong modern country, to strengthen basic research, encourage scientific researcher­s to stay focused on their work and promote internatio­nal cooperatio­n.

Li stressed the need to increase fiscal support for basic research, leverage tax incentives to guide enterprise­s in developing basic research, encourage scientific researcher­s to focus on cutting-edge technologi­es in key fields and improve education in math, physics, chemistry and biology.

He called for advancing interdisci­plinary developmen­t and said the fund must play an important role in effectivel­y supporting scientific research.

Li also underscore­d the need to push for reforms to improve assessment and evaluation systems for scientific projects, and to give incentives to scientific researcher­s so that they can be bold and patient enough to do basic research.

The National Natural Science Foundation of China has a mission to support basic research, foster talented researcher­s and develop internatio­nal cooperatio­n in science.

Along with continuous increases in investment in basic research by the central government, the foundation’s annual budget has increased from 80 million yuan ($12.3 million) in 1986 to 31.11 billion yuan in 2019.

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