China to improve ecosystem for sci-tech innovation

Photo taken on September 7 shows a father and his son interacting with a robot at the 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) held in Beijing. (Photo by Chen Xiaogen/People’s Daily Online)

China should intensify efforts to improve the ecosystem for sci-tech innovation and build platforms for scientists and scientific professionals to put their talent to good use, so as to make sci-tech innovations mushroom in a steady flow, stressed Chinese President Xi Jinping at a symposium attended by scientists in Beijing on Sept. 11.


China boasts a great number of scientific professionals and hefty R&D spending and has the preliminary conditions for competing with international advanced technologies in some fields, said Xi, who is also the general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee.


Technological innovation is the new engine for China’s development. By holding it, China can grasp the key to the country’s overall development.


Since the 18th CPC National Congress, China has made historic achievements and transformations in science and technology. The country’s strength in science and technology sector is undergoing a transition from quantity accumulation to quality leap, and from breakthroughs in certain fields to improvement of systematic capabilities.


Still, it should be noted that the country is confronted with many practical problems in economic and social development, efforts to improve people’s livelihood, and national defense construction, which makes it need innovation and scientific and technological solutions, more than ever, to boost economic and social development as well as improve people’s living standards.


Backward development in science and technology is becoming an increasingly prominent problem in many fields.


China’s planting and processing technologies for agricultural products are relatively lagging behind, while some key components, parts and raw materials are dependent on imports, oil and gas exploration and development, new energy technologies are underdeveloped, and the fields of biomedicine and medical equipment are also facing lagging development.


The current situation and China’s tasks require the country to make sure that the scientific and technological development must target the global science frontiers, serve the main economic battlefield, and strive to fulfill the significant needs of the country and benefit people’s lives and health, so as to resolve faster some key issues that restrict the development of sci-tech innovation.


To achieve the goal, it is necessary to adhere to demand-oriented and problem-oriented strategy.


For starters, China needs to solve problems regarding defining scientific research topics. The choice of scientific research fields should be made on the basis of urgent and long-term needs of the country so as to truly tackle practical problems.


The country should speed up development of technologies that can lead to rapid breakthroughs and solve problems in a timely manner as well as prepare the ground for the development of strategic technologies that require long-term efforts.


The optimum allocation of scientific and technological resources plays an essential role in scientific and technological innovation.


It is important to focus efforts on the construction of innovation systems so as to overcome such problems as decentralization, inefficiency, and repetition. The country should also optimize the allocation of superior resources, and advance research on core technologies in important areas.


Basic research is of fundamental importance to scientific and technological innovation.


Many of China’s technological bottlenecks are essentially caused by backward basic theoretical research, which makes it fail to figure out issues at the fundamental and primary level.


At the recent symposium, Xi called for persistence in strengthening basic research, free scientific exploration, exchanges and debates, as well as efforts to drive the discovery of scientific laws through working on major scientific and technological issues so that basic research and applied research can promote each other.


The fundamental source of scientific and technological innovation is people. The history of science and technology has proven that whoever has the first-class talents and scientists for innovation can gain an advantage in technological innovation.


China need to respect the law of talent growth and that of scientific research activities, and cultivate a large number of world-class sci-tech talents in strategically important fields, scientific and technological leaders, and high-performing innovative teams.


China’s science and technology teams boast great potential for innovation. The country must understand that the key is to unleash the great potential by deepening the reform of sci-tech systems.


Xi believes it essential to accelerate the reform of scientific research institutions, give greater autonomy to institutes and universities in their research activities and greater say to leading innovation talents in determining technological research domains and using funds, as well as resolutely fight evaluation of talents solely according to their academic papers, titles, diplomas and awards rather than actual contributions.


International cooperation in science and technology is a general trend of the times. The more blockades and suppression China may be faced with, the more it shouldn’t isolate itself from the rest of the world.


Instead, the country needs to implement an international sci-tech cooperation strategy featuring openness, inclusiveness and shared benefits and build itself into a broad stage for global sci-tech cooperation.


Once society has a technological need, that need can advance the development of science better than ten universities, Xi quoted German historian Friedrich Engels in his speech at the symposium.


Powerful technologies are a necessity for China if it wants to become stronger and create a better life for its people.


By removing all ideological and institutional barriers that restrict technological innovation, and emancipating and stimulating the huge potential of science and technology as the primary productive force to the greatest extent, China will certainly be able to seize the commanding heights of technological competition and future development, keep the decision-making power in science and technology and the initiative in the development of science and technology securely in its own hands, and march forward toward its goals.

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