Recently, 50 scientists from nine fields including life science, mathematics and physics, were awarded the Xplorer Prize, which was jointly initiated by Tencent Chairman and CEO Pony Ma and 14 scientists in 2018, to support full-time scientists under the age of 45 in the areas of basic science and cutting-edge technologies in China's mainland. Some of the winners this year were actually in their 30s.
Young people are eager for knowledge and innovation. In recent years, as the development of science and technology accelerates, the ability of scientists to adapt to changes has become all the more important. Young people are quick to pick up new knowledge and sense new developments, and are therefore more likely to be in the forefront of scientific research. Many important innovations in the history of science were achieved when scientists were young.
Since 2011, the proportion of those below 40 in charge of major scientific research projects has greatly increased.
In order to promote the development of young researchers, China established the National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars in 1994. Of all the academicians elected from 1995 to 2017, 228 had received support from the fund.
The system of research fund allocation, evaluation and reward also needs improvement in order to create a favorable environment for the development of young scientists. The incentive policies need be improved to spur innovation, while the one-size-fits-all evaluation system needs reform to properly adjust the proportion of diplomas, theses and actual contributions in evaluation. Only in this way can the creative energy of young scientists be unleashed.
(This is an edited excerpt of an article originally published in People's Daily on November 11)