Norman N. Li, a foreign academician of CAS and academician of the United States' National Academy of Engineering, attended a meeting in Washington, D.C. just before coming to Beijing.
When his peers at the meeting heard Li was going to China for the biennial conference, they expressed willingness to strengthen cooperation with China, said Li. He said he is willing to build a bridge of communication between China and the United States.
Li was not the only person willing to complete that mission. "China's and Japan's research have their own advantages. They can complement each other," said Ryoji Noyori, a newly elected foreign academician of CAS and a Nobel Prize winner. "Cooperation between peoples of different cultural backgrounds can promote the development of science and technology in the world," he added.
Noyori expressed gratitude for the support of his Chinese colleagues in his research career.
Science of reform
Reforming the scientific and technological system was also a major priority at the conference.
The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China has been drawing up the Draft on Deepening China's Scientific and Technological System Reform and Accelerating the Building of the Innovation System, said Hu Jintao, President of China, in a keynote speech at the biennial conference.
In recent years, the country's investment in scientific research had been increasing rapidly, but real progress is yet to be made due to flaws in the status quo, said Xia Jianbai, an academician of the Institute of Semiconductors at CAS.
"Thirty years ago, what we did were mainly follow-up studies, but now we already have the ability to make innovations," said Chu Junhao, a CAS academician and expert on semiconductor devices. "We have enough experts, equipment and capital for innovation. But the existing research system has impeded this process. Reform should be carried out as soon as possible."
Many academicians agree that the allocation of scientific and technological resources has been too dispersed, repetitive and administration-oriented. This has restrained the advancement of China's innovative ability.
They stress that it is essential to first get a comprehensive understanding of the rules of innovation, and then master the advantages and disadvantages of the current scientific and technological system. Only then can China develop a system which is more in accord with the rules of scientific progress, more beneficial to talent cultivation and innovative scientific research, and capable of bringing long-term benefits to the country's sustainable development.
During the conference in the afternoon of June 11, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao gave a speech to the academicians, discussing the prospects for reform.
Wen urged the academicians to attach more importance to company innovations. The key to reform, he said, is to establish a technological innovation system with the businesses as a mainstay.
Companies should not only become a major force in transforming scientific and technological results into industrial products, but also become the major party of technological research and innovation, said Wen.
Brief Introduction to CAS and CAE
The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), founded in November of 1949, is China's national academy for natural sciences. Headquartered in Beijing, it functions as the national scientific think tank, providing advisory and appraisal services on issues ranging from the national economy and social development to scientific and technological progress. The CAS has over 100 institutes, including the Institute of Physics, Institute of Theoretical Physics, National Center for Nanoscience and Technology, and the Institute of Policy and Management. Currently, it has 723 Chinese academicians and 64 foreign academicians. The average age of its 51 newly chosen academicians is 52.6 years old, marking the youngest group ever.
The Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE) is China's national academy for engineering. It was established in 1994, with the mission of initiating strategic studies and providing consultancy services for decision makers on the nation's key issues in engineering and technological sciences. Currently, it has 774 Chinese academicians and 41 foreign academicians. Of its 54 newest members, 38 are under 60 years old and the youngest is 46.
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