Scientists' research must align with national needs

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This is an excerpt from a speech delivered by Hou Jianguo, vice-president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, at the launch ceremony of the academy's first education center on patriotism in July.

My fellow scientists, we are gathered here today to witness the launch of our academy's first education center on patriotism and the Communist Party of China.

Its goal is to allow the new generation of young scientists to learn from their mentors, and see how they have been loyal and devoted to the improvement of the Party and the people.

The Party and the nation have great expectations for science, technology and innovation. President Xi Jinping has emphasized on many occasions that powerful technologies are needed so China and its people's livelihoods can improve.

Xi has also asked us to uphold the honorable tradition of contributing to the nation through science and technology, seek truth and knowledge, be innovative and practical, and fuse our personal aspirations with the development of the country.

Since the academy's founding in 1949, we have had a group of loyal, capable and patriotic scientists who have dedicated themselves to overcoming difficulties and benefiting the nation's scientific and socioeconomic growth. These achievements have ranged from atomic bombs, satellites and computers to producing penicillin and synthesizing insulin, as well as other stranglehold issues that were limiting development.

In time of need, our scientists answered the nation's call and tackled extremely difficult challenges head on. And yet, most of these accomplished scientists are unknown to the world - they are national heroes!

In the past five years, the academy has made many astonishing scientific achievements, including the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope, the Micius quantum-science satellite, the Wukong Dark Matter Particle Explorer satellite and the Jiaolong deep-sea submersible.

These achievements encouraged our scientific community, filled society with a passion for innovation and paved the way for China to become a global technological powerhouse.

However, we are still lacking in basic research and creating original, groundbreaking work, as well as producing mid-to high-end products. These issues are severely limiting the long-term growth of our overall scientific development.

We must be willing to pour our hearts and souls into tackling a single issue for our whole lives. We must keep pushing scientific frontiers, keep breaking ground in key scientific fields and keep planting our success in areas where the nation needs it most.

On July 18, after 21 years of hard work, researchers from the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica made a breakthrough in their medicine to treat Alzheimer's disease. The medicine has now passed Phase III of clinical trials, the most difficult phase that tests a drug's potency and safety.

Their persistence is the key to success and the success of the Chinese nation. Looking back at history, the path of innovation is punctuated with obstacles, but young talent is the main driving force behind China's scientific development and its great rejuvenation.

The rejuvenation of the Chinese nation is no easy task, and young scientists must be ready to make more efforts and sacrifices. Continuous efforts by future generations can ensure the further development of the Party and the nation.

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