Promoting role of new national system for scientific breakthroughs

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The fourth plenary session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), held last October, decided to develop a new type of national system for breakthroughs in core technologies under the conditions of the socialist market economy.

At a meeting held on May 14, the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee stressed that China will draw on the strength of the new type of national system to promote science and technology innovation and improve developmental capacity of key links, areas and products.

Sui Jigang, a researcher from the Institutes of Science and Development at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said that, differing from the traditional one focusing on government plans, the new type of national system is an innovative institutional arrangement developed under the conditions of a socialist market economy.

Featuring an overall plan and optimized mechanisms of the country, it aims to promote major innovative projects involving modernization through integrated resources and coordinated efforts, in order to improve China's overall competitiveness and ensure national security, Sui explained.

Liang Zheng, professor of the School of Public Policy & Management at Tsinghua University said that, in an environment based on market principles, the new system will be conducive to mobilizing the strengths offered by government, enterprises and society, combining market mechanisms and State guidance, as well as creating synergy between government, industries as well as academic and research institutes.

In a relatively open development environment, the system will help the country achieve strategic goals in a more independent way by integrating resources from home and abroad, Liang said.

However, Long Haibo, a researcher from the Development Research Center of the State Council said the new system is not applicable to all fields of science and technology, but only to core and key technologies mainly related to national security.

In addition, the system attaches more importance to chief scientists than traditional leading groups, he added.

Sui stressed government and the market need to establish a co-operative relationship with well-defined functions.

"The role of government should be given full play in developing top-level design, strategic plans and policies as well as guiding the market. In areas related to long-term development, major interests and security, the government should organize major programs and projects, shape a chain of innovation matching the overall industrial chain, promote resource integration, and leverage the institutional advantages of concentrating efforts for important events and initiatives," Sui said.

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