SCIO briefing on China's strategy of promoting innovation-driven development and efforts to build China into an innovation-oriented country

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Wang Zhigang:

During the past five years, we have strengthened basic research, made technological breakthroughs in key and core areas, and advanced our technological capabilities. We have achieved a group of important results in various aspects, including quantum information, iron-based superconductivity, stem cells and synthetic biology. The Chang'e-4 probe successfully landed on the far side of the moon; the last BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) satellite has been launched to complete a global navigation constellation; the passenger aircraft C919 completed its maiden flight; the Dark Matter Particle Explorer Wukong and quantum science satellite Mozi were launched; construction of facilities for magnetically confined nuclear fusion and the China Spallation Neutron Source (CSNS)saw significant breakthroughs, and the layout of the key national laboratories has been speeded up, providing more support to high-level scientific research.

During the past five years, we have deepened the integration of science and technology with the overall development of economy and society, and made fresh progress in supporting and leading high-quality development. Major projects in science and technology have been successfully concluded, and major achievements recorded in mobile communications, new medicine development and nuclear power. The high-speed Fuxing bullet trains are now in operation; the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge was opened to traffic, and the applications of 5G, artificial intelligence, block chain and new energy have been accelerated. The construction of innovation centers in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area have been accelerated. A total of 21 national innovation demonstration zones and 169 new- and high-tech development zones have become pioneers for local innovation and development. The GDP of new- and high-tech development zones increased to 12.2 trillion yuan from 8.1 trillion yuan at the start of the period, an increase of more than 50% in five years. The number of new- and high-tech enterprises increased to 225,000from 79,000. After the outbreak of the epidemic, national new- and high-tech development zones and new- and high-tech enterprises have played important roles in resuming production and supporting the economy to remain stable. From January to June, the operational revenue of national new- and high-tech development zones reached 3.9 trillion yuan, with a year-on-year growth of 14.7%; total profit was 351.58 billion yuan, up 17.7% year-on-year; the number of newly registered enterprises reached 223,000, a year-on-year gain of 11.9%. Innovation and entrepreneurship have showed a strong momentum of development.

During the past five years, we have constantly deepened reform of the science and technology system, and further improved the environment for innovation. We have pushed forward the reform of national science and technology management institutions, and completed the top-level design for innovation-driven development. The framework of reforming the management system for science and technology has been basically established, and reforms in the areas of management for science and technology initiatives, application of scientific and technological achievements, sharing of resources, evaluation and reward, and income distribution, have all made substantial progress. We have press ahead with reforms to streamline administration and delegate power, improve regulation, and upgrade services. We have initiated seven actions to reduce the burden of researchers, and made efforts to change their work and study styles. A favorable environment for innovation and entrepreneurship has been created through the advancement of Science and Technology Innovation Board, or STAR Market, the national seed fund for encouraging the application of scientific and technological advances, and maker spaces.

During the past five years, we have cultivated a large number of scientific and technological personnel, and further improved the talent structure. The number of R&D personnel (full-time equivalent)increased from 3.76 million in 2015 to 4.8 million in 2019.An increasing number of leading professionals and innovation teams keep emerging, and young scientific and technological professionals have gradually become the main force in scientific research. We have established a new talent evaluation system oriented towards innovation ability and quality contribution, and are exploring ways to introduce international peer evaluation. We have also promoted a mechanism for optimizing and integrating work permits, talent visas and permanent residence, and carried out trials of all-in-one cards for providing services for high-end foreign talents.

During the past five years, we have become actively involved in the global innovation network, and formed an open and cooperative pattern of S&T research that is all-dimensional, multi-tiered and wide-ranging. We have further strengthened inter-governmental dialogues on innovation cooperation, and continued to implement S&T cooperation and partnership plans. All the key R&D programs are open to institutions in Hong Kong and Macao SARs. We have made steady progress in major international scientific programs and projects, and the Belt and Road Science, Technology and Innovation Cooperation Action Plan has been further implemented.

All these achievements relied on the correct leadership and scientific decision-making of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, benefited from strong support of all local governments and departments, and the hard work and selfless dedication of all S&T workers and R&D personnel. I would like to express my highest respect and heartfelt thanks to all researchers and management staff. At the same time, I would also like to thank friends from all sectors of society, including the media, and friends from other countries for your understanding, respect and support to China's scientific and technological innovation.

In the following five years, under the guidance of the Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, we will further implement the strategy of innovation-driven development, coordinate development and security, adhere to the principle that "scientific and technological development must target the global science frontiers, serve the main economic battlefield, strive to fulfill significant needs of the country and benefit people's lives and health." We will give full play to S&T innovation in fostering a new development architecture and promoting high-quality development, continuously make progress in building China into a country of innovators, and strive for the goal of developing China into a world leader in science and technology.

Next, I would like to answer your questions, thank you.

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