China ranks second in frontier science, tech research: reports

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China ranks second globally in ground-breaking scientific and technological research, according to two reports released on Wednesday.

The annual reports titled "Research Fronts 2021" and "Research Fronts 2021: Active Fields, Leading Countries" were released by the Institutes of Science and Development under the China Academy of Sciences (CAS), the National Science Library and Clarivate.

The reports evaluate the performance of leading countries in "hot" and emerging fields of scientific and technological research.

They show that China's vitality in research, as measured by the Research Leadership Index (RLI), is gaining momentum.

Also, China ranks top in seven broad areas of research covering the fields of agricultural sciences, ecology and environmental science, clinical medicine, chemistry and materials science, mathematics, information science and economics, psychology and other social sciences.

The reports have identified a total of 110 "hot" and 61 emerging research fronts out of 11 broad research areas. Among the 171 research fronts, about one-third are related to COVID-19, according to the reports.

China made big progress in its frontier research on clinical medicine, jumping from 12th place in 2020 to the top position in 2021, thanks mainly to its research on COVID-related diagnosis and treatment.

Speaking at a Wednesday press conference, Yang Fan, deputy director of the Institutes of Science and Development, said the progress on clinical medicine reflects the rapid response of the scientific community to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Steen Lomholt-Thomsen, Chief Revenue Officer of Clarivate, a global analytics firm, said via video at the press conference that the COVID-related research was "instrumental to the world's fight against the disease and will have enormous positive consequence for our world."

He added that China is already in the forefront in many of these new hot and emerging research fronts. 

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