SCIO press conference on implementing the innovation-driven development strategy to build China into a leading country in science and technology

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Red Star News:

Innovation in science and technology is rooted in people. Therefore, what progress has the MOST made in training and developing scientists and technologists? Additionally, what impact has reducing the workload of researchers had? Furthermore, what measures will be taken to stimulate innovation and development potential of researchers, particularly young talents? Thank you.

Xie Min:

The essence of innovation-driven development is talent-driven development. Talent serves as the fundamental element and the starting point as well. All science and technology innovation activities revolve around talented individuals. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, China has been continuously deepening the reform of talent assessment, improving the incentive mechanism for science and technology, thereby fully unleashing the vitality of talent. The MOST has always placed human resources development in science and technology high on the agenda, giving priority to addressing the concerns, thoughts, and expectations of scientists and technologists. We have created a favorable ecological environment for innovation in science and technology and made good progress in human resources development in science and technology.

First, talent development has achieved a simultaneous improvement in both quantity and quality. In 2022, the full-time equivalent of R&D personnel in China exceeded 6 million person-years, maintaining the world's first position for many years. The structure of the talent pool has been further optimized, with more leading talents and high-level innovation teams emerging, including more outstanding young scientists and technologists. The ability and role of science and technology talent in supporting high-quality development have been significantly enhanced.

Second, the systems and mechanisms for stimulating the vitality of science and technology talent are increasingly improving. Last year, China issued the Opinions on Improving the Incentive Mechanism for Science and Technology to strengthen incentives for missions and contributions. The MOST has worked with the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Education, the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences to solve the problems and difficulties encountered by scientists and technologists and supported them by easing their burden, and providing encouragement. We have deepened reforms in evaluations of programs, human resources, and organizations. We have rolled out many measures to reduce the reliance on papers, education, qualifications and awards in title assessment and emphasized moral character, ability, performance and contribution. We have continued our efforts to reduce their burden and introduced more than 10 specific measures, such as reducing application forms for projects, simplifying expense claim procedures, and streamlining organizations.

We have taken further steps to enhance the development of young science and technology talent by implementing new initiatives in five aspects, namely, encouraging them to take on greater responsibilities, providing more opportunities, reducing evaluations, giving them more free time, and improving their physical and mental health. Our support enables them to play a significant role in their work. Over 80% of researchers participating in key national R&D projects are under the age of 45. 

Third, we have accelerated the internationalization of our science and technology talent pool. International talent exchanges help promote the spread and sharing of knowledge. China is also a fertile land for innovation among international scientists and technologists. We have implemented a more open talent policies and facilitated the work and life of foreign talent in China. With a focus on sustainable development, we have launched joint R&D plans and innovation, and engaged in collaborative research with more than 50 countries and regions, building a hub for attracting and nurturing outstanding talent in scientific research and innovation.

Next, in accordance with the decisions of the 20th CPC National Congress and the guiding principles of the Central Conference on Talent-related Work, the MOST will continue to take coordinated action in education development, innovation in science and technology, and human resources development. We will further implement the workforce development strategy in the new era. With the goal to accelerate the building of a world-class talent center and innovation hub, we will strengthen national mission-oriented development and coordinate domestic and international human resources. We will also work to reform the systems and mechanisms of science and technology to strengthen services, guarantees, and incentives, and create a favorable environment for innovation and entrepreneurship. We will build a large, well-structured and high-caliber pool of human resources in science and technology to provide strong talent support for China's high-level scientific and technological self-reliance. Thank you.

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