Ministry's Science Plan Put Under Microscope

In the future, the country's researchers will pay greater attention to such issues as population, health care, environmental protection, and work place safety in a bid to improve people's living standards, the Ministry of Science and Technology announced.

One product of this research is expected to be the development of new technologies to help prevent natural disasters, reduce the spread of serious diseases and improve safety on work sites.

This increased research and the attendant creation of new technologies are just part of the science development strategy for the 10th Five-Year Plan period (2001-05), according to the Minister of Science and Technology Zhu Lilan, who spoke at a national conference on science and technology which opened in Beijing.

In the realm of industry, Zhu said further development of information technology (IT) will be the country's primary focus.

Specific sectors within the general IT industry that will receive particular attention include micro-electronics, computer software, communications, electronic business, long distance learning, and computerized finance, insurance and taxation services.

Other industrial sectors that will continue to be emphasized are space and aviation technology, bioengineering and new materials.

Zhu added that, in order to restructure and clean up traditional industries, the country will increasingly promote the employment of advanced manufacturing techniques, energy conservation measures and clean production technologies.

"Technological innovation and the subsequent commercialization of those innovations will be the strategic guidelines for scientific development during the 10th Five-Year Plan period," she said.

As for agriculture, the improvement of produce quality and the cultivation of high-yield crops and animal products will top the agenda in the next five years.

In order to increase farmers' incomes, the country will try to develop food processing into a rural pillar industry, said Zhu.

She added that water-saving technologies will be increasingly introduced in the countryside to help ease the country's water shortage.

Vice-Minister of Science and Technology Xu Guanhua called for the nation's research institutes to accelerate reforms on personnel and management systems in accordance with the market economy.

By the end of next year, all academic institutes attached to ministries or commissions and regional governmental departments will either become technological firms, merge with enterprises or universities, or function as intermediate technology agencies, he said.

(China Daily10/31/2000)

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