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As early as 1955, the government promulgated the Interim Regulations of the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Awards for Science, establishing awards for major scientific and technological achievements. In 1984, the government established the Awards for Scientific and Technological Progress. Five national awards were established in May 1999, covering science and technology, natural sciences, technical invention, scientific and technological progress, and international cooperation. These are presented by the President of China at the annual National Science and Technology Awards Ceremony.

In January 2006, CAS academician and meteorologist Ye Duzheng and CAS academician and hepatologist Wu Mengchao each won a 2005 National Top Science and Technology Award. At the same time, 38 awards were given for natural sciences, 40 for technical invention, and 236 for scientific and technological progress. Before this, seven scientists have won the National Top Science and Technology Award.

Local governments and non-governmental organizations have also established science and technology awards. Many enterprises, organizations and individuals both in China and abroad have established regular science and technology awards  granted to individuals directly engaged in research. These awards fire the enthusiasm of scientists. Today approved awards include the DuPont prize for innovation, the Li Siguang geology prize, the Zhan Tianyou prize for civil engineering, the General Motors prize for Chinese scientific and technological achievement, and the Bayer prize for young scientists.

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