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Firms Offer R&D Advice

A panel of top multinational R&D directors will advise officials on science and technology as Shanghai looks to stop home-grown innovation escaping overseas.

Fifteen Chinese and foreign senior officials from the R&D departments of firms including General Electric, Dupont and Roche were appointed to the panel yesterday by the Science and Technology Commission. The panel will sit in on meetings with government officials.

More than 170 research and development centers have been set up by foreign investors in the city.

New technology developed by these centers does not always benefit China but is often exported overseas for application in foreign markets, panel members said yesterday.

"The centers take advantage of local resources but the results may not be applicable here. It's based on the corporations' strategy," said Cai Ya, director of Unilever Research China.

Bijan Dorri, managing director of GE China Technology Center, said the government should offer incentives to companies to tackle this problem.

The panel will also offer the multinationals a platform form which to air grievances, and give the city advice on formulating a strategy for the future development of science and technology, said Li Yiping, the commission director. .

"There will be more challenges during the city's new round of development which calls for help from experts and professionals," said Li.

"The meetings will not only help us gain from their expertise, career background and experience, but can also help the companies with the problems we know they have from time to time."

Dorri said the city should try to encourage scientists to make a career from research rather than use it as a stepping stone to management by improving the science and technology environment.

Panel members said they hoped that by getting involved in the city's research and development platform, they could cooperate closer with local enterprises, universities and institutes.

(Shanghai Daily May 27, 2006)

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