Yin Hejun: Building a Sci-tech Powerhouse, Supporting Young Talents

BEIJING, March 7, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — A report from Science and Technology Daily:

Sci-tech innovation has not only boosted the competitiveness of China’s traditional industries, but also solidified the foundation and injected impetus for the development of new quality productive forces, said Yin Hejun, minister of science and technology, on March 5.

Speaking to journalists at the Ministers’ Corridor after the opening meeting of the second session of the 14th National People’s Congress, Yin elaborated on how to support high-quality development through sci-tech innovation, as well as how to support young people to play a leading role.

Gaining new momentum

Strong sci-tech support is indispensable for promoting high-quality development, said Yin, adding that last year, the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee deepened the reform of the Party and state institutions, and further strengthened the centralized, unified leadership of the Party over science and technology related work.

A new look is emerging in China’s sci-tech undertakings, with enhanced macro coordination of science and technology, accelerated implementation of major sci-tech projects, and strengthened strategic sci-tech forces, added Yin, citing a series of figures.

From the perspective of input, China’s R&D expenditure exceeded 3.3 trillion RMB in 2023, up 8.1 percent year-on-year, with an R&D investment intensity of 2.64 percent. The country’s investment in basic research reached 221.2 billion RMB, a year-on-year increase of 9.3 percent.

From the perspective of output, 950,000 technology contracts were signed last year, with a transaction value of 6.15 trillion RMB, an increase of 28.6 percent over the previous year. The number of authorized patents reached 921,000, up 15.3 percent over the previous year.

From the perspective of progress, a batch of major original achievements were made in quantum technology, integrated circuits, artificial intelligence, biomedicine, and new energy.

The world’s first fourth-generation nuclear power plant officially went into commercial operation, while the C919 large passenger aircraft successfully completed its maiden commercial flight. New energy vehicles, lithium batteries and photovoltaic modules, the so-called new three items that everyone is talking about, registered very pleasing export growth rates last year.

Next, the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) will resolutely implement the decisions and plans of the CPC Central Committee and firmly adhere to the defined responsibilities in the areas of strategies, reforms, plannings and services, said Yin, adding that MOST will strengthen macro coordination, particularly in the coordination of strategic planning, policy measures, major projects, sci-tech strengths, resource platforms and regional innovation.

The ministry will prioritize its work in three areas: stepping up efforts to tackle key problems in science and technology, enhancing the cultivation of strategic forces, and deepening the reform of sci-tech systems and mechanisms, according to Yin.

Supporting young talents

In recent years, a batch of young sci-tech talents have been undertaking major sci-tech projects. MOST is rolling out a series of measures to support them to play a leading role.

Young people, the most creative group with biggest innovation potential, are a dynamic force in promoting the country’s high-level self-reliance and self-strengthening in science and technology, and will become the main force to build the country into a sci-tech powerhouse, said Yin.

Last year, the CPC Central Committee and the State Council released specialized policies and measures to boost the development of young people.

MOST is working tirelessly on the implementation, Yin said, citing measures such as boldly entrusting young people, enhancing their cultivation, and providing corresponding services and guarantees.

He pointed out that, 80 percent of the projects of the National Natural Science Foundation of China are undertaken by young talents under 45 years old. Up to now, more than 1,100 national key R&D programs have been led by young scientists under 40 years old, accounting for more than 20 percent of the total.

Young people are also often seen in many national major sci-tech projects, such as the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System, China’s Lunar Exploration Project, and the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope Project. The average age of many teams in such projects is just a little more than 30 years old.

MOST has rolled out policies to encourage eligible institutes to channel more than half of their fundamental research funds to young sci-tech personnel under 35 years old, said Yin, adding that the cultivation of young talents is listed as one of the key indicators in the evaluation of key labs.

For those engaged in basic, frontier, and crossover researches, the ministry is finding ways to strengthen stable support efforts, and reduce review frequencies, so as to keep young people free from distractions and let them concentrate on R&D.

It will continue to advance a special campaign to lessen the burdens of young sci-tech talents, in order to relieve them from miscellaneous matters, such as procurement, reimbursement and form-filling, and ensure they have sufficient time for R&D.

MOST will make the cultivation of young sci-tech talents as a long-term strategic work, and strive to create a favorable research environment for their development, said Yin, noting that the ministry will provide opportunities, build platforms, and create environments in their work.

The ministry, together with relevant parties, will make every effort to address various concerns of young people, such as salaries and welfare, family life, and physical and mental health.

Efforts will be made to enable young sci-tech talents to settle down to their research, and invigorate their creativity, so as to let them display their talents and fulfill their dreams in the great undertaking of building a sci-tech powerhouse, Yin concluded.

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SOURCE Science and Technology Daily

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