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Shanghai speeding up scientific development

Innovation to focus on biomedicine, integrated circuits, artificial intelligence

By ZHANG ZHIHAO | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-09-30 09:32
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A news briefing organized by the State Council Information Office, Sept 29, 2021. [Photo/CCTV]

Shanghai will accelerate its development into a world-class science and technology center during the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25), officials said on Wednesday.

Integrated circuits, biomedicine, artificial intelligence and several other industries will be focuses and drivers in Shanghai's transformation into a global innovation hub, Lin Nianxiu, deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission, told a news briefing organized by the State Council Information Office.

Lin said Shanghai's Zhangjiang Comprehensive National Science Center is the core pillar for the city's rise as an international science center due to it being the home of numerous advanced scientific instruments and research platforms, which have produced many world-class original breakthroughs in recent years.

Wu Qing, vice-mayor of Shanghai, said scientists from the city contributed 32 percent of the Chinese papers published last year in top journals such as Nature, Science and Cell.

Examples of Shanghai's recent scientific achievements include major breakthroughs in plasma etching machine technology for chipmaking, a new drug to treat Alzheimer's disease named GV-971, and new advanced equipment for medical imaging and diagnosis, Wu said.

Shanghai has also been ranked the most attractive Chinese city for foreign talent for eight consecutive years, he said.

"The basic framework for Shanghai's development into a science and innovation center is already in place, and it has a solid foundation to reach new heights during the 14th Five-Year Plan period," Wu said.

By 2025, Shanghai aims to have 4.5 percent of its GDP devoted to research and development. Basic research would make up 12 percent of the city's total R&D budget by then, Wu said.

To achieve these goals, the city will strengthen research in basic sciences and core technologies, attract more quality talent, facilitate reforms to fund and commercialize scientific output, and enhance international cooperation, he said.

Wu said foreign talent and companies have contributed greatly to Shanghai's technological rise. Foreign capital accounted for over 40 percent of R&D spending by large companies and industries in the city.

At the end of August, there were around 500 foreign-funded R&D centers in the city, and the number is set to rise to 560 by the end of 2025, Wu said.

To promote an open and inclusive innovation ecosystem, Wu said the Shanghai municipal government will provide more financial services, stronger intellectual property protection, and greater convenience for foreign experts working and living in the city.

Li Meng, vice-minister of science and technology, said Shanghai plays a key role in researching strategic fields that are crucial for the nation's socioeconomic development, and is a key driver for China's growth into an innovative country.

The city houses 45 State Key Laboratories, ranging from information technology and artificial intelligence to advanced manufacturing, he said.

Li said the ministry will collaborate with other government departments to take full advantage of Shanghai's strong research ability and quality talent, and support the city to play a bigger role in brain sciences, quantum communication, quantum computing and other major research initiatives.

Shanghai is also becoming an international technology transfer and trading center, Li said.

Since the launch of the city's Global Tech-Mall in June last year, the platform has attracted over 14 million patents, more than 4,000 registered technology companies, and a planned investment of 16.9 billion yuan ($2.61 billion).

"All in all, Shanghai's science and technology development must maintain a global outlook and uphold global standards, and strive to become a key hub for global innovations and the technology market," he said.

Zhang Tao, vice-president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said the academy will support the city to make original breakthroughs, build more scientific infrastructure, promote the sharing of data and research equipment, and launch more international scientific projects.

Apart from supporting Shanghai's scientific initiatives, the academy will also focus the city's talent training efforts by building small but world-class international research universities to nurture top scientists and teams, he said.

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