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China's annual R&D spend at new high

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-03-02 14:54

BEIJING -- China spent a record 1 trillion yuan ($160.6 billion) on research and development in 2012, of which 74 percent came from companies, said the minister of science and technology on Friday.

China's research personnel reached 3.2 million in 2012, the highest across the world, said Wan Gang, who doubles as vice chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

The value of technical contracts inked last year in China exceeded 600 billion yuan while the aggregate output value of high-tech industries topped 10 trillion yuan, he said.

Calling 2012 "a landmark year" for China's science and technology development, Wan said that a special team had been assembled by the State Council to lead reform of the country's scientific and technological system to strengthen top-level design for this regard.

Since the ministry introduced online evaluation and administrative approval of research projects, domestic researchers are estimated to have saved 70 million yuan in total on traveling expenses and 60,000 work days annually, according to Wan.

Wan said, "To build China into an innovative country, I think we must confidently stick to the path of self-dependent innovation with Chinese characteristics, and at the same time, broaden our horizons to learn from foreign countries and share our experiences with others."

The key task for his ministry is to facilitate original innovation, promote rational deployment and sharing of scientific know-how and equipment, step up training of young researchers and skilled personnel, and to improve the environment for research and development, he added.

Research on basic science, frontier technologies and commonly needed spheres will receive more support from central government public finances. Meanwhile, efforts will be made to improve the innovation capability of small and medium-sized and micro enterprises, Wan said.

He went onto say that China will remain zero-tolerant over academic fraud and crack down on fabrication.

In early 2011, the ministry revoked the State Scientific and Technological Progress Award given in 2005 to Li Liansheng, former professor of Xi'an Jiaotong University, due to plagiarism and fabrication of data in Li's winning project.

"We will seriously deal with every public whistle-blowing and name and shame those responsible without flinching," Wan promised.

Asked about the smoggy weather that has plagued a large swath of the Chinese mainland since late last year, he said a fundamental way to solve the problem is to speed up the transformation of China's economic growth patterns.

According to the minister, "China should boost research on green and clean production technologies and facilitate the development of key equipment in sewage disposal. Chinese can retrieve clean water and blue skies only through having a greener way of life and production."

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