Several Opinions of the State Council on Comprehensively Strengthening Basic Research
Several Opinions of the State Council on Comprehensively Strengthening Basic Research
· Document Number：No. 4  of the State Council
· Area of Law： Science and Technology
· Level of Authority： Regulatory Documents of the State Council
· Date issued：01-19-2018
· Effective Date：01-19-2018
· Status： Effective
· Issuing Authority： State Council
Several Opinions of the State Council on Comprehensively Strengthening Basic Research
(No. 4  of the State Council)
The people's governments of all provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the Central Government; all ministries and commissions of the State Council; and all institutions directly under the State Council:
Great basic research is the foundation stone of building a scientific and technological superpower. Currently, a new round of scientific-technical revolution and industry revolution is emerging, scientific exploration is evolving at an increasingly faster pace, disciplines overlap and are consolidated more closely, and prospective breakthroughs in some basic scientific issues are on the horizon. The major developed countries across the world are generally enhancing basic research strategies and arrangements, and the global scientific and technological competition continues to intensify in basic research. Attributed to years' development, basic research of China saw leapfrog progress, conspicuous rising of the overall level, increasing improvement of its international influence, and its continuously bigger role in supporting and leading economic and social development. Nevertheless, compared with the requirements for building a scientific and technological superpower, there is persistent prominent weakness in basic research of China, the weakest link of mathematics and other basic sciences, a lack of significant original achievements, insufficient investment in basic research and an unreasonable structure, a bad shortage of top talents and teams, a much needed improvement to the assessment and incentive rules, inadequate attention from enterprises, and needed further optimization of the environment in which whole society supports basic research. For the purposes of strengthening basic research, dramatically improving the capability or original innovation, and consolidating the foundation for building an innovation-oriented country and a scientific and technological superpower, the following opinions are hereby offered.
I. General requirements
1. Guiding ideology.
The spirit of the 19th CPC National Congress shall be comprehensively implemented, the Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era shall be used as guidance, the new concept of innovative, coordinated, green, open, and shared development shall be put into practice, according to the decisions and arrangements of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, the strategy of developing the country by relying on science and education and the innovation-driven development strategy shall be carried out in depth, the role of science and technology as the primary productive force shall be maximized, the cutting-edge science and technology in the world shall be aimed at, basic research shall be enhanced, the reform of the scientific and technological system shall be furthered, the consolidated and innovative development of basic research and applied research shall be boosted, significant breakthroughs in forward-looking basic research and leading original achievements shall be made vigorously, the capacity for innovation shall be fully heightened, and the building of an innovation-oriented country and scientific and technological superpower shall be advanced in all aspects, so as to provide powerful support for accelerating the building of a great modern socialist country and accomplishing the Chinese Dream of the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
2. Basic principles.
Following the scientific pattern and adhering to classification guidance: The characteristics of scientific research including flash inspiration, casual manners, and uncertain paths shall be respected, the environment and culture favorable to innovation shall be created, and scientists shall be encouraged to give free rein to their imagination, propose bold hypotheses, and conscientiously seek confirmation. The organic combination of free exploration with objective orientation shall be promoted, the basic research in the free exploration category shall focus on unknown scientific issues, and new scientific heights shall be scaled bravely; and the basic research in the objective orientation category shall be closely combined with the need for economic and social development, and the forward-looking arrangements in strategic fields shall be strengthened.
Highlighting original innovation and promoting consolidated development: The improvement of the capability of original innovation shall be placed in a more prominent position, the confidence in innovation shall be boosted, the most cutting-edge scientific issues shall be challenged bravely, more original theories shall be produced, and more original discoveries shall be made. The integration of science and education, military and civilian integration, and profound integration of enterprises, universities and scientific research institutes shall be enhanced, demand orientation shall be adhered to, and the transition from basic research to applied research and to industrialization and their consolidation shall be promoted, so as to promote the effective connection between the innovative factors in different industries and fields.
Innovating on systems and mechanisms and heightening vitality for innovation: People-oriented approaches shall be highlighted, the reform of the management of scientific research projects and funds shall be furthered, and a relaxing scientific research environment shall be created, so as to allow scientific researchers to be devoted to basic research for a long time. The classification assessment mechanism shall be improved to motivate and trigger the creativity of scientists, scientific research institutes, universities, enterprises and other parties. The administrative manners of the government shall be innovated on, and enterprises shall be directed to intensify basic research to improve their market competitiveness.
Augmenting collaborative innovation and expanding opening up and cooperation: Subject to the new requirements of big science, big data, and the Internet era, collaboration, cooperation, crowd sourcing, crowd funding, and other new manners of scientific research activities shall be vigorously explored to solve difficult scientific issues and share innovative achievements. Adhering to a global prospective, innovating on the talent cultivation mechanism, and introducing talents from all sources: Voluntary integration into the global innovation network shall be undertaken, the opening up and cooperation in the capability of innovation shall be strengthened, and a new international cooperation platform shall be built, so as to jointly tackle the significant scientific challenges drawing global attention.
Augmenting stable support and optimizing the structure of investment: The stable support of the central treasury for basic research shall be augmented, a diversified investment mechanism for basic research shall be developed, and local governments, enterprises and social forces shall be directed to invest more in basic research. An investment mechanism featuring a match between stable support and competitive support shall be established, and the comprehensive development of scientific research, talent cultivation and base building shall be promoted.
3. Development goals.
By 2020, the overall level and international influence of China's basic research will have been significantly raised or improved, world top rankings will have been secured in several important fields, a group of significant original scientific achievements will have been made in the important directions of cutting-edge sciences, a group of forward-looking and significant scientific issues meeting national strategic demand will have been solved, and the capability of source supply supporting and leading innovation-driven development will have been conspicuously heightened, so as to provide powerful support for building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects and an innovation-oriented country.
By 2035, the overall level and international influence of China's basic research will have soared, a leading position in the global development of more significant fields will have been secured, and a group of original scientific achievements having an important impact on global scientific and technological development and the progress in human civilization will have been made, so as to lay a solid foundation for achieving socialist modernization and China becoming a top innovation-oriented country.
By the 2050s, China will have been built into a major scientific center and innovative height in the world, and a group of master scientists making significant original scientific achievements and at internationally top level will have sprung up, so as to provide powerful scientific support for building a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, powerful, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful and a scientific and technological superpower.
II. Improving the distribution of basic research
4. Enhancing the systematic arrangements for basic research. Attention to education shall be adhered to, basic research shall be strengthened utterly, and more priority shall be given to mathematics, physics, and other critical basic sciences. The distribution of sciences shall be improved, the balanced and coordinated development of basic science and applied science shall be promoted, and interdisciplinary research shall be encouraged, so as to promote the overlapping and integration of natural sciences, humanistic and social sciences, and other different sciences. Cutting-edge basic research shall be augmented, exploration shall be undertaken centering on cosmic evolution, structure of materials, origin of life, and brain and cognition, among others, and pioneering arrangements for quantum science, brain science, synthetic biology, space science, deep sea science, and other critical scientific problems shall be strengthened. The applied basic research shall be intensified, centering on the significant demand of economic and social development and national security, critical common technology, cutting-edge leading technology, modern engineering technology, and game-changing technology innovation shall be highlighted, and a group of significant scientific issues in agriculture, materials, energy, network information, manufacturing and engineering, and other fields and industries shall be resolved with concentrated resources. Centering on the urgent need for improving livelihood and promoting sustainable development, the basic research in resource environment, population health, new urbanization, public security, and other fields shall be further augmented. With a focus on the basic science fields in which revolutionary technology may appear in the future, significant original research and cutting-edge and overlapping research shall be enhanced.
5. Optimizing the support system for the basic research of national scientific and technological projects. The National Natural Science Foundation of China shall play its important role in supporting source innovation, basic science and cutting-edge exploration shall be a focus, and the building of talents and teams shall be supported. The connection between significant special national scientific and technological projects and other state significant projects and programs shall be strengthened, the sharing of basic research achievements shall be promoted, and basic research shall better play its role as foundation stone. Significant national scientific and technological programs shall be expanded and implemented, the implementation of quantum communications, quantum computers, brain science, brain-inspired intelligence, and other "Science and Technology Innovation 2030—Significant Programs" shall be accelerated, and the pioneering arrangements for other significant, basic, cutting-edge, and strategically contested fields shall be promoted. Priority national research and development schemes shall be implemented at a faster pace, state significant and strategic tasks shall be brought into focus, the pioneering arrangements for basic research shall be further augmented, and innovative design in the whole chain from basic, cutting-edge, significant, critical, and common technology to application and demonstration and integrated organization and implementation shall be conducted. The operation mechanism of guiding appropriation (funds) for technology innovation shall be improved to guide local governments, enterprises and social forces in better supporting basic research. The distribution of appropriation for bases and talents shall be optimized, the building of basic research innovation bases and capability improvement shall be accelerated, and the openness and sharing of scientific and technological resources shall be boosted.
6. Optimizing the regional distribution of basic research. With a focus on the regional development strategy of the state, the optimized development of eastern China shall be first achieved through innovation orientation, and central and western China shall be promoted in taking a differentiated and leapfrog development path, so as to develop characteristic regional basic research development patterns. Beijing and Shanghai shall be supported in building science and technology innovation centers with international influence, and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Big Bay Area shall be boosted to build an international science and technology innovation center. The building of national comprehensive science centers in Huairou of Beijing, Zhangjiang of Shanghai, and Hefei of Anhui, among others, shall be strengthened to build original innovation heights. The role of national indigenous innovation demonstration zones and national high and new technology zones shall be maximized, existing advantages shall be highlighted, the distribution of basic research in northeast China and central and western China shall be heightened, and a cross-regional innovation network shall be established.
7. Advancing the building of state significant scientific and technological infrastructure. With a focus on energy, life, Earth system and environment, materials, particle physics and nuclear physics, space astronomy, engineering technology, and other fields, a group of state significant scientific and technological infrastructure shall be distributed and built depending on universities and scientific research institutes, among others. Local governments and social forces shall be encouraged and directed to invest in and build significant scientific and technological infrastructure to ease the insufficient supply of infrastructure. Various innovators shall be supported in researching cutting-edge scientific issues by depending on significant scientific and technological infrastructure and accelerating the improvement of the capability of scientific discoveries and original innovation so as to support significant scientific and technological breakthroughs.
III. Building high-level research bases
8. Distributing and building national laboratories. National objectives and strategic demand shall be brought into focus, and in the strategic commanding heights prospectively leading future development, revolutionary, pioneering and platform-like national laboratories shall be arranged and built in an overall manner and provided with tasks, mechanisms, conditions and support to animate their innovation. The most excellent teams and most advantageous innovative units shall be selected, national innovative resources shall be consolidated, first-class talents from home and abroad shall be brought into focus, and an organizational form of scientific research in line with the scientific research pattern in the big science era shall be explored and established. A national laboratory stable support mechanism shall be established, interdisciplinary and extensively collaborative innovation endeavor playing a significant pioneering role shall be made, and an important strategic scientific and technological team reflecting the will of the state, of world class, and pioneering development shall be built.
9. Strengthening the building of basic research innovation bases. The distribution of state key laboratories shall be optimized, for cutting-edge, emerging, overlapping, fringe and other sciences and sciences featuring weak distribution, a group of state key laboratories and state key laboratories for national defense science and technology shall be arranged and built depending on universities, scientific research institutes, and backbone enterprises, among others, and the building of national research centers for overlapping sciences shall be advanced. The building of the capability of innovation of ownership-converted scientific research institutes shall be strengthened, and ownership-converted scientific research institutes with good conditions shall be directed to focus more cutting-edge science and applied basic research and build original innovation heights leading industry development. The building of state key laboratories by enterprises shall be strengthened, enterprises shall be supported in establishing research and development institutions and joint laboratories with universities and scientific research institutes, among others, and applied basic research oriented to the common industry issues shall be augmented. The building of state key laboratories by the military and civilians together, by provinces and ministries together, and in Hong Kong and Macao shall be advanced. The building of national field scientific observation and research stations shall be strengthened to improve the capability of field scientific observation, research and demonstration. The regular assessment, appraisal and adjustment of science and technology innovation bases shall be tightened, and adding and withdrawal shall be adhered to, so as to improve the vitality for sustained innovation.
IV. Expanding the basic research talent team
10. Fostering strategic scientific and technological talents and leading scientific and technological talents at international level. International development opportunities shall be seized, centering on the significant demand of the state, the talent fostering, introduction and use mechanism shall be innovated on, and the implementation of the state's "Recruitment Program of Global Experts," "National High-Level Personnel of Special Support Program," and other high-level talent introduction and fostering schemes shall be advanced more vigorously, so as to bring in talents from multiple channels and gather talents from around the world. A group of scientist studios shall be established in the advantageous scientific research fields of China to foster a group of strategic scientists with a forward-looking and international perspective. A talent turnover mechanism shall be established and improved, and the reasonable flow of talents among universities, scientific research institutes and enterprises shall be encouraged.
11. Strengthening the cultivation of young, middle-age and backup scientific and technological talents. Internationally accepted visiting scholar rules shall be established, and the postdoctorate rules shall be refined, so as to attract excellent young doctors from home and abroad to conduct postdoctorate research in China. Scientific research institutes and universities shall be encouraged to intensify collaborative innovation and joint talent cultivation, the building of the backup scientific and technological talent team for basic research shall be heightened, and young and middle-age scientists with development potential shall be supported in conducting exploring and original research.
12. Stabilizing the high-level laboratory technique talent team. An assessment system and incentive mechanism in line with the characteristics of laboratory technique talents and their offices shall be established and improved to raise the position and benefits of laboratory technique talents. The cultivation of laboratory technique talents, full-time engineering technology talents and open service talents shall be augmented, and the structure of the scientific researcher team shall be optimized. The training of laboratory technique talents shall be intensified to improve or raise the technological capability and level.
13. Building a high-level innovation team. The gathering role of state significant scientific and technological infrastructure, state key laboratories, and other research bases shall be used, and a group of excellent innovation teams shall be supported stably in continuously conducting basic research. Cutting-edge science shall be brought into focus, and high-level research-based universities and scientific research institutes shall be supported in electing advantageous basic sciences to build national young talents cultivation bases, establishing interdisciplinary, comprehensive and overlapping scientific research teams, and augmenting collaboration and operation.
V. Raising the internationalization level of basic research
14. Organizing and implementing international big science schemes and big science projects. The international big science schemes and big science projects promoted by one or more countries shall continue to be participated in, tasks shall be actively undertaken, and operation and management shall be profoundly participated in to accumulate management experience. Based on China's existing basic conditions, comprehensively taking into account potential risks, the plans for China taking lead in organizing international big science schemes and big science projects shall be prepared, several programs with cooperative potential shall be elected from China's relevant advantageous and characteristic fields to foster in priority, and endeavors shall be made to promote and organize new international big science schemes and big science projects. The drafting and development of rules relating to international big science schemes and big science projects shall be voluntarily participated in.
15. Furthering international cooperation in basic research. The openness of national science and technology schemes shall be augmented, overseas experts shall be supported in leading or participating in the programs of the national science and technology schemes, and international high-end talents shall be attracted to conduct joint research in China, so as to accelerate the lifting of China's basic research level and the improvement of its capability of original innovation. The "Belt and Road" Science and Technology Innovation Action Plan shall be implemented to thoroughly raise the level of cooperation in science and technology innovation and build a "Belt and Road" collaborative innovation community. Inter-governmental scientific and technological cooperation shall be furthered, country strategies shall be developed by category, and an international innovation cooperation platform shall be established, so as to jointly conduct research of cutting-edge scientific problems.
VI. Optimizing the basic research development mechanism and environment
16. Strengthening the top design and overall arrangements for basic research. Overall planning shall be strengthened, resource factors shall be concentrated, the cutting-edge scientific and technological development in the world shall be pegged, and original innovation shall be highlighted. Under the inter-ministerial joint meetings for the management of national science and technology schemes (appropriation, and funds, among others), a Basic Research Strategic Consultant Committee shall be founded to study and judge the trends in the development of basic research, provide strategic consultation over basic research, and propose significant demand and work arrangements for China's basic research. The coordination between the Central Government and local governments and between the developments of the Central Government shall be heightened, and the integrated development of military and civilian basic research shall be advanced. In view of the building of international first-class scientific research institutions and world first-class universities and first-class disciplines, the integration of science and education in basic research shall be boosted.
17. Establishing a diversified investment mechanism for basic research. More support for basic research shall be granted by the central treasury, and the long-term and stable support mechanism for universities, scientific research institutes, and scientists shall be refined. Government direction, tax leverage, and other means shall be used to implement weighted deduction of research and development expenses and other policies, and joint building of new types of research and development institutions, joint sponsorship, charitable donation, and other measures shall be explored to stimulate enterprises and social forces to invest more in basic research. A new mechanism for the Central Government and local governments to jointly contribute capital to and jointly organize national significant basic research tasks shall be explored and implemented. Local governments shall better support basic research based on the need of local economic and social development.
18. Further deepening the reform of scientific research programs and funding management. The programs organization, application, evaluation and decision-making mechanism in line with basic research pattern shall be refined, and more attention shall be paid to inspecting research direction, talent team, and its innovative capability at the selection of basic research programs. The written tasks and budget for basic research programs shall be simplified, and the funds use autonomy of corporate entities and scientific researchers shall be implemented, so as to allow scientific researchers to have sufficient time to conduct scientific research free from distraction and make funds serve people's creative activities. A mechanism to directly commission national science and technology innovation bases to undertake national scientific research tasks shall be explored.
19. Boosting the integration of basic research and applied research. On the basis of attaching importance to original and game-changing invention-creation, the innovation on the applied technology in intelligent manufacturing, information technology, modern agriculture, resource environment, and other critical fields shall be vigorously advanced, and original innovation shall be connected with industrialization by applied research. Systems and mechanisms shall be innovated on, the connection between and integration of basic research, applied research, and industrialization shall be promoted, the collaboration between and integration of scientific research institutes, universities, enterprises, makers, and other various innovators shall be furthered, and state key science and technology programs, among others, shall be built into important carriers for integration and innovation. The role of enterprises, especially ownership-converted scientific research institutes, in the profound integration of enterprises, universities and scientific research institutes shall be maximized, and basic research and applied research shall be promoted in becoming more project oriented, so as to attract funds and technology from home and abroad and improve industry competitiveness. Catering for the new trends of open source and openness of innovative activities in the Internet era, the form of organization of basic research shall be innovated on, crowd sourcing and crowd funding of basic research shall be explored and conducted, innovation challenges shall be held in various forms, the protection of intellectual property rights shall be tightened, and a maker space gathering thought and wisdom and resolving difficult issues shall be established.
20. Promoting the openness and sharing of science and technology resources. The building of national scientific and technological resources sharing service platforms and the management of scientific data shall be strengthened, the planning and distribution of national science and technology innovation bases shall be arranged in an overall manner, the building of national scientific data centers, national germplasm resources banks, and human genetic resources and experimental materials banks (halls) shall be advanced, and the openness and sharing of national defense scientific and technological resources shall be boosted. Oriented to important basic science issues and significant strategic demand, the gathering of fundamental and public-welfare environmental background data, germplasm, specimen, and other basic condition resources of science and technology shall be intensified. The national science and technology report rules shall be refined, and the openness of more national significant scientific and technological infrastructure, scientific data, equipment and instruments to various innovators shall be promoted. The duplicate check and assessment of purchase of large scientific research instruments shall be enhanced, and a management mechanism of openness and sharing of scientific research facilities and instruments and reimbursement mechanism shall be established and improved. Innovation coupons shall play their role in boosting the openness and sharing of scientific research facilities and instruments, and corporate entities' primary responsibility for and obligations of openness and sharing shall be enhanced.
21. Establishing and improving an appraisal mechanism in line with the characteristics and pattern of basic research. The pilot program of differentiated assessment of basic research shall be launched, classification assessment shall be implemented for different universities and scientific research institutes, corresponding standards and procedures shall be developed, and an assessment mechanism centering on innovation quality and academic contribution shall be improved. For the basic research in the free exploration category, the original nature and academic contribution of the research shall be primarily researched, and long-period assessment and international peers' assessment shall be explored; and for the basic research in the objective orientation category, the efficiency of resolution of significant scientific issues shall be primarily assessed, process assessment shall be heightened, and a permanent regulatory mechanism shall be established, so as to raise innovation efficiency. Universities and scientific research institutes shall be supported in autonomously distributing basic research, and the academic autonomy of universities and scientific research institutes and individuals' option for scientific research subjects shall be expanded. Scientific and technological reward and other incentive mechanisms shall be improved to heighten the sense of honor of scientific researchers; and a mistake tolerance mechanism encouraging innovation and tolerating failure shall be established so as to encourage scientific researchers to make bold exploration and challenge the unknown.
22. Strengthening the building of scientific research honesty. The combination of scientific supervision and honesty education shall be adhered to, and scientific researchers shall be taught and directed to adhere to academic honesty, abide by academic ethics, improve academic personality, and maintain academic dignity. Universities and scientific research institutes, among others, shall be guided in establishing and improving academic management rules to follow and assess the academic growth and academic level of scientific researchers and tighten review and academic assessment of material academic achievements to be published. Provisions featuring "zero tolerance" of scientific research misconduct and establishing correct scientific research assessment orientation shall be developed without delay so as to tighten the crackdown upon falsehood in scientific research and consolidate the foundation for China's scientific research creditability.
23. Promoting scientific dissemination and advocate scientific spirit and innovation culture. The significant role of basic research in disseminating scientific thought and advocating scientific spirit and innovation culture shall be maximized, and scientists shall be encouraged to disseminate scientific knowledge among the public. State key laboratories and other innovation bases shall be promoted in conducting scientific dissemination activities in various forms oriented to society.
January 19, 2018