Tag Archives: institutions

China backs science but will it be enough?

Whether one listens to the declaration of the Premier Wen or looks at the funds set aside (USD 36 billion or a 12% increase) one can hardly doubt the resolve of the Chinese government to regain its place in the top league of scientific nations.

Will it be enough? A recent Nature article highlights some of the challenges that need to be overcome for China to excel in scientific and technological output. Among them, one finds issues of quality (e.g., few high-impact papers published and few genuine innovations) driven in part by a misallocation of funding (e.g., less than 5% of R&D expenditures goes to fundamental research and too much goes to government-led initiatives) and lack of transparency in funding decisions.

No surprisingly, there are many calls to reform the funding systems and provide more support for basic research. Whether the institutional framework can undergo such a change is altogether another question.

China 2030 is around the corner

The long-awaited report from the World Bank on the future of China has finally been released.

The report is of particular significance for several reasons. First, it has the endorsement of the Development Research  Center – the State Council’s think tank. Second, it gives 6 clear strategic directions as to China’s development strategy. Third, it highlights the importance of innovation (even open innovation) and the necessity to link the country to global  R&D networks.

To deliver on the innovation part, the focus will be placed on increasing the quality of universities and the links with industry, fostering innovative cities where talent and ideas flow freely and improving capital allocation. It all sounds very well thought through. Like all plans (and this one has 19 years to run) implementation will be key. So will be making sure that the institutional framework evolves at the same speed.