Mr. Bai Chunli, president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), said during an interview with Xinhua news agancy that while facing the new round of science and technology revolution, developed countries and emerging ones stand at the same starting line.
China, as a developing country, should make good use of global innovation resources and draw on the good practices of developed countries in order to avoid detours and catch up with those countries that are currently leaders in technology, Mr. Bai said.
He also urged strategic planning at the national level to raise science and technology to a more prominent place, stressing research in basic sciences and pioneering disciplines where revolutionary findings might emerge, including material sciences, life sciences, information sciences and earth sciences.
Furthermore, he said China’s capacity for science and technology innovation has improved significantly over the past decade.
He cited several figures, including those showing that China’s investment in research and development stood at 861 billion yuan (137.9 billion U.S. dollars) in 2011, making it the second-highest such investment in the world.
Moreover, he said that the country’s Science Citation Index (SCI) rose to the seventh place in the world in 2011 and the number of Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) applications ranked fourth globally.
Mr. Bai expects that by 2020 China’s investment in the science and technology sector will account for 2.5 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). Calculated with the estimated growth rate of the GDP, scientific and technological investment will exceed 2 trillion yuan by then.
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