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Solidify the Base for Innovation-Driven Development——the 1st plenary session of the 7th committee meeting of NSFC held

On May 28th, 2013, the 1stplenary session of the 7th committee meeting ofNational Natural Science Foundation of China (hereinafter referred to as NSFC) was held in Beijing. In the opening ceremony, NSFC president Yang Wei presented the work report entitledSolid Base Leads to Originality, Searching for Truth and Striving to Develop, Commitment to Making Greater Efforts for Innovation-Driven Development. Chen Yiyu, Director of NSFCSupervision Committee, presented the supervision work report entitled Dare to Bear Responsibility, Brave to Take Actions, Endless Explore the Building of Scientific Integrity of Science Fund. NSFC Vice President Yao Jiannian announced the member list for the 7th Committee members and 4th Supervision Committee members. The opening ceremony was chaired by NSFC Vice President Shen Yan.

In reviewing NSFC’s work in 2012, Yang Wei said that more than 177,000 proposals of various kinds from 2,188 supporting institutions were received by NSFC, out of which 38,411 from 1420 supporting institutions were selected for grants, with the total funding of23.656 billion RMB.

In 2012, NSFC also successfully co-organized with Office of Legislative Affairs of the State Council the Five Year Anniversary of the Implementation of NSFCRegulations, systematically summarizing the legal construction of science fund and clarifying the implementation oflegalization and safeguarding independent innovation, formulating or revising 3 regulations including Regulations on the Project Granting and Management.

In 2012, NSFC successfully completed the construction of the 14th Evaluation Panel. Nearly 600,000, among which 3,490 overseas experts participated in the mail review.In order to reinforce evaluation mechanism, NSFC also actively performed trial version of computer-based peer reviewerselection. In addition, a total of 30,455 items of information on project final report between 2008 and 2011 were published, as well as 460,000 information items on research results and achievements.

In 2013 the total science fund budget from the government amounted to 17 billion, flat with that of last year. Up till the deadline for concentrated receiving period, a total of 158 thousand proposals had been received, which is a 7% drop compared against last year. The intended budge is 23.8 billion RMB.

With respect to vision for future work, Yang Wei stated that the next five years bears conclusive importance for China’s development. 18th Party Congress is oriented at overall building of the well-off society, designing the major strategy of innovation-driven development. The science and technology should be treated as the core strategic support to the promotion of social productivity and overall capacity, and therefore should be placed at the core position for overall national development, with an emphasis on global vision design and innovation promotion.

Yang Wei further pointedout that science funding community should be aware of the sense of mission and have the courage to lay foundation for innovation-driven development. Heemphasized that the innovation-driven mode focuses on development, butmore importantly, it should be “rooted” in basic research. Only in this way can development have solid scientific foundation and endless driving force. Compared to applied research and industry development, basic research has a more guiding role. As it is known, deep-rooted trees can have thick leaves. Prospering basic research is the fundamental policy for overall increase of independent innovation ability for a nation.

To this end, according to Yang Wei, NSFC shall continue to uphold the renowned tradition of “reliance on experts, respect for science, uphold fairness and transparency, stimulating innovation” formed during the long course of science fund development, whose base is respect for science, continuing to deepen knowledge with scientific natures and using these as guidance. The construction of fairness shall be the focus of NSFC’s work, as well as maintaining the reputation of science fund and establishing reliable fund and sunshine fund. NSFC will make efforts to create new soil, new culture and stimulate the innovation of scientists to the maximum.

Yang Wei pointed out that NSFC shall continue to apply 70% of its total funds to cover programs oriented at all disciplines, encouraging free exploration, laying foundation for scientific progress and gathering source for innovation drive. NSFC will also investigate into the multiple patternsfor talents funding in China and earnestly carry out the talent funding based on different needs and forms. Yang Wei further stated that the next task for NSFC includes emphasizing on fair innovation, strengthening evaluation system, safeguarding scientific integrity, building a healthy academic ecology in China, perfecting management mechanism and improving the service efficiency of science fund.

Yang Wei emphasized that science fund should be oriented at the world. During the restructuring of global innovative network and S&T atlas, NSFC should lead Chinese researchers to participate in international competition and cooperation in a brave, ambitious and strategic manner, outlining the skyline for mankind with scientists all over the world.

In the end, Yang Wei stated thatwe should have a clear idea of the responsibilitieswe are taking, better understand national S&T strategy, and closely rely on scientists.He emphasizes that we should spare no effort incarrying forward tradition and innovation, endlessly broadening new frontiers for science fund mechanism with Chinese characteristics and making greater contributions to the nation’s innovative capability, overall transforming to the well-off society and realizing the Chinese dream in the near future!

In the meeting, Report onScience Fund Budget and Funding Plan Implementation for2012 and budget and funding work report for 2013were provided to all committee members for discussion and obtained approval by voting.

All members of the 7thNSFC committee attended the meeting, together with representatives from relevant ministries, members of the 4th Supervision Committee of NSFC and representatives from all departments and bureaus of NSFC.

Copyright 2007 Bureau of International Cooperation, NSFC