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The Fifth Plenary Session of the Sixth NSFC Council Held in Beijing

The Fifth Plenary Session of the Sixth NSFC Council was held in Beijing on March 27, 2012. On the opening ceremony, NSFC President Chen Yiyu delivered a work report titled “Meet the Challenges and Advance with the Times to Vigorously Initiate a New Situation of Science Funding System with Chinese Characteristics”. Prof. Zhu Daoben, President of NSFC’s Supervision Committee gave a report on NSFC’s supervisory work on the theme of “Build a Long-term Mechanism on the Development of the Science Fund’s Scientific Research Integrity”. Mr. Ji Chengyuan, Director General of the Department of High Tech Industry of the National Development and Reform Commission, and Ms. Song Qiuling, Deputy Director General of the Department of Education, Science and Culture of the Ministry of Finance attended the meeting and gave their speeches. Members of the NSFC Council and the Supervision Committeeattended the meeting. Officials from the General Office of the State Council, the Legal Affairs Office of the State Council, the Research Office of the State Council, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the National Auditing Administration, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Chinese Academy of Engineering and the China Association for Science and Technology, as well as the NSFC staff also attended the meeting. NSFC Vice President Wang Jie chaired the opening ceremony.

Under the guidance of the central government and the State Council and the strong support from the scientific community, NSFC realized a good beginning for the Twelfth Five-Year Plan. In 2011, NSFC achieved new progress in its funding work. 153,800 applications from 2007 host institutions across the country were received, and 34,836 awards were made with a total funding of 18.275 billion RMB.

Talking about NSFC’s work of 2012 and beyond, President Chen Yiyu said that 2012 is a critical year linking the past with the future. NSFC will fully implement its Twelfth Five-Year Plan and be solid in its routine work to meet the challenges, and put emphasis on the following aspects in its operation.

Firstly to make overall funding arrangements for vigorously fostering indigenous innovation, NSFC will strengthen its strategic research together with the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering to enhance the strategy and foresight in its operation. NSFC will enhance overall planning and promote disciplinary development and give comprehensive consideration in its funding and make sure no less than 70% of its funding goes to the General Program, the Young Scientists Fund and the Fund for Less Developed Regions. The average funding intensity for General Program will be raised to 800,000 RMB for 4 years and a liberal atmosphere will be established for scientists’ free academic exploration. NSFC will make forward planning on areas of priority for the national strategic needs, and deepen strategic cooperation in promoting the organic combination of science and technology with social economic development and vigorously regulate the mechanism on the funding of high risk proposals.

Secondly to develop the talent funding system according to the law of talents growth. NSFC will set up a new fund for excellent young scientists. 400 awards will be provided in 2012, and initiate a funding mechanism for recipients of the Young Scientists Fund to get consecutive support by the General Program for guiding them towards an steady and sustainable academic career. 300 such projects will be awarded in 2012. The funding mechanism for post-doctorial researchers will be improved and give full play of their initiatives in innovative research. The sustainable support on talents fostering will be increased for ethnic minorities and less developed regions and add five more ethnic minority regions as eligible for the application of NSFC’s Funding for Less Developed Regions.

Thirdly to properly allocate research resources and proactively promote the development of innovative scientific instruments. The Special Fund for Major Scientific Instruments shall emphasize its guiding roles on identifying scientific issues and center on the earnest needs of scientific development. NSFC will make overall funding arrangements according to the actual needs, properly allocate resources and improve the specific management that suits the individual level of different programs.

In his summarizing speech, President Chen Yiyu pointed out that NSFC is now at a new historical point after 25 years of development, where unprecedented efforts are needed to promote the booming of a science funding system with Chinese characteristics.

Copyright 2007 Bureau of International Cooperation, NSFC