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Speech on the Occasion of the 2014 GRC Meeting in Beijing

Speech on the Occasion of the 2014 GRC Meeting in Beijing

Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council, P.R.China

(China Daily, May 29, 2014)

Friends from the international science community, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am very delighted to attend the 2014 annual meeting of the Global Research Council in Beijing. Established in 2012, the council is a young international science organization but has strong vitality and unlimited future. The council held its first annual meeting in a developed country and is holding this year’s meeting in a developing one. This shows its global vision and dedication to openness and cooperation. The theme of this meeting, “Open Access and Shaping the Future”, meets practical needs and reflects future trends. Without open communication worldwide, science can hardly achieve any major breakthrough. Without a younger generation that outperforms its predecessors, science can hardly have a promising future. On behalf of the Chinese government, I wish to extend warm congratulations on the opening of the 2014 annual meeting and a sincere welcome to the guests coming from all over the world.

Scientists have nationalities, but science sees no national borders. The history of science is written by all mankind, and its future also needs to be shaped jointly by the international community. Scientific progress comes from freeing up the mind, and openness in science can boost creativity. Science is connected with the right to development, and knowledge is a public instrument. A more open platform will enable everyone to share in science knowledge, which will contribute to the realization of inclusive development that benefits all. In such an age of economic globalization and worldwide informatization, openness in science is not about giving in one direction, but about two-way exchanges and common development. Countries should adopt multiple means to promote the broader dissemination and sharing of science knowledge, so as to maximize the value of science and enhance the well-being of mankind. China pursues a win-win strategy of opening-up. We are advancing a new round of opening-up, expanding international cooperation in science and technology and encouraging the global flow of knowledge, technology and human resources. We support establishing a mechanism for open access to science knowledge funded by public finance to bolster the common development of scientific research in China and the world.

Openness in science inevitably involves intellectual property issue. These two things go in parallel and reinforce each other. To protect intellectual property is to protect innovation. Only when intellectual properties, such as copyrights and patents, are effectively protected, can science and technology grow with stronger vigor and research yields more innovative results.

China’s development is now in an open atmosphere. We need individuals with innovative potential and creative enterprises in their tens of millions. And we need to learn new knowledge and advanced technologies from others and get them beneficial to the people in the country. We should foster a sound legal system and environment, provide equal protection to domestic and foreign intellectual property rights amid opening to the outside world and ensure that all innovators are duly honored and rewarded, thus galvanizing greater incentives for innovation.

A new generation of talents brings about a new horizon for development. The youth are best known for their dreams and passions. Dreams are bridges to the future, whereas passions generate potent power. Many important scientific discoveries and technological innovations are works of the young. The 100-odd year history of the Nobel Prize has seen so many silver-haired receiving the award. But their achievements were made when they were still quite young. Bearing this in mind, we have formulated a mid-and-long-term plan for talent development and set in motion a series of national programs for the cultivation, introduction and encouragement of young scientific and technological talents. We hope that this will help young people who love science and are keen to innovate to display their talents and fully realize their potential.

As a Chinese saying goes, “It takes ten years to grow a tree yet a hundred years to bring up a person.” In order to grow creative, young talents need to stand on the shoulders of the forerunners. They must be able to base their innovation on inheritance and to leapfrog in creation. We must attract more young people to do scientific research and give preferential support to those with promising potential. Timely support should be made available, in particular, when they are at the initial stage of professional development and when they are at the crucial stage of completing a higher scientific task. In this regard, senior scientists and experts need to show an open mind and a readiness to shoulder the responsibilities for mankind’s future.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Science, as a lever for the advance of history, has always been closely related to current developments in the world. Since the outbreak of the international financial crisis, many countries have worked vigorously to promote scientific innovation and foster new areas of growth. A new scientific and technological revolution is in the offing with a host of consequential technologies steadily emerging. People expect that scientific innovation’s power to penetrate and disseminate can translate into a formidable force to bring the world economy to a steady recovery. We should never stop scaling new heights in global science and technology development as there is no limit to scientific pursuit.

Science and technology bear on the future and destiny of each country. As China is on the road to modernization, we find ourselves in a rare, important period of strategic opportunities and at the same time confronted with a host of major structural problems. To upgrade our economic structure is an essential direction to ensure continued growth. This requires innovative institutional reforms to enliven the vitality and potential of our society to innovate, create and pioneer in entrepreneurship. We have assigned equal importance to basic research and applied research, steadily increased support for basic, strategic and frontier research, and promoted schemes to turn scientific fruits into real productive force along with new products, new services, new forms of industry and new jobs. Institutional reforms are essential for science and technology advances. We have made special efforts to improve the mechanism of managing scientific research input and to reform the system regarding the right to transfer and benefit from scientific and technological achievements, so that our science workforce will enjoy creative freedom and receive their due respect from society.

The value of science lies in the pursuit of excellence and innovation. An enabling environment where researchers feel free to challenge, explore and create is essential to the growth of science. We should advocate the scientific spirit of seeking truth, respect individuality, tolerate failure and support researchers in making more original and fundamental discoveries and inventions so that innovation will become the salient feature of China’s development and a strong driver of China’s economic upgrading.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Global Research Council advocates excellent science and dedicates itself to extensive and deep international science cooperation and mobilizing various funding agencies to support young researchers. I believe with the efforts of the council, transnational and cross-cultural academic exchanges will bring young people more timely support which they badly need. I am also convinced that in this annual meeting, you will fully exchange ideas, build more consensuses and achieve desired results. Science makes people wiser and mankind needs to explore into the unknown for a more dynamic and splendid world.

I wish all the guests from afar good health and a pleasant stay in Beijing. I wish all our friends greater success. Thank you.

Copyright 2007 Bureau of International Cooperation, NSFC