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Part II Development Tasks and Special Arrangements


In keeping with the overall arrangements of the the 12th Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development of the People’s Republic of China, the development trends of basic research, the characteristics of science funding and the law for science development driven by both curiosity, economic and social development, and in light of the major frontier issues of scientific research, the key scientific issues constraining China’s economic and social development and the important basic scientific issues that may become bottlenecks to China’s future technology development, NSFC will identify the priority fields with the features of cross-disciplinarity, including the priority fields for individual scientific departments and the priority for cross-departmental funding, and integrate diverse funding schemes to elevate the overall research capacity in these fields and to solve the key issues.

14. Priority Fields for Individual Scientific Departments. On the basis of the disciplinary development strategy and in consideration of the continuity of the priority development fields in the 11th Five-Year Plan, the priority fields for individual scientific departments will be selected according to the following principles. First, the important basic issues of science development should be focused within the funding scope of each department, or the mainstream and important frontier fields of disciplinary development. Second, the key scientific issues should be targeted that can reflect the demands of national strategic development or can drive the development of new technologies. Third, the basic scientific issues or the basic issues of key technologies should be focused that can promote cross-disciplinary development and form new disciplinary growth points. Fourth, the research fields in which China has fairly sound research basis and good research teams or enjoy geographical and resource advantages should be targeted, with a view to upgrade the level and international status of China’s scientific research. The priority fields for individual scientific departments will provide a reference for the formulation of the guidelines to NSFC’s Key Program.

1. Department of Mathematical and Physical Sciences.

(1) Permeation and fusion of algebra, geometry and analysis

Main research directions: arithmetical and geometrical properties of algebraic varieties; representation of algebraic structure and homology theory; local and global invariants of differential manifolds; global analysis on manifold; geometry and topology of low-dimensional manifolds; analytic property of functions and function clusters; function spaces and analytic properties of operators; representation of infinite dimensional algebra, operator algebra and non-commutative geometry.

(2) Non-linear random models,mathematical theory and methods of discrete structure

Main research directions: well-posedness of differential equations and structures of solutions; complex behavior in dynamical systems; analysis of random process and random systems; structures of large-scale random networks and processes on them; statistical theory and methods of complex data; optimal solutions and approximate optimal solutions of complex problems in decision-making; mathematical basis of infinite dimensional systems and control over random systems; combinatorial analysis of discrete structures; symbolic computation, symbolic reasoning and mathematical mechanization.

(3) Mathematical modeling, data analysis and computation

Main research directions: the mathematical theory and modeling of new materials; information processing and control; coding theory and information security; mathematical modeling and analysis in environmental and energy science; bioinformatics and life systems; pathogenesis and prophylaxis of infectious diseases; statistical methods in industry and medicine; data mining and computational statistics; mathematical methods for economic forecasting and financial security.

(4) Dynamics and control of high-dimensional/infinite dimensional non-linear systems

Main research directions: global bifurcation and chaos of high-dimensional system; Time-lag effect and control of non-linear system; Non-linear dynamics and control of the complex network and nervous system; Dynamics and control of advanced air vehicle and of major equipment.

(5) Mechanics response and fracture mechanism of materials & structures in complex environment

Main research directions: intensity theory and fracture mechanism of deformable body; multi-field coupling theory and intelligent materials and structural mechanics; multi-scale mechanics of materials and structures; structure response in extraordinary environment and explosion and shock & impact mechanics; integrity and durability of huge engineering structure.

(6) Rules and control of unsteady complex flows

Main research directions: flow stability and compressible turbulence; fluid-structure interaction and its control in unsteady flows; hypersonic flows and air vehicle propulsion; high-speed hydrodynamics and cavitation theory and experimentation; complicated medium flow in environment evolution and abrupt changes.

(7) The structures, origins, and evolution of galaxies and the universe

Main research directions: the fundamental properties of dark matter and dark energy; the physical processes in the early universe; formation and evolution of galaxies and the large scale structures; the structures and radiation processes of active galactic nuclei; formation and evolution of supermassive black holes and their co-evolution with host galaxies; violent activities on galactic scales.

(8) The formation and evolution of the Milky Way, formation and late evolution of stars, and solar activities

Main research directions: the structure, physical properties, formation and evolution of the Milky Way; physics of interstellar medium and formation, evolution, and activities of stars; search for exoplanets, and their formation and evolution; the magnetic fields, structure, and dynamics of the solar atmosphere; solar flares, coronal mass ejections (CMEs) and their solar-terrestrial effects.

(9) Modulation of new types of light fields and their interaction with matter

Main research directions: attosecond laser generation, measurement and applications; ultrashort laser pulse shaping, carrier wave phase modulation, precise measurement and control of quantum state evolution; ultra-intense, ultra-short pulsed laser and its interaction with matter; new phenomena and new physics of ultrafast non-linear optics; generation and application of IR, THz, X-ray lasers and other coherent short wavelength light; new principles and new methods of highly sensitive, high-precision laser spectroscopy; light propagation and interaction in photonic lattice.

(10) New phenomena and new effects of restricted and correlated quantum system

Main research directions: quantum phenomena and macroscopic quantum effects of restricted and mesoscopic system; fundamental physics and new theoretical methods for strongly correlated and low dimensional condensed matter systems; topological quantum phase transitions and topological excitations, quantum properties and application of ultra-cold atomic or molecular systems ; critical physical problems for micro-nano quantum devices and single-atom, single-molecule devices; characterization and optimization of properties for high performance composite materials or devices; physics for the magnetic materials and their structures.

(11) Physics issues of sound propagation characterization, detection, manipulation and interaction in random inhomogeneous media

Main research directions: sound propagation, detection, interaction in complex media and its field modeling; space-time characteristics and detection of ocean acoustic field; noise generation and control, low-frequency sound absorption and isolation; new transmitting and receiving acoustic transducer and its array; time reversal technique, phenomenon of negative refraction and sub-wavelength high-resolution imaging.

(12) Sub-atomic structures, properties and interactions

Main research directions: standard model test and new physics beyond the standard model; high energy physics and nuclear physics in cosmology and cosmic evolution; synthesis of new super-heavy nuclear elements and isotopes; nuclear structure and relativistic heavy ion collision physics

(13) Plasma physics and its numerical simulation

Main research directions: interaction procedure of ultra-intense laser and plasma in the inertial confinement fusion, and high energy density physics; dynamics of the magnetically confined high temperature plasma’s generation, heating, transport and instability; low-temperature plasma source, boundary physics, wave-particle interaction and other basic issues, and their applications; space plasma magnetic reconnection process.

(14) Physics experimental instruments and methods, new technologies and applications

Main research directions: key physics issues for new type accelerators; advanced experimental techniques and applications of synchrotron radiation and nuclear technology; new preparation technologies and methods of quantum-structure materials; high-resolution detection, analyzing methods and techniques of time, space and energy; measurement, control methods and key technologies for high-precision physical quantities, and characterization and analysis techniques under extreme conditions.

(15) Physics basis for quantum information and future information devices

Main research directions: physics issues in morphological transformation and measurements of quantum information; physical implementation and measurement of quantum entanglement and multi-component correlation; quantum information processing and solid-state quantum computation based on specific physical systems; single photon generation, detection and physics for quantum coherence devices; theory, schemes and experiments of quantum simulation.

2. Department of Chemical Sciences

(1) Synthetic chemistry

Main research directions: theories and methods for controllable, highly efficient, and green design and synthesis of new functional materials; theories and methods for controllable molecular clipping and self-assembly; Reaction pathways and mechanisms of complex chemical systems; new synthetic strategies, concepts, and technologies; chemical synthesis and preparation under extreme conditions.

(2) Chemical structure, molecular dynamics, and chemical catalysis

Main research directions: theories and experimental methodologies for chemical reaction dynamics; mechanisms, dynamics, and control of surface and interface chemical reactions; mechanisms and control of catalytic reactions; chemical reactions and material structures under extreme conditions.

(3) Macromolecules and supramolecules

Main research directions: controlled and “living” polymerization methods for precise synthesis of polymers with diverse topological structures; function optimization of macromolecules with photo-electromagnetic properties; non-petroleum-based macromolecules and biosynthesis of polymer; dynamics and evolution mechanism of polymer hierarchical structures; biomedical polymers and regulation of their interactions mechanisms with living cells; architecture and controllable self-assembly of supramolecular systems and supramolecular polymers; structure design, theoretical calculation, and experimental characterization of functional supramolecular materials.

(4) Theory, simulation, and computation of complex chemical systems

Main research directions: computational methods for the prediction of structure-property relationships for complex systems; general and reliable density functionals and high-precision, low computational scaling approaches for electronic systems; structures and dynamics of excited states; theory and numerical simulations of chemical reaction kinetics; quantum dynamics of multi-dimensional systems and condensed phases, and non-equilibrium and nonlinear statistical mechanics; multi-scale dynamics of self-assembled structures and processes.

(5) Theories, methods and new technologies for analytical chemistry

Main research directions: separation and identification methods for complex samples; new theories and methods for multi-dimension, multi-scale, and multi-parameter analysis; new methods and new technologies in bio-omics; analytical methods and technologies for national security, human health, and emergency; investigation and development of analytical devices, equipment, instruments, and relevant software; basic research on analytical chemistry under extreme conditions.

(6) Green and sustainable chemistry

Main research directions: sustainable products and molecular replacement for poisonous, energy-consuming, and polluted products; efficient “atomic economic” reactions; efficient conversion of nontoxic, harmless, and recyclable materials; development and application of environment friendly reaction media; green chemical engineering and technologies; life cycle analysis and evaluation.

(7) Multi-matrices environmental processes, effects and controls of pollutants

Main research directions: new methods, theories, and technologies in environmental analysis; complex pollution processes and controls of atmosphere, water, and soil; chemical mechanisms of pollutants bioavailability and ecological effects; ecotoxicological and health effects of pollutants; exposure of chemical pollutants and food safety; theories and methods in chemicals risk assessment and management.

(8) Cross-disciplinary areas between chemistry and biomedicine

Main research directions: investigations on signal transduction processes in complex biological systems with small chemical probes; synthesis and function studies of important biomacromolecules and analogs; structures and functions of non-coding RNA; chemical biology of stem cells and neuroscience; new methods and technologies for information acquisition from biological systems; chemical probes and molecular imaging; computer simulation of complex biological network systems.

(9) Molecular design and controlled synthesis of functional materials

Main research directions: mechanisms and controlling methods for the interactions between multi-scale matters; structure control and functionalization at surfaces and interfaces; assembly process from molecules to solid and its mechanism, construction of ordered nano-structure and nano-materials; design and controlled synthesis of functional inorganic crystalline materials with tailored photo-electromagnetic properties; design and controlled synthesis of organic/polymeric photoelectric functional materials; controls and regulations of chemical structures and phase properties of materials under extreme conditions.

(10) Clean conversion and efficient utilization of energy and resources

Main research directions: efficient and clean conversion of fossil fuel; chemistry and engineering fundamentals for efficient conversion of biomass; efficient and high-value-added utilization of native unique resources; efficient and low-cost conversion and utilization of solar energy; Chemistry and engineering fundamentals for efficient and safe utilization of nuclei energy; new, efficient, and clean chemical energy and alternative energy.

(11) Process engineering for energy reservation and emission reduction

Main research directions: scientific fundamentals for energy saving, emission reduction, and low-carbon emission; chemical engineering fundamentals in the development and utilization of renewable energy sources; mechanism of resource conversion under outfield intensifying and energy saving theories; mechanisms and control methods for the transfer processes of intensified reaction in unconventional media; advanced computation, simulation, and emulation systems for processing industry; optimized integration and multi-scale control of massive resource conversion processes.

3. Department of Life Sciences

(1) Modification, recognition and regulation of proteins

Main research directions: identification, function and regulatory mechanisms of novel protein modifications; spatial-temporal regulatory mechanisms and functional relationship of various types of protein modifications at various amino acid positions; system analysis on specificity, dynamics and networking features of protein-protein interaction; changes of protein-protein interactions induced by protein modifications; evolution of protein modification, recognition and regulation.

(2) Structure and function of nucleic acids

Main research directions: structure, modification, replication, recombination and metabolism of DNA/RNA; regulatory mechanisms of non-coding DNA/RNA on the activity and function of nucleic acids and proteins; function and regulatory mechanisms of non-coding DNA/RNA on cell, tissue, organ and individuals during vital processes or disease development.

(3) Self-renewal and committed differentiation of stem cell

Main research directions: molecular mechanisms, especially epigenetic regulatory mechanisms of stem cell pluoripotency; interactions between stem cells and their environment; molecular basis of efficient, directed differentiation of stem cells; basis of iPS (induced pluripotent stem cell) function and application; mechanisms of somatic cell reprogramming and identification of reprogrammed molecules; fate analysis of post-differentiation cells and mechanisms of incorporation\compatibility of transplanted cells with host tissue.

(4) Regulation on tissue/organ development

Main research directions: fate determination of progenitor cells for essential tissues/organs; migration of progenitor cells for major tissues/organs; molecular regulation on construction/regeneration of major tissues/organs; genetic basis of abnormal tissue/organ development.

(5) Cellular and molecular mechanism of immune response

Main research directions: cellular and molecular mechanisms of anti-infection innate immunity; interactions between innate immunity and adaptive immunity; molecular basis of antigen modification/presentation in adaptive immunity; principles for development and differentiation of immune cells; structure and function of novel immune molecules; cellular and molecular mechanisms of immune tolerance and immune escape.

(6) Biodiversity and mechanisms of its maintenance

Main research directions: relationship between biologic evolution and biodiversity; distribution patterns of multiple-scale biodiversity and their formation and maintenance mechanisms; biodiversity vs ecosystem function; recovery mechanisms of biodiversity in a damaged ecosystem.

(7) Genetic network and principles of complex traits

Main research directions: inheritance of complex traits and analysis of genome structure; regulatory network analysis of complex traits at the whole genome level; genomic correlation analysis of complex traits; interactive network among complex genetic traits.

(8) Phylogeny and molecular evolution

Main research directions: theory and methods for the reconstruction of phylogenetic trees; molecular basis for species evolution; evolution vs development; gene vs genome evolution; evolution vs adaptation.

(9) Metabolism, secondary metabolism and the regulation

Main research directions: metabolic pathways and their physiological functions; analysis of metabolism regulatory genes; signal transductions mediating secondary metabolism; modification, transportation and maintenance of metabolic products; identification and activity analysis of secondary metabolic products; metabolic network vs regulatory mechanism.

(10) Exploitation and assessment of biological germplasm resources

Main research directions: theoretical basis and strategy of genetic resource protection; genetic diversity and differentiation of the wild populations of agricultural organisms’ wild relatives; principles of variation and evolution of biological resources; exploitation and assessment of fine gene resources; novel storage approaches of biological resources.

(11) Genetic networks of important traits in major agricultural organisms

Main research directions: molecular genetic mechanisms and gene regulatory networks of important traits in agricultural organisms; interactions among genes and gene-environment interactions; construction of high-throughput genotyping system; analysis on genomic haplotype structure of major agricultural organisms; theory of gene pyramiding in molecular breeding.

(12) Requirements and mechanisms of high-efficience utilization of water and nutrient in major crops

Major research directions: water and nutrient requirements for high yield and high quality crops; mechanisms and regulation of high-efficiency utilization of water and nutrients by crops; mechanisms of water movement and transformation in croplands and corresponding processes of crops; ecological processes of interaction between roots and environment; regulatory mechanisms of water-nutrient coupling in farmlands.

(13) Pathogenesis and control of major diseases and pest in crops

Major research directions: pathogenesis of diseases and pest in major crops; co-evolution of crops with pathogens and pest and their interactions; mechanisms and control of regional disasters of crop diseases and pest.

(14) Pathogenesis and control of major animal diseases

Major research directions: etiology and pathogenic ecology of major animal diseases; immunological recognition and interacting mechanisms of pathogens and hosts; molecular mechanisms of inter-species propagation and infection of animal pathogens; synergistically pathogenic mechanisms of pathogens; mechanisms of infection and disease-causing of parasites; theoretical basis for developing novel vaccines.

(15) Mechanisms of the formation of neurons and neurocircuits and the signal processing

Major research directions: mechanism of neuronal development control; mechanism of establishing selective contacts between neurons; mechanism for processing and integrating neuronal signaling and information in specific neurocircuits; functional modification and regulatory mechanisms of neurocircuits.

(16) Biochemical basis of food storage and processing

Major research directions: mechanisms of food quality preservation and deterioration; transformation of biologically active substances and nutrients in food processing and storage; hazardous substance formation and migration in food, and metabolism, dynamic changes and regulation of major food contaminants; technology and methods of detection and risk assessment of hazardous microorganisms and toxic substances in food.

4. Department of Earth Sciences

(1) Evolution of earth and planetary environments and life processes

Main research directions: systematic palaeontology of major fossil groups, macroevolution and high-resolution integrative stratigraphy; global environmental change during critical transitions; life in extreme environments; geomicrobiology, biomarkers and their environmental implications; biogeochemical processes and evolution of earth surface environment.

(2) Origin, evolution of the continents and dynamics of the earth

Main research directions: structure, composition and interaction of the crust and mantle; origin, evolution of the continents and intra-continent geological processes; process of continental collision and dynamics of orogenic belt; interaction between oceanic plate and continental margin; coupling of deep and surficial processes of the earth.

(3) Mechanism of formation and exploration theories of mineral resources and fossil energy resources

Main research directions:continental geology and its metallogenesis; metallogenic models、metallogenic systems and metallogenic mechanism; dynamics and accumulation of oil and gas-bearing basins; regional groundwater cycle and evolution of environmental geology; exploring and processing technologies of ore-bearing information, oil and gas-bearing information for large deep mineral resources and reservoirs.

(4) Weather, climate and process and mechanism of atmospheric environment change

Main research directions: detection of atmospheric key variables, new theories and methods of optimization for observation system and data integration; dynamic mechanism and predictability of weather and climate change; atmospheric physical and chemical processes and their interaction mechanism; interaction between Asian regional weather change, climate anomalies and atmospheric environment; exchange and cycle of energy and matter in climate system.

(5) Global environment change and the interaction among earth’s spheres

Main research directions: Asian monsoon-arid environment system and global environment change; regional hydrological cycle (including cryosphere) and climate change; dynamics and trend of sea surface and coastal transition belt; key processes of biosphere and its inter-feedback with earth’s other spheres, biogeochemical cycle of element and earth system; natural and anthropogenic factors for global environment change; key scientific issues of earth system simulation.

(6)Mechanisms of anthropogenic impact on environment

Main research directions: earth engineering and global changes; environmental effects of resource utilization; mechanisms of environmental impact of major geological disasters and large-scale engineering activities; regional environmental process and control; interactions between natural processes and human activities; regional sustainable development.

(7) Processes and mechanisms of the changes in land surface system

Main research directions in this field include: interaction and interfacial processes of key natural components of land surface; processes of mass transportation and transformation, coupling processes of human and natural components of land surface; theory and methodology of integrated research on land surface system.

(8) Evolvement and control of water and soil resources

Main research directions in this field include: soil process and evolvement; soil quality and its resource effect; watershed hydrological processes and their ecological effect, mechanisms of regional water resource formation; coupling and sustainable utilization of regional water and soil resources.

(9) Oceanic processes and impacts on resources and environment

Main research directions: Multi-scale processes in the western Pacific and high-low latitudinal interaction; land-sea interaction in China’s coastal seas; marine microbiology and biogeochemical cycle; marine ecosystem and ecological safety; theories of mine formation and accumulation of resources under sea floor.

(10) Solar-terrestrial environment and space weather

Main research directions: basic physical process of space weather; coupling process of solar-terrestrial space weather; modeling methods for regional space weather and the integration of space weather ; space weather effects on human activities.

(11) New approaches and technologies for information extraction from earth observation

Main research directions: new principles and methods for earth observation; new theories and technologies for deep earth exploration and surface earth measurement; micro-scale, micro-region experimental and analytical methods with high-precision and high-sensitivity; theories, methods and technologies for space geodesy and their applications in earth sciences; new approaches for tracing the deep earth processes, surface environment and universe process; theories and technologies for collecting and utilizing basic information about earth system; theories of the assimilation, integration and sharing of the observation data.

(12) Regional sphere interactions and resource-environment effects in typical areas in China

Main research directions: deep dynamic process and mechanism of the multi-platonic convergence and the formation of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and their effects on natural resources; the spatial and temporal change of plateau growth (range and height) and its impact on sea-land-atmosphere interactions and the Asian monsoon-arid environment system; interaction and development trends of the regional spheres of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (lithosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere, etc.); subduction of Western Pacific plate and evolution of Eastern Asia lithosphere and their environmental impacts.

5. Department of Engineering and Materials Sciences

(1) Optoelectronic functional materials

Main research directions: basic process and new mechanism of the high-efficiency light-electric/electric-light conversion; design and preparation for photovoltaic materials; surface/interface engineering and micro-nano structure with the functional manipulation; theory and simulation for photoelectric functional materials and devices; and fabrication and characterization of optoelectronic prototype devices.

(2) Energy materials

Main research directions: new mechanism of the high-efficiency energy conversion and storage; materials and key technologies for high-efficiency and low-cost solar cell; materials for proton exchange membrane fuel cell and key materials for intermediate-to-low temperature solid oxide fuel cell; high-capacity hydrogen storage materials; materials and the key technologies for efficient secondary battery; preparation and key materials for super-capacitors; and reactor nuclear materials.

(3) Environmental materials

Main research directions: the design of novel materials applied in pollution treatment and the research of reaction mechanism; ecological design of the replaceable materials for toxic and hazardous elements; resource utilization techniques of solid waste; the design and degradable mechanism of completely degradable polymers; the design of functional materials that can accommodate light, temperature and humidity; and the characterization and evaluation methods for the impact of materials on environment.

(4) High performance structural materials

Main research directions: relationship between the structure and mechanical properties in multi-dimensions of macroscopic, mesoscopic and microscopic; the structure and performance evolution of materials under extremely rigorous conditions; texture and interface structure control of advanced composite materials; toughness and long-life design of materials; morphological structures control in material preparation processes; and structural-functional integration materials.

(5) Fundamental theory, preparation and characterization technology of material science

Main research directions: material modelling and material simulation; synergetic relationship among material composition and structure, preparation technology, property and performance; new theory and method for material design and preparation; new principle and technique for material characterization and measurement; and integrated design of related devices.

(6) Interaction law of environment and efficient exploitation of mineral resources

Main research directions: mechanical properties of deep fractured rock engineering; co-mining theories and methods of coal and coal bed methane; the basic theory of deep drilling; basic theory of physical chemistry in improving mining recovery of coal, oil and gases; formation mechanism and control of major disaster in resource extraction; and basic theory and methods of mine ecological protection and rehabilitation.

(7) Interface science in the process of metallurgy and material preparation

Main research directions: interface theory in metallurgy processes; efficient use of valuable components and theory and methods of recycling metallurgy; metallurgy and processing theory in special conditions and external field; metal solidification process and control; high purity, high performance, high value added metallurgy and materials engineering; and metallurgical theory with high efficiency, energy saving, and emission reduction.

(8) Functional principle and integrated science of complex electromechanical systems

Main research directions: integrated design theory and method of complex practical mechanism; energy transfer and transform in mechanical drive and transmission that generating mechanism of exact complex movements; interfacial interaction, behavior rules and controlling of function generation for complex electromechanical systems; collaborative design of material, energy and information flows for complex electromechanical systems; multi-subject optimal and integrated theory for complex electromechanical systems; and structural damage and reliability of complex electromechanical systems under extreme service conditions.

(9) Precision manufacturing of high performance part/component

Main research directions: high performance precise shaping; high power density beam and nontraditional energy field machining; precision and ultra-precision machining; and integration of digital design, machining and measurement

(10) Efficient and clean utilization of fossil energy

Main research directions: theory and technology for integrated control of pollutants from coal combustion; low-carbon-emitting of coal-based poly-generation utilization; Greenhouse gas capture and utilization for resources during the utilization of the fossil energy; new methods for efficient and clean utilization of fossil energy; and combustion chemical reaction mechanism and the combustion measurement.

(11) Carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS)

Main research directions: pre-combustion CO2 capture, oxy-combustion, post-combustion CO2 capture theory and methods for the energy power system; integrated control principles and methods for the coal-based chemical-power poly-generation systems combined with CO2 separation; innovative low-power CO2 capture techniques and methods; the coupled methods and rules for the thermal conversion process and thermal conversion of the CO2 separation solvent; and thermo-physics problems related to the CO2 liquefaction and transportation.

(12) The basis of the smart grid

Main research directions: the basis for integration and transmission of large-scale of renewable power; self-healing theories and technologies based on multiple information sources; the supporting methodologies and technologies for the security of smart grid infrastructures; and the theories and methodologies for smart grid interaction and marketing mechanism and its implementation.

(13) The energy efficient theories and technologies of urban and rural architecture design

Main research directions: new thermodynamics analysis methods of indoor thermal and humidity environment; the design theories and methods of sound, lighting and thermal environment for high quality architecture design; the build mechanisms of indoor thermal and humidity environment in typical climate zone; the basic theories and evaluation systems of the technologies for rural building energy efficient and habitat improvement; and the ventilation theories and practical methods of indoor pollutants control for industrial buildings.

(14) Urban science in the context of environmental change

Main research directions: models for environmental actions on engineering structures and systems; medium to long time scale disaster risk analysis for large-scale engineering systems; theory for regionally human settlement environment design in the context of environmental change; damage mechanism, maintenance technology and protective strategy of historical buildings; rules of interaction among the transition of urban pattern, evolution of traffic pattern, and the change of traffic demand; and mechanism and control theory of coordination of supply and demand of urban transportation system.

(15) Fundamental theories and frontier technologies of ocean engineering

Main research directions: environmental loads and dynamic response of deep-water floating structure system; cutting-edge technologies of safe design and measurement for deep-sea equipments; performance of ship motion and optimization design based on multi-subject knowledge; underwater exploration and communication; optimization theories and methodologies for the performance of advanced maritime engine system; development methods and design theories for newly-conceptual marine equipments and facilities; and comprehensive analysis method and risk assessment of marine structure safety.

(16) Life-cycle design and control of engineering structures

Main research directions: mechanism of evolution of the structural performance under coupling environmental and load actions; physical models for disaster actions on engineering structures and systems; micro-structure evolution based on theory and methods for life prediction of multi-scale material-structure; theory for refined life-cycle analysis of engineering structures and theory and methods for their performance evaluation; global reliability based performance optimization and performance design theory; and performance monitoring and performance control of engineering structures.

6. Department of Information Sciences

(1) New information materials and devices

Main research directions: spin electronic materials and devices; single-photon detection and emission devices; wide band-gap materials and devices for high-frequency, high-power and high-temperature electronics; carbon-based materials and devices for planar process and future large-scale integration; organic/polymer photonic devices, and semiconductor lasers, high-power LED, high-efficiency solar cells, etc.

(2) Nanoscale integrated circuits

Main research directions: nano-sized MOS devices and memory devices; micro-nano sensors, energy acquisition and conversion circuits; reconfigurable and fault-tolerant multi-core SoC; extremely low-power consumption circuits, super-speed mixed-signal systems; nano-scale SoC and electronic design automation, and nano-scale integrated circuit chip testing, nano-scale device models.

(3) Micro-nano photonic and OEIC

Main research directions: micro-nano functional structure and related optoelectronic devices; large scale high-performance OEIC; microwave photonic devices and on-chip optical interconnection; high-speed and high-stability electro-optical/optical-optical sampling techniques, optical data combination and calibration techniques; ultra-fast nonlinear dynamics of optical-optical coupling; low-cost technology for photonic generation of microwave signals, and optical transmission and modulation of RF signals.

(4) Millimeter wave, terahertz and infrared devices

Main research directions: device design, simulation and testing; millimeter wave integrated circuits; terahertz theory and technology; middle-far infrared detection; superconductivity electronic device; and artificial electromagnetic materials and devices.

(5) High-resolution detecting and imaging

Main research directions: multidimensional high-resolution detecting and imaging; weak signal detecting and cognitive imaging; signal processing for imaging; and data interpretation and target reconstruction.

(6) Strong field and super strong field laser technology

Main research directions: the generation of light field with super strong, ultra-fast and high signal to noise ratio; the new mechanism and effect of strong coherent light radiation; the generation of high phase space density, high-energy electron and ion beam based on laser acceleration; extremely ultra-fast electronic dynamic detection and strong field quantum coherent control; ultra-fast nonlinear optics of X-ray band; and four dimensional imaging of molecules and electrons.

(7) Foundations of sensor network and biomimetic perception

Main research directions: the theory and implementation technology of large-scale optical fiber sensor network, sensor technologies in harsh circumstances and time/wavelength division multiplexing networking technologies, intelligent sensitive materials and high-performance micro-nano sensors; biomimetic perception mechanism and implementation methods, heterogeneous sensor network topology and network protocols, sensor network data and energy management; and multisensor information fusion; the reliability and security of sensor network.

(8) Future wireless communication theory and technology

Main research directions: network channel modeling and reconfiguration; network information theory; highly efficient broadband mobile transmission and collaboration under limited spectrum resources and low power constraints; multi-domain and multi-network coordinated wireless network theory and network self-optimization technology; mobile network organization and intelligent management; and cognition and application of spectrum, antenna, space, computation and network in mobile communications.

(9) Low-power exascale supercomputing and novel computation systems

Main research directions: novel architecture and its supporting system software of exascale supercomputers; power consumption analysis and optimization of exascale supercomputers; new computation models and systems for data-intensive data processing and information extraction; key infrastructure and supporting technologies for cloud-computing environments; and biocomputing and other novel computation models and systems.

(10) Network Computing

Main research directions: key technologies for scalable and low-power post-IP network topology and network routing; technologies of wireless network topology, evolution, and interconnection; information processing and services for high secure and reliable distributed network; and intelligent network and semantic web.

(11) Foundation of software technology

Main research directions: software theory and key technologies for multi-core architecture; software design for highly parallel and distributed computing environment; software design methods and technologies for service computing; theory and engineering methods for high-confidence software; visualization and processing of information; and technological foundation for major engineering software on the enterprise informationization.

(12) Network data mining and understanding

Main research directions: network data mining and machine learning; semantic perception and computation in complex information environment; data representation, feature extraction and classification/clustering; natural language understanding and knowledge services; and the cognitive computing of audio-visual information and human-computer interaction.

(13) Cyberspace security

Main research directions: architecture, protocols and services of credible, controllable and usable ubiquitous networks with 100 million scale online users; fast discovery of online communities and research on their life cycles; fast detection, tracking and isolation of harmful information; and immunization technology of cyberspace.

(14) Multi-robot coordination and biomimetic robots

Main research directions: multi-task and multi-robot cooperative planning and control; high-performance biomimetic robots; real-time perception of robots in uncertain environments; and automatic control by robot; tiny robots, underwater robots and their applications.

(15) Advanced control theory and technology

Main research directions: modeling, analysis, control and optimization of nonlinear systems based on data; integration, optimization and control of multi-task fusion and multi-heterogeneous systems; common scientific issue, control strategy and implementation technologies of complex control systems; cooperative guidance and control of multiple kinetic bodies; and high-performance navigation theory and key technologies in the uncertain environment.

(16) Theory of complex systems and complex networks

Main research directions: evolution law and behavior regulation of complex systems and networks; theory and technology of the cyber-physical systems and the internet of things; modeling, computation and integration of the complex systems; and real-time decision-making, planning and scheduling of complex tasks, theory and application of complex supply chain systems.

7. Department of Management Sciences

(1) Research methods and methodology of complex management system

Main research directions: forecast, operations and management in complex management environment; behavior model and emergence in complex economic management system; management theories based on behavior and experiment; and management methodology with Chinese characteristics.

(2) Management problems with behavior complexity

Main research directions: dynamics of complex financial system; basic problems of behavior operation and complex supply chain management; complex traffic/logistics network planning and management; and management research of complex major projects.

(3) Risk and crisis management in the post financial crisis era

Main research directions: new principle and methods of risk identification, measurement and control; safety management on important strategic resources; innovation and its safety management of financial system; and new problems of enterprise risk management.

(4) Service sciences under new and developing information technology

Main research directions: strategic transformation of service economy and social development; service system model, analysis and optimization; interactive service, innovation and value evaluation; and service technology foundation and its development principles of application tools.

(5) Innovation and entrepreneurship in global competition

Main research directions: industrial technology management and innovation mechanism; enterprise technological innovation mode and its strategic impact in globalization; entrepreneur behavior, entrepreneurial teams and the influence on entrepreneurial enterprises; and innovation and its principle of venture financing modes.

(6) New problems of management science caused by the emerging network information technology

Main research directions: intelligent decision analysis and knowledge management facing the network/complex data; risk laws and management caused by the emerging network information technology; enterprise strategy, operation mode based on internet and its influence; the impact of information technology on the behaviors of demand and consumption; and E-government and its influence on open source information society.

(7) Management theory based on Chinese practice

Main research directions: organization management in social economic transformation; enterprise management under the background of globalization; management of Chinese state-owned enterprises and family enterprise; and corporate finance in emerging capital markets.

(8) Public management problems with Chinese characteristics

Main research directions: government management theory and methods with Chinese characteristics; public management organization and policy research system with Chinese characteristics; and foundation principle of public affairs management in the new period.

(9) Agriculture and rural development policy in new rural construction

Main research directions: rural and agricultural regulation reform; rural basic public service mechanism and policy; rural infrastructure construction, operation and management; and new rural financial system construction management.

(10) Management of urbanization and regional development

Main research directions: the principle of Chinese regional economic development; China urbanization process; the integration of urban and rural areas, regional development; and the urban and rural, regional development planning theories and policy tools.

(11) Sustainable development management and macroeconomic policies

Main research directions: policy science of population - resources - environment; changes of production, life and consumption patterns in ecological civilization; and development mode and policy of low-carbon economy.

8. Department of Health Sciences

(1) Basic research on pathogenesis, diagnosis and therapy of abnormal cell metabolism and metabolic diseases

Main research directions: the mechanism of substance and energy metabolism regulation; metabolic reprogramming; and reversal and specific targets therapy of metabolic abnormalities.

(2) Basic research on pathogenesis and intervention of major cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases

Main research directions: comprehensive studies on the occurrence, progression and prognosis of major cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases; the risk factors, molecular epidemiology, genetics and epigenetics, molecular pathology, biomarkers for early clinical diagnosis, intervention and treatment strategies of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases.

(3) Basic research on tumorigenesis, tumor progression, regression and novel methods for tumor prevention, diagnosis and therapy

Main research directions: studies and applications of biomarkers based on the tumor microenvironment, biological characteristics, molecular networks, genetic and epigenetic basis; tumor stem cells; bio-therapies on tumors; and mechanisms of drug resistant and novel anti-cancer targets.

(4) Key human pathogens and the interaction with hosts

Main research directions: biological characteristics, genetic variation features and transmission pattern of human pathogens; mechanisms of host-pathogen interaction and cross-species transmission; and rapid diagnosis of emerging infectious diseases.

(5) Immune regulation and diseases

Main research directions: cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying immune regulation; mechanisms underlying immune regulatory networks; checkpoints of immune regulation and immune intervention; immune regulatory mechanisms underlying anti-infection immune responses; immune regulatory abnormalities and pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases; immune regulatory abnormalities in inflammatory microenvironment; graft rejection and its immune regulation; immune regulatory abnormalities and pathogenesis of other major immune-mediated diseases; immune-based diagnostic and therapeutic technology; and immune modulation and immunosuppressive drugs.

(6) Psychiatric disorders and mental health

Main research directions: pathogenesis of some severe psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia and mood disorders; early identification and integrated assessment for high risk population; and new technology and therapeutic regimen for psychiatric and psychological disorders.

(7) Basic research on the association between nutrition, environment and health

Main research directions: comprehensive studies on diet and nutrition; food safety assessment; nutrition medicine; evaluation methods for environmental pollution and health effects; risk models of gene-environment interactions; and surveillance, early effect, susceptibility markers and long-term clinical effect of major occupational hazards.

(8) Aging and age-related diseases

Main research directions: influencing factors and pathophysiological mechanisms of aging; the nosogenesis and prevention strategies of age-related brain degeneration and relative diseases; and the nosogenesis, prevention, diagnosis and treatment strategies of age-related motion and immune system diseases and other age-related diseases.

(9) Trauma and tissue repair, stem cells, cell transplantation and regenerative medicine

Main research directions: prevention, treatment, prognostic factors and molecular mechanisms of trauma; first aid and resuscitation of trauma; mechanism, prevention and treatment of multiple organ injury/dysfunction; microenvironment, genetic and epigenetic changes of stem cells in diseases/injury; combination therapies with stem cells transplantation; directional differentiation of stem cells and tissue repair after injury; mechanism, prevention and treatment of graft-versus-host disease; tissue engineering; biomedical materials; and artificial support device in vitro.

(10) Basic research on reproductive health and maternal and child care

Main research directions: mechanism of reproductive cells development, differentiation and mature; birth defect and underlying mechanism; paracrine and para-regulation of testis and ovary; immunological contraception; new technology and methods on birth control; basic research of birth defects; reproductive toxicity assessment of environmental effects (such as electromagnetic radiation); and molecular mechanism of nutrition and environmental factors on the growth and development of child and adolescent.

(11) Basic pharmaceutical research based on pharmacogenomics and systems biology

Major research directions: discovery, validation, structure, function, network and fine regulation of drug target based on pharmacogenomics and bioinformatics, as well as discovery and optimization of corresponding lead compound; novel concepts, technologies and methods in pharmaceutical research based on systems biology and network pharmacology; discovery, modification, expression and optimization of novel biotechnological drug; novel drug delivery system and targeting delivery; biomarker and personalized therapeutic drug; relationship between efficacy and individual adverse drug reaction; epigenetic mechanism in pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics; and comprehensive mathematical models for quantifying drug reaction to genetic-environment-human variables.

(12) Basic research on TCM formula

Main research directions: theory of compatibility of composing a prescription; herbal properties; biological effects of medicine and prescription; and drug-use safety.

(13) Basic research on important oral and maxillofacial diseases and its prevention and treatment

Main research directions: dental and craniofacial growth and development and tissue regeneration; prevention and treatment of caries; risk factors, prevention and treatment of periodontitis; early warning(biomarker)and early diagnosis of oral precancerous lesions; salivary gland and its functional reconstruction; and synergic pathogenic research of multiple oral microbial and oral biofilm.

(14) Basic research on important diseases in visual, auditory and upper respiratory tract dysfunction

Main research directions: etiology, prevention and treatment of common blind eye diseases; myopic mechanism and its prevention and treatment; artificial visual reconstruction; etiology, prevention and treatment of common auditory/olfactory dysfunction and missing; artificially auditory bionics and hearing reconstruction; and otolaryngology, including upper respiratory tract dysfunction.

(15) Basic research on pathogenesis and prevention of kidney diseases

Main research directions: pathogenesis of renal glomerulus and renal tubules interstitial; mechanisms of podocyte structure and function disorder; mechanisms of chronic kidney fibrosis; the interaction between kidney and other organs (tissues); biomarkers of kidney disease; discovery and mechanism studies of nephropathy therapy and renal protection targets; and complications control of renal replacement therapy.

(16) Basic research on mechanisms, prevention and therapy of fibrosis in major organs and tissues

Main research directions: nosogenesis and progression of organ fibrosis and intervention strategies for the reversibility of fibrosis, including the cellular and molecular mechanisms of functional changes of parenchymal and interstitial cells involved in fibrosis, the pathophysiological changes of the extracellular matrix and signal regulatory networks, novel biomarkers and molecular targets for repression and reversal of fibrosis, and etc.

(17) Basic research on TCM theory and acupuncture and meridians

Main research directions: visceral manifestation theory; principles for classifying different syndromes; etiology, pathogenesis, treating methods and principles; TCM diagnosis of health status, the standardization of the four diagnostic methods and the mechanism of diagnostic and treatment instruments; the mechanism of preventing and treating diseases responding specially to TCM treatment; meridian essence; specificities of acupoints; and acupuncture mechanism.

15. Priority Fields of Cross-Scientific Departments. In pursuance of scientific frontiers and national targets and in keeping with the demands of China’s development of science and technology, economy and society, the NSFC will support strategy oriented basic and interdisciplinary research on core scientific issues in four major dimensions: to promote China’s basic researches to achieve breakthroughs in frontier areas; to solve profound key scientific issues concerning China’s sustainable development, especially eco-environmental protection and natural resource utilization; to boost China’s indigenous innovation capacity in the field of population health and promote China’s coordinated economic and social development, and to foster the commanding height of China’s emerging strategic industries. The priority fields of cross-scientific departments will be a reference for making guidelines to Major Program and Major Research Plan in the next five years.

(1) Cell structure and molecular function

Cell works as an orderly mechanic system. To coordinately achieve the complex function accurately and orderly, biological molecules in the cell interact with each other in a dynamic manner based on their localization, structure, motility and local concentration. The cellular structures are dynamic. Various biological macromolecules, all subcellular organelles and multiple-molecule complexes fulfill their functions in a highly intricate intracellular environment. It becomes increasingly evident that only observations from high spatial-temporal resolution and precision in live cells can lead to understand the accurate and dynamic nature of the functions of sub-cellular organelles, molecular complex and bio-molecules.

Key scientific issues: The establishment of novel technologies and methodologies in super-resolution microscopy, single molecule imaging, non-fluorescence imaging etc. for live cell imaging of the structure, assembly. The movement and function of sub-cellular organelles, molecular complexes and biological macromolecules in live cell. The signal transduction pathways and the functional interactions among organelles.

(2) Systems biology

The system biology is to study the intricate interactions among multiple layers of biological information, including genome, protein, metabolism, signal transduction pathways, gene regulation network and protein-protein interaction network for understanding their combined effect on life. Taking advantage of the state-of-the-art interdisciplinary approaches, systems biology aims to study systematic behaviors, interactions and dynamics of components of life in order to understand the basic principles of the design and control of life. Systems biology will not only help to understand the dynamic relationship among all components of life in a holographic manner, but also make it possible to predict the consequences and reactions of the system upon stimulation or external interference. Therefore, systems biology enables life science to transform from its descriptive nature to quantitative and predictable science.

Key scientific issues: The construction of basic components of biosystem network and the identification of parameters and establishment of biosystem network models. The theory and methods for network analysis of biosystem. The integration and analysis of bio-information; dynamics of biosystems. The simulation and construction of bio-circuit.

(3) Basic research on bio-materials, its biological functions of the surface and interface and interventional medicine

The interactions between bio-materials and organism occur on the surface and interface of bio-materials. By understanding the regulation of interactions between surface/interface of bio-materials and blood/cell, research on surface activity and bio-functional modification might lead to breakthrough in bio-materials with excellent properties and applications. Bio-structures and bio-functionalities are key characteristics of bio- medical materials to be used in diagnosis, therapy, restoration and replacement of human tissues and organs, as well as to enhance the functions of them. In addition, with the development of bio-materials, bio-devices and information technology, interventional medicine has the advantages of minimal invasion, low risk and rapid recovery after operation, which become as one of the three backbone medical disciplines along with chirurgery and internal medicine. Current major research directions and issues include R&D on novel interventional tools which are safe, efficient and facile, and low medical expenses.

Key scientific issues: Mechanism of interaction between bio-material surfaces and tissues (cells). Crucial microenvironment factors in reorganization. Micro-nano structure of the surface of bio-materials and the interactions between the structure and the organism. Molecular recognition and targeting of bio-medical materials. Surface modification and biocompatibility of biomedical materials. Biomedical implant materials and its mechanism to control reorganization. Study on the mechanism of palindromia after interventional treatment. Research on new technologies and devices in interventional medicine. Imaging-assisted interventional medicine and computer aided engineering (CAE).

(4) Planets exploration, planets evolutionary process, environmental impact and extraterrestrial life

Based on the observation of Chang'e lunar mission, through comprehensively analyzing and reorganizing the existing achievements of lunar exploration abroad, it is trying to understand the integrity and underlying mechanisms of the origin and the evolution of the Moon, to establish conceptional model of the origin and evolution of the Moon and to obtain the original scientific results. The objectives are to provide scientific foundation for the composition of celestial bodies in the solar system, the chemical evolution at an early stage of life and the process and age at each stage of the formation and evolution of planets and the solar system for cognizing the universe, and at the same time to meet the social demands of human's survival and development as well as fostering economy and technology for sustainable social development.

Key scientific issues: The heterogeneous distribution of chemical compositions on the Moon and its origin. The external dynamic structure and its relation with the lunar evolution of the Moon. The non-uniformity of internal structure and the mass distribution in the Moon. The early evolution history of the solar system. The exploration on extreme environments and conditions for the existence of life. The exploration on the possibility of extraterrestrial life on the Mars. The relationships between asteroids and comets, and between asteroids/comets and the origin of life on the earth. The relationships between the extinction of life species on the Earth and the environmental catastrophe introduced by the collisions of asteroids/comets with the Earth .

(5) Solar activities and their impacts on the solar-terrestrial space weather

It is a key interdisciplinary science subject in the 21st century, which involves the integration of multiple research fields such as astronomy, earth science and plasma physics. With the coming of the high-tech era, it is more and more urgent to develop the space weather forecast. High-energy particles, high-energy radiation, and large-scale plasma ejections produced by solar eruptions are the original sources for producing the disastrous space weather, which have important impacts on the safety of astronauts and spacecrafts and on the solar-terrestrial environment. Therefore, it is necessary to deeply explore the solar-terrestrial responses to solar activities and other related problems.

Key scientific issues: The physical mechanisms of solar internal activities. The precursor features and physical processes of solar violent activities (including solar flares and CMEs). The manifestation and propagation of solar activities in the interplanetary space; the relationship between magnetosphere and solar activities. The response of the ionosphere to solar activities. The role of the middle and upper atmosphere in the connection between the Sun and the Earth. The principles and methods of space weather forecast and the assessment on the effects of disastrous space weather.

(6) Large-scale high performance scientific computing

With the help of the strong capacity of computer, the objective of scientific computing is to build up numerical simulations for complex problems in science and engineering, through mathematical modeling for problems originated from real life and developing computational techniques. In contemporary science and technologies with more profound understanding and broader scope, large-scale scientific computing, theoretical and experimental methods have been considered to be the main research tools and crucial support for the development of the new and high technologies. In many scientific disciplines like physical science, materials science, life science, earth and environmental science, information science, engineering and the state-of-the-art technological development, scientific computing can be used to expand and even replaces theoretical and experimental study and acquire the new knowledge through numerial simulation which may could not be achieved before. Advances in large-scale computation will bring about the corresponding progress in related disciplines and industries.

Key scientific issues: The theoretical analysis and mathematical modeling for research, engineering and socioeconomic problems. The development of computational methods and techniques adapted to complex problems and models. The effectiveness and high resolution numerical methods. The methods and techniques for massive data analysis. The computational methods adapted to high performance parallel computation. The construction of open source software for high performance computation. The development of professional application oriented software packages for various disciplines as well as those for numerical computations. The development and application of numerical simulation techniques and methods for research, engineering, and socioeconomic issues. The theoretical research on computational methods for numerical simulations.

(7) Quantum computation and quantum communication

Quantum informatics is one of the most concerned techniques in the fierce competitions of national strategies among the countries all over the world in the post Moore era. It is an uprising interdisciplinary subject merging between quantum physics and information science, and is expected to provide revolutionary means and capacities for developing information science and technology. Quantum cryptography physically provides security for the quantum communication because of its antieavesdrop property, and quantum computation serves as a possible method for solving the traditional problem of the exponentially increasing computing time. Currently, the technology of quantum cryptography is coming into practical use. However, the research on quantum computers is still in its infant stage, and is confined in the area of fundamental investigation. In a few physical quantum qubit systems, the functioning mechanism, quantum gate operations, quantum coding and quantum algorithms for the quantum computation have been successfully demonstrated. Currently, the two key difficulties encountered in the physical realization of quantum computing are, firstly, how to manufacture the large-scale physical quantum qubit system, and secondly, how to lower the error rate of the quantum gate operations to make it below the tolerance threshold, making the errors in the gate operations effectively corrected to ensure the reliability of quantum computing.

Key scientific issues: Approaches for the extension of the quantum qubit physics, quantum devices based on new materials and structures, quantum computing system with potential extensibility. The coherence and decoherence of quantum computing system. The quantum logical operations, information coding, morphology transformation and measurement. The mechanism and methods for realization of fault-tolerant quantum computing. The theory and experimental protocols of quantum simulation. The quantum information storage and quantum repeaters. The free-space quantum cryptography system and new principle of quantum cryptography. The realization of full quantum networks and their information transmission and processing.

(8) The meso scale structure in multiphase complex system

The meso scale structure exists in both natural and engineering complex systems. It is the key factor that influences system’s macroscopic behavior, and shows common rules in many fields. Currently, energy and resource shortage, environmental pollution, global warming has become common focused issue worldwide. The quantitative design, amplification and optimal regulation of chemical reaction process, procedure and system form a common core technical system to meet these challenges. Moreover, due to the dynamic multi-scale structure respectively arising in process, procedure and system, the meso scale structure that exists in between boundary scales is a common scientific issue that needs to be overcome in order to develop these core technologies. This topic boasts both application background to meet great challenges that human beings faces today, and the significance to break through common scientific difficulties. In addition, it involves interdisciplinary knowledge and features of chemistry, physics, biology, materials and information. The exploration in meso scale structure lays the scientific foundation for solving problems in energy, resource and environment, pushing forward for the transition of the relevant disciplines in substance transformation and industrial R&D mode from experience exploration to quantitative simulation.

Key scientific issues: The formation mechanism and stability condition of meso scale structure including the theoretical analysis of phase transition and multiphase based on the non-linear thermodynamics and statistic mechanics. The quantitative description and behavior prediction of meso scale structure including mechanism of multi-scale coupling, methodology of multi-scale correlation, and relation between elementary process and overall behavior in meso scale structure systems. The method of controlling and regulating the meso scale structure including the action mechanism and law of multi-scale structure and reaction dynamics, the regulation rules to meso scale structure from catalyst system, reaction microenvironment, reactor and reaction process. The computing theory of meso scale structure and multi-scale structure including computing theory and methodology of meso scale structure and means to realize the real-time simulation of complex reaction process based on the similarity in problem, software and hardware system.

(9) Theories and methods for major environmental evolution and changes

Since the 21st century, the growing influence of the major environmental evolution and the frequent natural disasters (such as land desertification, dust storms, floods, landslides, debris flows, acid raining, red tides, etc.) on the sustainable development of human society has attracted significant international attentions. The evolution of environmental elements is extremely complex, and is always accompanied by mass and energy transport and flow processes. Considering the critical environmental problems associated with the social-economic developments in China, it is necessary to enhance the research of the scientific issues from a multidisciplinary perspective, which can deepen the understanding of the underlying mechanism of the critical environmental evolution, and improve our capability of environmental protection and management. In addition, it can enhance innovation and research in the frontier areas of complex media and multi-process coupling.

Key scientific issues: Flow characteristics of the natural environment involved in multi-process coupling of environmental media and the mass/energy transport and transformation behaviour. The effect of media property changes and associated simulation methods on flow, deformation and failure processes. The inherent mechanism and critical conditions during classic evolution and changes of the environment. The geodynamics theories, prevention measures and treatment methods for the evolution of the western arid environment. The inoculation, initiation, development law and mutation mechanism of important water environment issues.

(10) Mechanism and treatment of major disaster events

The earth spheres are always moving and changing. This change not only provides resource, energy and suitable environment for human survival and development, but also results in natural disasters and threats to human society. Meanwhile, the erratic human activities may disturb the natural process of the earth system, and induce and exacerbate natural disasters. China is a developing country prone to natural disasters, which are numerous, wide spread, frequent and extremely complex. The major natural disasters, which significantly influence the socio-economic development in China, include disasters due to weather changes, earthquakes and geological disasters, marine disasters and ecological disasters, etc. With the rapid social development, the degree of influence from natural disasters on society is also growing and the social vulnerability dealing with natural disasters has become a major concern. To ensure sustainable development of economy and society, it is of great importance to identify accurately the characteristics of major disasters, to develop a profound understanding of the mechanisms of disasters and the interactions with anthropogenic activities, to simulate and predict the process of major disasters, and to develop effective approach of prevention and control of natural disasters which can minimize the losses caused by disasters to greatest extent.

Key scientific issues: Mechanism and prediction theories of disasters. The environmental factors involved in natural disaster inoculation and occurrence. The countermeasures and engineering treatments for reducing natural disasters. The effective natural disaster monitoring, data processing and simulation. The establishment and improvement of the capability of disasters assessment, early warning and emergency response.

(11) Global change and earth system

Global warming and extreme weather events occur frequently with emergence of ozone hole, population expansion, resource deficit, ecological damage and environmental pollution. The conflict problems between socio-economic development and human survival environment have become more important. Global change and human activities affect greatly the pattern of terrestrial ecosystem, key ecological process and its function. Particularly, the combustion of fossil fuel and the industrial production process emit chemicals into atmosphere and alter the chemical composition of atmosphere. Therefore, it has been a great scientific challenge on how to reduce high-carbon energy consumption of coal and petroleum and green-house gases emission to adapt to the harmonic socio-economic development of global change through technology innovation, institutional innovation, industrial transformation and new energy development. Global change is becoming one of the great frontier fields to meet the demand of sustainable development of modern society. The simultaneity of global change, the impact of human activities on climate change and study of taking earth as a whole system has been widely recognized. The concept of earth system science emerges as the time require, i.e. studying the changing rule, dynamic mechanism and development trend of the entire earth system with interaction among its subsystems to adapt and manage earth system change.

Key scientific issues: The variation and trend of Asian monsoon-arid environment system. The regional hydrological cycle including cryosphere and its impact on and response to climate change. The dynamic mechanism and trend of sea surface and coastal transition belt. The adaptation process of ecological system to climate change, mechanism and prediction. The natural and anthropogenic factors for global warming and earth system management. The key technology and scientific issues of earth system simulation.

(12) Multi-scale marine processes and marine engineering

Development of human society and economy is being faced with problems like resources, environment, ecology and disasters, which bring new topics to research on marine sciences and engineering. Meanwhile, these issues have become major forefronts in international competitions of marine sciences and technology. Ocean is a complex dynamic system involving with multiple temporal-spatial scales. The progress of sciences and technology plays a significant role in research on global change and deep-ocean, which represents two major developing trends of current marine sciences and engineering. Every leap forward in marine sciences is closely related to breakthroughs in marine observational technology and equipment, which sometimes even play a deterministic role. The promotion of a synthesis in marine sciences and engineering as well as the scientific problems orientated investigation of technologies and facilities for marine observation and exploration can not only meet the needs of future progress in marine sciences, but also serve as an important guarantee for rational utilization and sustainable development of marine resources.

Key scientific issues: Multi-scale processes in the Western Pacific and high-low latitudinal interaction. The land-sea interaction in coastal Chinese seas. The marine microbiology and biogeochemical cycle. The polar environmental changes and ocean processes. The environment load and dynamics response of deep-ocean floating structure system. The safety design and testing for deep-ocean equipment. The underwater probing and communication, and technologies of marine sensor development.

(13) Anthropogenic activities and their environmental effects

It is indicated by the study of environmental changes that human is capable of changing the biological and abiotic processes to influence and alter the natural proceedings of the earth system. Due to the different ways and degrees of anthropogenic effects on the earth system, the response and performance of earth environment at different scales and in different regions are also different. How to quantitatively characterize and distinguish the contribution of human activities to the changes in environment, especially how to understand the coupling and interactions between large-scale human activities (land use and land cover change, urbanization, industrialization, etc.) and the natural process of the earth, have become the major scientific challenges for academia. The study of environmental effects of human activities will be based on the earth system science and sustainable development concept and aimed at solving the regional, system-level environmental problems and should focus on modern environmental change processes for revealing the interaction mechanisms between human and environment at different scales and exploring approaches and models of regional harmonious development with the changing environment.

Key scientific issues: The evolution process of soil fertility under high-intensity soil utilization and its control. The environmental change and human adaptation in plateaus area. The multi-scale toxic pollutant and regional exposure risk. The influence and effect of the change of land-use and land management on the natural process of the terrestrial biosphere.

(14) Highly efficient utilization of water resources under the changing environment

The global climate change as well as the fast economic and social development of China has greatly affected the hydrological processes and the temporal and spatial distributions of water resource supply in the river basins. To prevent and reduce regional flood and drought disasters and efficiently utilize water resources, it is necessary to build water resource utilization projects with the functions of flood control, irrigation, power generation, water supply, and environment protection, and to develop technology for highly efficient utilization of water resources. Related research areas include hydrology, science of water resources, irrigation and drainage engineering, river dynamics, water environment and ecological hydro science, hydraulic structure and geotechnical engineering, and management science.

Key scientific issues: Regional hydrology processes and predictions of flood and draughter events under the changing environment. The water-saving agriculture and its environmental and ecological effects. The performance design and construction technique of large water resource project. The efficient transformation and low cost operation of water power energy. River system development under the changing environment.

(15) Combined pollution mechanism, toxicological effects and control principal of drinking water

Drinking water safety is the basic guarantee for public health. Due to the complexity and variability of water quality, it is difficult to answer the important scientific issues regarding the mechanism, toxicological effects and control principle of combined pollution from any single discipline. Further research on the combined pollution in multimedia will clarify the biogeochemical cycle of pollutants in water sources, the transformation law of pollutants in water purification processes, and the mechanism of molecular toxicity of water quality change, and eventually develop the suitable coordinated control principle to ensure drinking water safety. The ultimate goal is to establish a scientific and technical system to guarantee the drinking water safety from water source to water faucet based on the toxicological assessment and the optimized process control.

Key scientific issues: The joint effect of combined pollution in multimeida on water source quality and the biogeochemical cycle of pollutants. The structure and form transformation of key species, and their multimedia and multi-interfacial interactive reactions in drinking water purification process.. The chemical and biological stability of drinking water in the process of distribution. The toxicological assessment methodology for water safety and molecular toxicity mechanism of water quality change. The coordinated control principle for drinking water safety through appropriate combination of chemical, biological, ecological, toxicological and engineering disciplines.

(16) Interdisciplinary problems of energy saving, renewable energy utilization and greenhouse gas control

The energy is a long-term bottleneck of the economic and social development in China, and also a greatly important issue attracted long-term high attention. In order to address the current urgent fundamental theories in the fields of efficient and clean utilizations of fossil fuel, efficient and low cost utilizations of renewable energy and greenhouse gas control, the interdisciplinary research should be developed in terms of engineering thermodynamics, material science, chemistry, physics and mathematics to establish the foundation for energy science. The researches on renewable energy utilization and greenhouse gas control are critical in the high energy consumption industries, such as electric power, chemical engineering, metallurgy industry and building industry, which have made great impacts on the Chinese economic development transformation modes and the global warming countermeasures, as well as have made great strategic significance in the development of science and technology for new energy industries. Therefore, it is necessary to strengthen the interdisciplinary researches focusing on the energy saving and emission reduction, energy strategy improvement and greenhouse gas control for providing scientific theories and methods to the energy sustainable development.

Key scientific issues: Principles and methods of the comprehensive cascade utilization of fuel chemical energy and physical energy; The new concepts and new materials, as well as the mechanical theories and methods in nuclear energy; The fundamental theories of high efficient collection, storage and transformation of renewable energy, e.g. solar energy, wind energy, biomass energy; The optimal integration and multi-scale control of large-scale energy conversion processes; The physical chemistry of CO2 capture, separation and storage technology; Theories and methods for fuel substitution and power poly-generation system in high carbon based energy, integrating the CO2 separation system; Theories and methods for energy saving planning, renewable energy technology policy and optimization analysis of industrial policy .

(17) Basic research on medical imaging, digital medicine, and the advanced diagnostic or therapeutic technology in the field of population and health

Medical imaging, digital medicine and the advanced diagnostic or therapeutic technology in the field of population and health will bring the medical research to a new stage of dynamic, quantification and visualization, which will provide strong support and the important developing directions in terms of precision medicine, personalized medicine and telemedicine as well as high efficiency and low toxicity of clinical diagnosis and therapy. The basic research in this field will play an important role in the promotion of medical research, the medical diagnostic and therapeutic practice, as well as the research and development of medical devices and equipments in China. It will also have the important significance in the field of pathogenesis of diseases, early prediction of the diseases, accurate diagnosis, precise treatment and prognosis evaluation.

Key Scientific issues: The new theories and methods of medical imaging as well as location and quantitative analysis, processing and visualization of medical image; Brain functional imaging and crucial characterization of medical imaging; Molecular markers and probes; Design of new radioactive drugs and micro- or nano-imaging; Structural, functional, metabolic and molecular imaging and their application in the domain of diagnosis and therapy of the diseases, deliver or controlled release of drugs and study or development of innovative drugs; The core technology and equipment of new optics, ultrasound, nuclear medicine, CT, magnetic resonance imaging, electrical impedance tomography, electromagnetic imaging and molecular imaging; Fundamental basis and applied platform of digital medicine; The new technology or method of digital medicine and medical imaging as well as their application in the early prediction, subclinical diagnosis and prognosis evaluation of the diseases; The technology and devices of single cell analysis; Lab on chip and its analysis of genomics, proteomics and metabolomics etc; Research and development on the new robotic surgery and image guided computer aided surgery system; Research and development on the brain-computer interface, electrical neuromuscular stimulator and microdevices for vivi-detection; Research and development on the new pacemakers, ventricular assist devices or total artificial hearts, portable artificial lung devices and portable dialysis machines.

(18) Imbalance of neural-immune-endocrine network and diseases

Neural-immune-endocrine (NIE) regulatory system comprises a core network that is involved in homeostasis of the body. Many known or unknown endogenous or exogenous factors may affect the network, leading to imbalance of the NIE regulatory system that may result in disruption or breakdown of the homeostatic state of the body. Failure in restoration of the balance of the NIE network and homeostatic state of the body may result in changes from physiological (healthy) or sub-physiological (sub-healthy) states to pathological states (disorders or diseases). The NIE network is a huge complex system for which how it maintains homeostatic state of the body in response to internal and/or external environmental changes remain largely unknown. Moreover, serving as sub-systems of the NIE network, the neural, immune or endocrine system has to work independently as well in order to maintain homeostasis of their own individual systems. So far, however, the knowledge about how and when the NIE network is altered or disrupted and what roles the NIE network imbalance plays in the development of homeostatic failure is greatly limited and requires to be explored by intensive experimental research. Unraveling the mechanisms underlying imbalance of the NIE regulatory system and its causal relationship to the development of homeostatic failure may shed new light on prevention and treatment of the relevant disorders and diseases.

Key scientific issues: Relationship between the network imbalance of the NIE regulatory system and diseases; Pathological mechanisms of the nervous system injury and dysfunctions; Etiology and molecular mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases; Structural and functional changes and mechanisms of the brain in psychiatric diseases; Molecular and cellular mechanisms of myelination and demyelination; Roles of immune cells and molecules in development of the nervous system injury and dysfunctions; Imbalance of feedback and negative feedback regulation of the endocrine system and its relationship with diseases of the endocrine system; Mechanisms underlying normal and abnormal secretion, action and regulation of the endocrine substances and their relationships with diseases of the endocrine system; Development of experimental models of the NIE network and its use in study of the interactions between the NIE systems.

(19) Research on mechanisms of pain and analgesia

According to reports from World Health Organization (WHO), about 1/5 of the whole population experiences chronic pain during their life time. Pain, chronic pain in particular, has become a “disease” that severely affects public health. It not only brings about sufferings, but also disrupts normal brain functions, induces neurological and psychiatric disorders, and leads to loss of labor force and enormous medical expenses. Clarifying pain mechanisms and finding novel means of analgesia, will significantly help solve the more and more prominent pain-related problems in various diseases and injuries. Investigation on mechanism of pain also benefits our understanding the working mechanisms of the brain. Thus, research on pain and analgesia represents our primary demand to improve our psychophysical health and quality of life.

Key scientific issues: The central processing of pain signals and central mechanisms of initiation and maintenance of chronic pain; Peripheral receptors in pain induction and modulation; The relationships between cancer metastasis and pain; The relationships between pain and psychiatric disorders (anxiety, insomnia and depression); The mechanisms of acupuncture analgesia and its clinical efficacy.

(20) Psychological and neural mechanisms of social cognition and behavior

Successful social activity and social harmony depend on that the members have correct cognition about others and themselves, and their proper decision to facilitate the coordination and cooperation in the complex social environments. To know how human process social information about others and themselves, it is necessary to explore both the mechanisms/models of cognition and the related neural mechanisms. These studies would expound the neural basis for the social cognition and decision-making, and their relationship with the social behaviors. Moreover, it would be revealed that the developmental processes of the psychological and neural mechanisms, and the mechanisms related to abnormal social behaviors. The brain network-based regulatory mechanisms for social emotional ability should be explored, and the physiological index and brain imaging to properly evaluate of social emotional ability should be developed. At the same time, the methods and techniques will be developed that can be used to regulate and improve the social emotional ability of individuals and groups.

Key scientific issues: Mechanisms of self-cognition; Psychological and neural mechanisms for cooperative and competitive behaviors; The interactions among social environments, cognition regulation and neurodevelopment; The decision-making mechanisms for human social behaviors; The relationship between the development of children’ social cognition and their development of other cognitive functions; The characters of special population’s decisions and their psychological and neural mechanisms; The brain network-based regulatory mechanisms for social emotional ability; Evaluation and intervention of social emotional ability.

(21) Transformation and service innovation of organization management In the network information environment.

A new generation of network information technology is deeply changing the way in which knowledge and information are generated and disseminated within the organizations, and consequently, changes the organizational culture, hierarchical structure of management, and resources allocation. Eventually, it results in different production mode and operation mechanism of goods and services, so as to promote the realization of a completely new mode of work and management that are harmonious and transparent with highly efficient cooperation, and make modern service a completely new form of economy.

The transition driven by network information technology is a fundamental and brand-new challenge for the existing theory of management science which is rooted in traditional organization (enterprise) and its innovation management mode characterized by tangible product production, hierarchical organization structure, one-way information transmission, and top-down planning. Meanwhile, it puts forward many new scientific problems need to be solved for management science.

The abovementioned developments will greatly promote the booming of modern manufacturing and services based on network information technology, and have important strategic significance for promoting the transition to service economy, improving the efficiency of organization operation, reducing the cost of organization operation, and upgrading the position of China in the new round of global competition.

Key scientific issues: Research on network service system and its participants’ behavior; Research on service system and its key technology based on advanced IT; Research on operation optimization and coordination of network services systems; Research on the impact of the new generation of network information technology (such as open source information, mobile network) on the organization mode evolution and operational mechanisms; Research on the impact of the new generation of network information technology on enterprise (organization) behavior and strategy; Research on the organization's operation and safety working mechanisms in interactive network; Research on integrating collaboration platform technology within enterprises; Research on the influence of instant communication and witkey technology on managerial activities within organizations.

(22) Evolution and safety management of complex financial economy system

The less-than-perfect rationality and interactive decision-making behavior based on the information’s adaptability to the environment, embodied by participants in economic and financial markets, result in the complexity and uncertainty of modern financial system. The intensive and extensive use of the new generation of network information technology in the global financial system further promotes the rapid and multi-direction spread of information, and deepens the above characteristics in the market.

In the future, the variety of products, the scale of transactions, and the depth and relevance of market will grow rapidly due to the joint of Chinese and international financial markets. Consequently, with the uniqueness of financial institutions and investors in China, the complexity of financial system will increase rapidly.

With the rapid growth and increasing complexity of financial market, the traditional main-stream financial theory, which is based on the premise of "simplicity" features, will face great challenge for interpreting and dealing with the financial crisis.

Due to the rapid development and important breakthrough in information science and complexity science, it becomes possible to model the complex financial system and explore the discipline of asset pricing and risk management from the angle of complex system. This will provide a quite promising way to solve the complex financial system security problem, and has foundational significance to establish a scientific, safe, reasonable, efficient, and stable financial economic system.

Key scientific issues: Micro behavior and mechanism in complex financial economic system, and its macro emerging and dynamic evolution rule;New principles and methods in complex financial economic system modeling; Complex networks in financial economic system; Open source information and modeling in complex financial economic system; Innovation and its risk and safety management in complex financial economic system;Supervision of complex financial economic system, and its operation mechanism and mode.

(23) New types of functional and artificial structure materials

The exploration of new functional materials is serving as the guideline in the development of materials science and the source of innovation in the field of information or energy. The development of new functional materials is usually based on the discovery of new mechanisms in physics, chemistry and biology, and the development of new designs and the innovation of new synthesis method. Meanwhile, the appearance of new materials broadens the research area of physics and engineering science. The exploration of magnetoelectric metamaterials, high-Tc superconductors, high-efficiency thermoelectric materials, nonlinear optical materials, special materials under nuclear radiation, high-quality single-crystals and epitaxial thin films and various kinds of artificial structure materials (such as heterostructure, photonic band-gap materials and negative index materials) is an important scientific frontier of the interdisciplinary development among materials science and other disciplines, such as physics, chemistry and information science.

Key scientific issues: Functional materials based on new physics ideas and material structure design; Calculation and simulation concerning on the properties and optimizations of metamaterials; New physical mechanisms in novel function of materials; New methods and principles in fabrication and manipulation of artificial microstructures; Characterization and optimization of high-efficiency composite materials, artificial structure materials and related devices.

(24) Controllable self-assembly system and its functionalization

Self-assembly, one of the meaningful scientific challenges, is an important method to create new material and functional structure, and brings us hopes to break through the bottleneck in the development of material, information, life, medicine and other fields. In future, the development of self-assembly will be from single system to diversified system, from single level to multi-level, from statics to dynamics, from uncontrollability to controllability, from model system to functionalization. Thus, the controllable self-assembly system and functionalization will be the main research direction emphasizing on an integration of different disciplines such as chemistry, biology, physics, materialogy, informatics and iatrology, and a breakthrough would be achieved in some fields such as new methods and techniques to control the biological process, creation of new functional integrated materials, as well as new information devices and information processing systems and so on. The development of the controllable self-assembly will provide solid scientific foundation for the research of major scientific problems and applications in biology, information and nano high-tech researches, and promote sustainable development of economy.

Key scientific issues: Design, fabrication and properties of assembly elements for functional self-assembly system as well as combination and synergy law of a weak interaction among assembly elements; Combination of multi-component and multi-level or construction of biological self-assembly system, process and regulation law of controllable self-assembly, terminative assembly and disassembly, as well as the nature and law induced by the assembly; Mass transport, energy transfer, chemical transition and physical law in the controllable self-assembly system, relationship between structure and function, the application of a self-assembly system in materials, information devices and bionics; Systemic theory method of the self-assembly structure and process, forecast of the structure as well as the physical, chemical and biological properties in complicated systems; New principles and methods for a real-time and in-situ detection of self-assembly system and process, and a high resolution characteristic technology in energy/space/time to reveal a weak interaction mechanism.

(25) Basic physics on precision measurement and fundamental on the key techniques of precision metrology

Challenges and breakthroughs on limits of current temporal resolution and spectral precision as well as measurement sensitivity are not only the pursuit of precision metrology, but also the cornerstone for significant scientific discoveries. At the beginning of this century, the generation of attosecond laser pulses has already pushed the temporal resolution to attosecond level, while precise control of optical field simultaneously in time and frequency domain has evoked a series of novel concepts and techniques, providing the possibility of having the high precision metrology in both time and frequency domain. Meanwhile, the sensitivity of light detection approaches the single-photon level and thus enables quantum-limit precision spectroscopy. All the breakthroughs paves a way for precision metrology for time, space, and frequency with ultrahigh resolution, ultrahigh precision, and ultrahigh sensitivity, which could not be reached by traditional methods and techniques, dramatically enhancing the capability of human being to explore the nature for further scientific breakthroughs in various fields of fundamental importance. On the other hand, all these are anticipated to bring about not only significant progress on precision positioning, space flight, satellite navigation, space exploration, remote sensing and tracing, modern communications, information security, biology information, nano-machining, and survey, but also significant applications in quantum manipulation, molecular imaging, bio/nano-science, quantum detection techniques, and novel quantum devices.

Key scientific issues: Novel concepts and techniques to beat current precision measurement limits; Ultrahigh resolution in time and space; Optical manipulation with ultra-high precision and sensitivity and its applications in bio-chemistry, material science and physical inspection; Ultra-fast opto-electronics at sub-wavelength scale; Precision metrology based on high-intensity ultrashort lasers; Precision measurements on fundamental physical constants.

(26) Fundamentals of space information network

Space information network is served as a three-dimensional cross-linked space-time dynamic information network of air, space and land, which takes space-based network as the core, support deep space exploration and earth observation, as well as interconnect with ground system. The space information network formed by satellites, airships, aircrafts and other nodes locating at different heights is provided with the rapid access to multi-dimensional information, long-distance transmission, fast processing and fusion application. Space information network will become a major information infrastructure for human beings to explore the mysteries of the universe, extend science and production activities to the space, ocean and even to the deep space. Space information network is, for human beings, a bridge to enter into space, a means to understand space, the basis for the space utilization. Compared with the traditional internet, space information network utilizes its unique spatial advantages to provide global information services, which is expected to promote the development of new industries, with the potential core competitiveness.

Key scientific issues: Variable space-time heterogeneous network architecture; Information transmission of spatial network; Networked space information perception, space-time consistency expression of networked space information; Space information network collaborative mechanisms; Self-organization, reconstruction and application of the space information network.

Copyright 2007 Bureau of International Cooperation, NSFC
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