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Part I Overall Strategies

1. Guiding Principles. Guided by the Deng Xiaoping theory and the important thought of “Three Represents”, NSFC will hold high the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, further implement the Scientific Outlook on Development, comprehensively execute the national plans for science and technology, education and talented personnel, adhere to its strategic position, and comply with its working principles, as well as stick to its strategic direction of placing greater emphasis on basic research, frontier research and talented personnel training, develop the cause of NSFC faster and better, and make substantial contributions for thriving basic research and building an innovative country.

2. Overall Considerations. The overall considerations for NSFC's work in the 12th Five-Year Plan period will be focused on four aspects as strategic guidance, balanced development, mechanism improvement, and innovation inspiration.

Strategic guidance is a strategic need for NSFC to stick its mission in the framework of diversified funding for basic research. NSFC will put more emphasis on basic research, frontier research and talented personnel in the whole procedure of the evaluation, funding and management of the fund, which will be a strategic direction for pursuing a faster and better development of the fund. More emphasis on basic research means to continue to consolidate the disciplinary basis for a healthy development of basic research. In this respect, NSFC will strengthen its support for fundamental disciplines, traditional disciplines, weak and endangered disciplines and focus on the accumulation of basic data and the building of databases. More emphasis on frontier research means to make forward-looking arrangements to support the frontier researches that can drive the development of science and technology, economy and society. Furthermore,disciplinary crossing and integration will be promoted based on overall arrangements to cultivate and develop emerging disciplines and disciplinary growth points, conquer the scientific and technological highlands which may have their impacts on the development of future strategic emerging industries, and high attention will be paid on the transformative researches which may bring forth new ideas and new concepts. More emphasis on talented personnel means to develop funding chains for the training of innovative personnel and teams, which will provide necessary supports for them throughout their research careers. In this respect, the laws governing the research career of innovative personnel and the development of basic research teams will be truly respected, the combination of the training of reserve personnel and the motivation of personnel working in frontier areas will be insisted, the stabilization of domestic personnel and the introduction of overseas personnel will be combined, the cultivation of leading personnel and the development of innovative teams will be combined to improve for NSFC’s funding mechanism of talented personnel training.

Coordinated development is a fundamental requirement to better balance coordinate the development of basic research. NSFC will make overall arrangements and coordination to various aspects of its work and correctly handle all dialectical relationships in the management of the fund so as to pursue the balanced development of basic research.The relationship between stable funding and competitive merit-based selection will be properly handled for ensuring and encouraging researchers to dedicate their researches on frontiers and difficult issues. The relationship between overall disposition and priority arrangements will be properly handled for pursuing overall progress and great-leap forward development in priority areas. The relationship between creating a lose environment and strengthening performance management will be properly handled to encourage free exploration and emphasize performance feedback. The relationship between relying on expert consensus judgment and supporting non-consensus innovation will be properly handled to pursue scientific and democratic decision making and encourage transformative innovation. The relationship between utilizing domestic resources and exploiting foreign resources will be properly handled so as to serve domestic development and expand opening-up and coordination. The relationship between standardized management and classified guidance will be properly handled so as to follow unified basic standards and requirements and fully reflect disciplinary features and differences.

Mechanism improvement is an important guarantee for a better and faster development of NSFC. NSFC will improve its management system and operating mechanism, and substantially boost its capacity to encourage scientists to pursue free exploration and indigenous innovation. It will improve the strategic planning mechanism, keep abreast with the development trends of frontier sciences and the national strategic demands, combine the top-down with the bottom-up approach, and give full play to the guiding roles of the science fund as a national strategic resource. It will improve the decision-making consultation mechanism, fully absorb the strategic wisdoms of scientific communities, and promote scientific and democratic decision-making. It will improve the peer review mechanism, constantly intensify the building of the expert system, enhance the awareness and ability of evaluation experts to implement strategic guidance, and further increase the credibility of evaluation. It will improve the performance management mechanism and the evaluation system in conformity with the unique features and laws of basic research, and increase management capacity and cost-effectiveness. It will improve the supervision and restraint mechanism, advocate academic and ethic standards, and prevent ethic risks.

Innovation inspiration is a fundamental mission of NSFC to support basic research. NSFC will proceed from the strategic goal of building an innovative country, and continue to boost the capability to grasp the regularity in work , push forward scientific development and encourage indigenous innovation. It will pursue a balanced, coordinated and sustainable development of various disciplines and continuously solidify the innovation basis for a sustained and healthy development of basic research. It will encourage indigenous innovation, support integrated innovation and re-innovation based on import, digestion and absorption, and strive to build an innovation platform for the cultivation of frontier academic ideas. It will improve the system on talented personnel discovery, training, funding and evaluation and systematically optimize the innovation environment for talented personnel to grow and play their roles. It will give full play to the leading roles of basic research so as to provide talented personnel and knowledge reserves for the development of science and technology, economy and society, to provide scientific and technological support for an expedited change of economic development pattern, and to make effective contributions to the enhancement of China’s capacity for indigenous innovation and its competitiveness in science and technology.

Copyright 2007 Bureau of International Cooperation, NSFC