Premier Li fields suggestions from scientists at symposium

Updated: Jul 21,2021 02:03 PM

Relevant departments should listen more to the scientists, Premier Li Keqiang urged on July 19 while presiding over a symposium at the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC).

A researcher at the Institute of Mathematics and Systems Science of the Chinese Academy of Sciences told Premier Li personnel expenses account for only 30 to 40 percent of their scientific research funds, which is still low compared to foreign countries.

Premier Li said mathematics research may need more talents than equipment, so further efforts should be made to deepen reforms to change the equipment-centered trend over the years, otherwise it will be difficult for the country to give full play to the strengths of outstanding talents in basic research fields such as mathematics.

To intensify basic research, not only is capital investment needed, but also a better environment, which is key to "inspiring the endogenous power of scientists", he added.

A professor from Peking University suggested increasing long-term and sustainable investment in basic research, while another professor from Tsinghua University hoped to create a culture of innovation that encourages young talent to engage in original research and tolerates failure.

When Premier Li encouraged scientists to speak their opinions, more attendees raised their hands.

Some suggested setting up more State-level science and technology innovation bases in the central and western regions, so talents could stay there out of passion for their career rather than high salaries.

Some hoped research institutions will be given greater autonomy in recruiting talents.

It was also suggested the country should encourage promising scientists to look beyond the decade while laying out scientific resources.

Premier Li responded fundamental research may take 10 years or even longer to produce results, and only step-by-step efforts will achieve better results in the end.

A member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences said the main reason for lack of original innovation lies in academic ecology. The most original research requires very intelligent people, while research resources normally do not fall into their hands, which is a huge obstacle for original innovation.

Constant efforts must be made to break the barriers that constrain the development of science and technology, and create a sound environment for scientific research, Premier Li said.

At the end, the Premier asked the NSFC to collect suggestions from scientists and report to him, and promised to solve the actual problems they mentioned.