Research funding increased
CHINA has allocated more funds for research on natural sciences in a bid to encourage projects that have less obvious commercial applications.
Professor Sun Shu, vice-president of the National Natural Science Foundation of China, said the foundation had received an average annual increase of 20 to 30 per cent of its budget since 1992.
This year, the foundation will receive about 366 million yuan (HK$326.5 million) from the Government, which will increase by about 19 per cent to 430 million yuan next year, Professor Sun said. The foundation is China's major research institution for the natural sciences.
Lack of funding has long been a problem for China's educational and research organisations, resulting in a serious brain drain and a large proportion of the population remaining illiterate.
Every year, Beijing allocates about 0.7 per cent of its gross national product on scientific research while across the Taiwan Strait, Taipei allocates 1.7 per cent of its GDP on science.
Professor Sun, who is also a geology lecturer at the prestigious Chinese Academy of Sciences, said: ''As a scientist, I would say that not enough money has been injected into the research and development of science and technology.'' But the scholar was quick to add that the Chinese Government had done its best for a developing country.
Qian Haoqing, division chief of the foundation's planning bureau, said the Government had adopted a policy of supporting commercial research only if it was economically viable, while continuing to fund the less-commercial natural sciences.
Professor Sun said there were a series of measures to encourage and groom young scientists to work in industry, including trusts and a ''talent project'' launched by the State Education Commission.