President Jiang Zemin has promised major incentives to the nation's scientific researchers through business opportunities and awards for their work. At the opening ceremony yesterday of a four-day National Conference on Technological Innovation in Beijing, Mr Jiang called for more breakthroughs in science and technology. Premier Zhu Rongji presided over the high-profile meeting, which attracted other members of the Politburo Standing Committee including Li Peng, Li Ruihuan, Hu Jintao, Wei Jianxing and Li Lanqing. Xinhua said Beijing would set up an award of up to five million yuan (HK$4.6 million) for a research breakthrough, and more facilities would be given to researchers to establish their own businesses. And up to 600 million yuan would be spent to lure foreign experts. In his keynote speech yesterday, Mr Jiang stressed the promotion of science and education. Mainland papers yesterday ran another speech by Mr Jiang in which he said the scientific spirit must be promoted to combat the rise of 'superstition', referring to the popularity of cults such as the banned Falun Gong. He gave that address at the Institute of Chemical Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences last week. 'There is still a struggle between science and superstition,' Mr Jiang told the scientists at Dalian in northeastern Liaoning province.