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City needs more basic research to boost innovation hub status

来源:Shanghai Daily 作者:Chen Huizhi 2021/8/26 13:42:01

Shanghai needs to further boost its basic research in order to become an international innovation hub, local legislators concluded in a report released on Wednesday.

The report was based on an enforcement assessment done earlier this year by Shanghai People's Congress, the local legislature, of the law promoting Shanghai as an innovation center. It was passed during its plenary in January last year and took effect in May the same year.

The law requires, among other things, that municipal and district governments increase their budgets for innovation activities.

These should have a focus on supporting basic research and other key and public research needs year by year, and encourage companies and other social partners to invest in basic research.

Basic research, which aims to advance fundamental knowledge in science, is seen as the fountainhead of applied science technology innovations.

The report pointed out that the contribution of the budget to basic research remains at a lower level in Shanghai.

"Government budgets remain the major source of funds for basic research in Shanghai, with the national budget accounting for 90 percent of all, while local budgets mainly support technological research and development," it said.

The amount of budget applied to basic research was only 8 percent of the entire research and development expenses of the city from 2016 to 2019. In its 14th five-year plan, for the period through 2025, the percentage is targeted at 12 percent.

"In leading innovative world economies, the investment of government in basic research usually accounts for only 50 to 60 percent of the entire investment in this regard. The rest is contributed by companies and other social organizations," the report said.

Shanghai Science Commission, the body which oversees the science development of the city, also highlighted the problem in its report presented to legislators on implementation of the law.

"In practice, the budget used in the construction of key scientific and technological infrastructures is not applicable to related research activities, and the local budget is incompatible with the budget from the national government in supporting research activities of national scientific institutions," the commission said.

More convenience should be provided to facilitate international cooperation on basic research to increase the city's contribution to international innovation activities, it said.