Overhaul of Chinese science spending looms

first_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe BEIJING—The Chinese government is readying a major shake-up of how it doles out science funding. Chinese media are reporting that the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) may hand control of the lion’s share of research spending to as-yet-unidentified “independent institutes,” the state-run People’s Daily reported on 21 October.Further details of the reform, reportedly to be implemented over 3 to 5 years, have not been revealed. But if MOST were to relinquish control of research spending, “that’s a big deal,” says Cao Cong, an expert on Chinese science at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom. The science ministry in 2013 doled out 22 billion RMB ($3.6 billion) in R&D funding, according to estimates by Cao and Dalian University of Technology’s Yutao Sun, primarily through its 863 high-tech development and 973 basic research programs. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Emailcenter_img Widespread corruption and misaligned incentives are widely seen as sapping the vitality from China’s R&D enterprise. The Chinese Academy of Sciences is embarking on a reform of its own institutes aimed at spurring innovation and eliminating redundant research programs. Similar thinking seems to be driving the new approach to MOST-controlled funding. “China will reform state research fund management, delegating power to independent institutes in a bid to curb academic corruption and sharpen innovation,” according to Xinhua, the state-run newswire. “The government will no longer be in direct charge of research projects.” People’s Daily says the Communist Party’s Central Committee and the State Council have approved the plan’s broad outlines.Zhao Lu, director of the education, science, and culture department at the Ministry of Finance, told Xinhua that the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC)—China’s equivalent to the U.S. National Science Foundation—could serve as a model for what may be a new agency for managing R&D spending. NSFC has a reputation for greater transparency and for peer review of projects initiated by principal investigators.In an interview with China Radio, Minister of Science and Technology Wan Gang welcomed the pending reform, saying that it’s intended to “get rid of the shackles on technological innovation.” “We still don’t know yet who will be in charge—that’s the biggest question,” Cao says. “My guess is that it could be a new agency.” Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrylast_img