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Rules eased to benefit researchers

Updated: Jun 2,2016 7:43 AM     China Daily

Administrative hurdles reduced and more flexibility to be exercised in granting of funds

China is to further remove unnecessary administrative barriers for universities and research institutions to boost enthusiasm from departments and researchers.

Arrangements for the improvements were decided at the State Council’s executive meeting on June 1, chaired by Premier Li Keqiang.

The best universities and research institutes are built by fully using the initiatives of their research fellows and teachers, not by following the government’s “rigid regulations”, Premier Li said. “Thus, it is important to motivate the faculties and researchers to work with enthusiasm and make innovations.”

The new measures mean that fewer administrative procedures will be required for research funds to be granted, while a more flexible way of using research funds will be encouraged.

The amended regulation calls for a professional financial system so that researchers can focus on their work and will not be distracted by procedures.

Under the amendment, researchers’ share of financial rewards will be raised to a maximum of 20 percent, up from 5 percent, in direct expenses deducted for equipment purchases. All participants in research projects, including graduate students and visiting scholars, will be eligible for payment.

Complicated requirements for travel reimbursement, such as invoices, to cover travel to and attendance at conferences, have long been a headache for researchers. A number of rigid rules have created problems for them in carrying out field work and inviting research fellows to academic conferences.

Under the new regulation, a more convenient method of reimbursement for business trips and conferences will be introduced. Universities will be allowed to draw up their own regulations on the reimbursement of travel expenses.

During a visit to Tsinghua University in April, the premier asked how research funds were used, while talking with Shi Yigong, dean of the School of Life Science at the university who spent years doing research in the United States.

Premier Li said a chasm still existed between China and leading nations in higher education, adding that China’s rules are too rigid for granting research funds.