BEIJING — Premier Li Keqiang promised a better environment for scientists and innovation at the country’s top science awards on Jan 9.
At the ceremony, held annually to honor the most distinguished scientists and research in China, nuclear physicist Yu Min, the man behind China’s first hydrogen bomb, won the top accolade, receiving his award from President Xi Jinping.
The state leaders, including Xi, Li, Liu Yunshan and Zhang Gaoli, also presented awards to scientists whose research projects won the state awards.
When addressing the ceremony, Premier Li stressed that China needs strong innovation initiatives if it wants to maintain stable and relatively fast growth.
“China has huge potential of innovation now,” Li said, adding that people’s diversified needs, increasing market dynamics and the society’s inclusiveness demand innovation.
He pledged that the government will spend more resources for scientists breaking new ground. Young people are encouraged to take the lead.
“We will create an environment that encourages exploration, tolerates setbacks and respects individuality and creativity,” he said. “Innovation should be the value, lifestyle and trend of the times.”
The government will reform the system to enable scientists to benefit financially from their researches and offer better protection for intellectual property rights, he said.
It will encourage enterprises to invest in research and provide preferential tax and financial policies for small firms in innovation industries, he said. There will be more government spending in basic research.
Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli, who presided over the ceremony, encouraged scientists to follow the step of the award winners and contribute to the country’s scientific and technological development.
This year, eight scientists, one foreign organization and 318 research projects won the state awards.