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Premier Li urges more efforts in basic sciences

Updated: Jan 4,2018 9:11 PM

Premier Li Keqiang visits Peking University on April 15, 2016 in Beijing.

More efforts should be made to support mathematics and other fundamental sciences, to raise the nation’s level of original innovation, Premier Li Keqiang said at a State Council executive meeting Jan 3.

“Mathematics, especially pure mathematics, constitutes an important foundation for our scientific research, such as artificial intelligence and quantum communications,” Premier Li said, adding that more work should be done to remove obstacles to original research with stronger fundamental sciences.

The meeting laid out measures to enhance mathematics, physics and other basic sciences to raise China’s level of original innovation, a key move to build an innovation-driven nation, the Premier said.

“Basic scientific research should be rooted in education,” Premier Li said at the Jan 3 meeting. He urged education and science departments to cooperate to create a better environment for research. He also urged universities and key research institutions to put more resources in major fundamental sciences, like pure mathematics.

Premier Li Keqiang visits Peking University on April 15, 2016 in Beijing.

He also underlined coordination between basic science and applied research. “We should not only pursue original and disruptive innovations, but also promote applied technological innovations in priority areas such as smart manufacturing, information technology and modern agriculture.”

He said the government should encourage more enterprises and social organizations to invest in basic scientific research through tax levies and government guidance.

“In developed countries, enterprise is an important player in basic research, which is what we lag behind in,” he said.

Decisions were also made at the meeting to expand international cooperation on scientific research, train and attract more strategic technology talent, offer steady support for excellent innovative teams to conduct basic science research, and support foreign experts to lead or join in national scientific projects.

At last, the Premier said, “China should borrow great minds from various places to promote the leapfrog development of the nation’s basic scientific research.”