A leading American scientist said China should encourage projects that "continually generate innovative ideas and technologies" in its scientific endeavors.
China has made very good scientific progress over the past 30 years, said Bruce Alberts, editor-in-chief of the American journal Science, noting China has become a leader in fields such as material science.
Alberts, who became editor of the magazine in March, was here to deliver two speeches and meet with prominent scientists. The magazine featured the latest Chinese research into genetically modified cotton as its cover story in the Sept. 19 issue.
China needs to support more small independent projects and more young scientists to generate innovation, he said, adding that achievement should be measured not by the quantity but the quality of scientists' papers.
Alberts said a nation's "scientific temper" was important to its sustainable development.
"We need good scientific education with an emphasis on active enquiry for all nations," he said in a speech on "Science and the World's Future" at Tsinghua University on Tuesday.
"For each of our nations to benefit from science, we must keep science healthy," Alberts said. "Good science must continually generate innovative ideas and technologies."
He was the president of the United States National Academy of Sciences from 1993 to 2005. During that time, he visited China almost every year.
Alberts, also a renowned molecular biologist at the University of California, San Francisco, said that scientists need to "have a much larger presence in world affairs".
He is one of the co-chairs of the Inter Academy Council, representing 15 academies of science and equivalent organizations in China, Brazil, India, the United States, the United Kingdom and other countries.
"I found his talk quite useful and China's scientific policies could benefit from referring to his opinions," said Fan Chunliang, a researcher at the Institute of Policy and Management of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
"I was quite inspired by the words 'science knows no country, knowledge belongs to humanity', which he quoted from Louis Pasteur," said Wu Wei, a doctoral candidate at Tsinghua University. "I think we should all make a strong effort to help science become 'the torch that illuminates the world'."
Science, with 1 million subscribers worldwide, is sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Alberts said that he hoped the magazine would become a powerful platform for setting scientific standards and bringing outstanding science all over the world into public view.
Alberts said that with the opening of the Asia-Pacific news bureau in Beijing last October, the magazine's coverage of China had increased. He hoped that the level of reporting about China could be sustained, while India, Brazil and other developing countries could also get more coverage.