BEIJING, Aug. 21 -- The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), China's top science think tank, plans to put itself in the vanguard of the reform of scientific research, said Bai Chunli, CAS president, Thursday.
The CAS rolled out a complete restructuring program for more than 100 subordinate institutes on Tuesday, sorting them into four functional categories - applied technology for industry; academic research; engineering; and basic research that requires long-term investment.
The changes are not simply a reshuffling of institutes, but an attempt to manage each differently. Different functions require different setups, rules, assessment standards and fundraising, Bai said in an interview with Xinhua.
The goal is efficient management of scientists and research because, compared with the world's leading research institutes, the CAS has a number of weaknesses.
"We have tried to make changes before, but none of them really got to the heart of the matter," Bai said. "Research areas of some of our institutes overlap and a number of projects repeat one another unnecessarily. The quality of research is not satisfactory."
The CAS has a staff of more than 50,000, 12 sub-academies, more than 100 institutes directly attached to it, about 100 state labs and 212 field stations.
Wan Gang, minister of science and technology, told Xinhua that, compared with developed countries, China's science sector is poorly managed and inefficient, with less information sharing and communication; problems that have held back scientific development despite increased investment.
The government hopes more commercial enterprises will work with research institutes, but for that to happen, institutes need to be more open and flexible, Wan said. At least 25 companies listed on China's A-share market are controlled by universities and research institutes with a total market value of about 187.8 billion yuan (30.49 billion US dollars)
On Monday, a report on innovation was discussed at a meeting of the Central Leading Group on Financial and Economic Affairs, headed by President Xi Jinping and attended by Premier Li Keqiang.
Xi asked for concrete policy on innovation-driven development; national science and technology programs; and breakthroughs in projects that demonstrate the nation's strategic intent.