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October 25, 2009

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China encourages innovation

THE Chinese government will reinforce support for innovation in strategic industries and push technology to be commercialized as core efforts to sustain development in the world's third largest economy, the Pujiang Innovation Forum in Shanghai was told yesterday.

Wan Gang, China's Minister of Science and Technology, said innovation in industries including new energy, biotechnology, information technology, new materials and advanced manufacturing had become cutting edge in powering current economic development.

"China, like many other countries, will continue to support the expansion of these industries and enhance efforts to encourage self-developed technology that lies at the core of China's future competitiveness," Wan told the forum which opened yesterday.

The two-day forum, sponsored by the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Shanghai municipal government, is the highest level international forum on innovation in China. This year's theme is "Economic Globalization and Innovation."

Wan said China's central government will ensure spending of 146.1 billion yuan (US$21.4 billion) on technological development this year, an increase of 25.6 percent from a year earlier.

The level of funds to encourage innovation in strategic industries will grow more in the future, he said.

Meanwhile, China will accelerate the training of talent and channel 100,000 scientists to work in enterprises this year and next to encourage commercialization of technology.

Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng said at the forum that the city will push forward the development of home-grown technologies in nine industries such as alternative energy and new materials.

"Shanghai has created a model to integrate technological studies in universities, communities and enterprises to consolidate social resources for innovation," Han said.

Innovation was of key importance to driving forward a country's technology, economy and culture, as well as that of the world, he said.

Dan Mote, president of the University of Maryland in the United States, said innovation was the only answer to addressing the world's major problems, including climate change, the economy, poverty, education and food safety.

"A world-level cooperation in innovation should be encouraged because no single country can solve these problems alone," Mote told the forum. "Also, people should pay more attention to the culture of innovation."

He said such a culture should have strong leadership committed to innovation, minimal hierarchy in decision making, commitment to implementation, and support for disparate talents and their unconventional ideas.


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