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National Basic Research Priorities Programme
2004-08-03

1. BACIGROUND

With the development of science and technology, the significant promoting function and strategic impacts of basic research on the national economic and social development have arouse great attention form all the countries in the world. As a developing country, China should pay more attention to key research fields and concentrating her resources to important projects so as to better use the limited funds. Therefore, the government of China has set up the Climbing Programme to include the key projects in basic research that are relatively mature in research conditions, concerned with the overall situation of and play a promoting function to the national development and scientific and technological advancement, and the programme is implemented as a mission orientated programme of the state. The implementation of the Climbing Programme started in 1991 and 45 projects have been included in the programme in succession, involving 30 basic research projects (Climbing A) and 15 application basic research projects (Climbing B). The Climbing Programme is funded by the state appropriation and each project in the Eighth Five year Plan period received 1million yuan annually.

II BASIC NATURE AND PURPOSES

The Climbing Programme is organized and implemented as a programme of key projects for the basic research of the country, aimed at the subjects that are concerned with the overall situation of and play a promoting function to the scientific and technological, economic and social development of the country, With this programme the state selects the projects with important scientific value or application prospects, organizes research teams. Small in number but highly capable, for basic research and provides them with relatively high investment intensity and sustained, stable support so as to concentrate resources and make break through progress in some fields while supporting basic research through the approaches of scientific foundation, etc .. The implementation of the Climbing Programme is of great significance to promoting the national development and the scientific and technological advancement and realizing the state objectives in basic research.

III. GUIDING PRINCIPLES

The guiding principles of the programme is to give high priority to studying the basic theory and technological basis of vital , key problems in the national economic and social development, closely aimed at the state objectives in basic research; considering the trend of scientific development and based on the principle of "catching up with the advanced level in the world in selected fields", form the thinking of emphasizing quality of research achievements in basic research, stress the focal points and emphatically support innovative studies so as to contribute to the promotion of the level of basic research in China.

IV. OVERALL GOALS

1. Organize outstanding teams to probe into new theories and methods, strive by every means to make contribution to the development of scientific frontiers and work out a batch of high level achievements, aimed at the vital problems in the national economic and social development in China in the early period of next century .

2. View from the angle of long term development and pay attention to the combination with the overall work of construction of research bases. Select the national laboratories, sectoral open laboratories and outstanding scientific engineering projects of high research level and highly qualified research teams to assume the projects of the Climbing Programme, and pay attention to giving full play to the their mainstay function in basic research.

3. Promote the adjustment of disciplines and the development of cross disciplines. Carry out comprehensive studies of multiple disciplines around the problems of the projects of the Climbing Programme. Promote the structural adjustment of basic sciences in China by use of the mutual overlapping and penetration function of different disciplines in climbing programme.

V. THE MAIN CONTENTS

The priority fields of development in the Ninth Five year Plan period include the life science, information science, materials science, energy science and environmental science. At the same time, attention will also be paid to supporting and strengthening the research on important theories in the field of basic sciences and on the frontier of science. Research on mathematics will be strengthened. Therefore, about 60 vital, key projects of basic research with great scientific significance and important application prospects with be continued during the Ninth Five year Plan period, each with an annual investment of about 2 million yuan on the average.

A project of Climbing A should at least conform to one of the following conditions:

1. Belong to the frontier research of the field, have a good basis of work and be expected to make important breakthroughs in the next five to ten years;

2. Belong to the basic research that can give play to the geographical and resource advantages and the characteristics of research work of China and be expected to gain important research achievements with the Chinese characteristics;

3. Belong to the basic research that has already gained superiority and belongs to the advanced level in the world, and be expected to continue to gain important progress.

A project of Climbing B should at least conform to one of the following conditions;

1. Have important prospect of application, be urgently needed by the economic development of China, belong to an area of active research activities in the world and be expected to bring about excellent achievements within this century;

2. Be of great significance for the development of the engineering and technology science itself and favorable for engineering and technology to develop to a higher level;

3. Be of great significance for the development of new fields of engineering and technology;

4. Be favorable to promoting the technical advancement of the main industries or giving full play to the advantages of natural resources in China, and be expected to bring about great economic and social benefits.

VI. SELECTION OF PROJECTS

The Climbing Programme sticks to the principle of providing support on selective basis. The Ministry of Science and Technology is in charge of the selection and works jointly with the Ministry of Education, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the National Natural Science Foundation of China and related departments. The principles of selection are :

1. To carefully select projects in the priority fields of development according to the conditions for project institution, and stick to the principle of selecting the best and the needed;

2. To make selection according to the goal and objectives of the state and emphasize innovation;

3. To encourage extensive cooperation, including that covering different disciplines and departments;

4. To recruit leading experts of high academic level and organizational ability and corresponding research teams, particularly middle and young aged leading experts and research teams with youths as the mainstay force ;

5. To pay attention to selecting high level research teams as the implementing agencies of projects of the programme, such as research institutes with outstanding research achievements, national key open laboratories, important scientific engineering projects, scientific centres, etc.

VII ORGANIZATION AND MANAGEMENT

The Ministry of Science and Technology is responsible for organization of Education, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the National Natural Science Foundation of China, etc. With organization routine management of projects, An expert committee is installed for a project to take charge of academic activities, and the chief scientist responsibility system is implemented.

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