Speech by Premier Li Keqiang
At the National Science and Technology Award Conference
9 January 2017
Today, we are gathered for the important occasion of the National Science and Technology Award Conference to honor professionals in science and technology who have made outstanding contribution to advances in their own fields and to the modernization of China overall. Just now, General Secretary Xi Jinping and other Party and state leaders presented the Highest National Award of Science and Technology to academician Zhao Zhongxian and researcher Tu Youyou and conferred other awards on their winners. Here, on behalf of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, I wish to extend warm congratulations to all the award-winners, and convey cordial greetings and high regard to all the science and technology professionals in China. My deep appreciation also goes to foreign experts who have participated in and supported the development of science and technology in China.
Last year, thanks to the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core, China made notable strides in economic and social development despite complex and grim internal and external environment. Major milestones were recorded in fields of science and technology and numerous outcomes in innovation were achieved. The CPC Central Committee and State Council convened the National Science, Technology and Innovation Conference, issuing a clarion call to build China into a science and technology giant. Vigorous efforts were made to implement the innovation-driven development strategy, such as the promulgation of the Outline of the National Strategy on Innovation-driven Development and the launch of programs for major science, technology and innovation projects toward 2030. Reform of science and technology institutions and innovation in management were accelerated, and a distribution policy that puts premium on the value of knowledge was introduced, which effectively incentivized science researchers.
Significant breakthroughs were made in science and technology, many of which reached an internationally advanced level. Let me list a few. The Shenzhou 11 manned spacecraft successfully docked with Tiangong 2 space lab and astronauts managed a medium-term stay in space. The world’s largest single aperture spherical telescope went into operation. The world’s first quantum science experimental satellite “Mozi” was launched. The supercomputer “Sunway TaihuLight” powered by a home-made chip held the current world record. Outcomes of science, technology and innovation are now commercialized at a faster pace. The initiative of mass entrepreneurship and innovation gained a strong momentum. Innovation as the primary driving force is exerting a notably positive impact on growth. “Innovated in China” won international recognition, made the Chinese people proud and unleashed enormous energy that invigorated the whole nation.
A new round of technological revolution and industrial transformation is in the making, further sharpening international competition to stay ahead of the curve. China has entered a new phase of economic development featuring deep structural adjustments and renewal of driving forces. Only through innovation can China sustain the strong momentum of development. More than ever the powerful force of science, technology and innovation is called for. We must conscientiously study and act on the thinking laid out in the important speeches of General Secretary Xi Jinping, put innovation at the center of development and follow the new vision on development. Specifically we will focus on supply-side structural reform, deepen the implementation of innovation-driven development, and transform traditional drivers of growth while fostering new ones, with a view to maintaining a medium-high rate of growth and reaching a medium-high level of development.
We will build up the capability of scientific and technological innovation across the board to lay a solid foundation for our country's core competitiveness. We should closely follow frontier trends in science and technology, and make early and visionary planning for research and application in focal areas in light of the needs of our economy and society. National scientific and technological programs and projects and key infrastructure must be implemented and built to support innovations in science and technology. We must strengthen basic research and original innovation, give full play to the central role of scientific research institutes and universities, and develop long-term and stable supporting mechanisms for researchers engaged in these areas to delve deep into their areas of endeavor. It is by no means easy for them to work quietly and thanklessly for long years. Yet their efforts will be adequately rewarded once the breakthrough comes. To encourage social input into innovation, a mechanism needs to be put in place to encourage companies to play a leading role based on market rules. We should also encourage greater openness in scientific and technological innovation by enhancing international cooperation and leveraging the Internet and other new platforms and models to develop synergy among industries, universities and research institutes. We should pool and upgrade factors of innovation and raise the efficiency of commercialization of innovation and research outcomes.
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