China inaugurates national R&D plan

BEIJING, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) — China began a national key research & development (R&D) plan on Tuesday, to streamline numerous state-funded scientific and technological programs.

The plan focuses on research in fields vital to the country’s development and people’s well-being, such as agriculture, energy, the environment and health, as well as strategic fields key to industrial competitiveness, innovation and national security, said Hou Jianguo, vice minister of science and technology.

The plan now covers 59 specific projects, Hou told a Ministry of Science and Technology press conference.

The plan merges several prominent state sci-tech programs, including the program 863 and program 973, focused on key fields such as biotechnology, space, information, automation, energy, new materials, telecommunications and marine technology.

Breakthroughs of the program 863 include supercomputer Tianhe-1, manned deep-sea research submersible Jiaolong, and super hybrid rice.

To address low efficiency resulting from redundant programs, over 100 programs will be merged into five plans: natural science, major sci-tech, key R&D plan, technical innovation and the sci-tech human resources.

The national key R&D plan is the first to be started.

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