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Science plays a key role in development

In this undated photo, farmers in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous regions use drones to help pollinate pear flowers. (DING LEI / FOR CHINADAILY.COM.CN)

The Ministry of Science and Technology has played an important role in China’s efforts to build a moderately prosperous society, its top official said at a news conference hosted by the State Council Information Office in Beijing on Tuesday.

Wang Zhigang, minister of science and technology, said it has taken a host of practical measures to promote science and technology in socioeconomic development, foster innovation, support the transfer and industrialization of research results, and encourage more investment in scientific and technological infrastructure.

We used science and technology in helping to eliminate absolute poverty, advance rural vitalization, and overcome obstacles in the fight against air, water and soil pollution.

Wang Zhigang, Minister of science and technology

“We used science and technology in helping to eliminate absolute poverty, advance rural vitalization, and overcome obstacles in the fight against air, water and soil pollution,” Wang said. “New technologies have been widely used in community management and helped greatly in suppressing COVID-19.”

He said the ministry has also made breakthroughs in its reform of the research system, created a better environment for innovation, improved the resource allocation system and has inspired creativity in science and technology workers.

“Without the advances to our scientific and technological capability, it would have been very difficult to rapidly identify the DNA sequence of the novel coronavirus, and develop test reagents and high-quality domestic vaccines,” he said.

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Wang said the ministry has worked with multiple provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions to encourage institutes in economically thriving areas to cooperate with their counterparts in less-developed western regions, and has also helped technology-intensive east coast enterprises establish presences in the west.

The introduction of investment, business and talented people has helped less-developed areas build their own high-tech industries, train local professionals, and create more jobs.

“For instance, we encouraged and supported the collaboration between the Tibet autonomous region and high-tech companies in breeding new types of highland barley. A total of 38 new varieties were created and promoted, creating an overall market value of 320 million yuan (US$49 million),” Wang said, adding that the ministry also funded Tibet’s studies of its ecosystem and yaks.

Speaking of the ministry’s targets in core technologies, Wang said it will continue concentrating on basic materials, essential manufacturing techniques and high-end chips as well as industrial software so these fields can catch up with current world leaders.

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In addition, cutting-edge disciplines like artificial intelligence, quantum information, advanced manufacturing, brain sciences and aerospace technology will remain at the top of the ministry’s support list, he said.

zhaolei@chinadaily.com.cn

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