A Decade of Reform: Science & Technology Policy in China by International Development Research Centre

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By International Development Research Centre

Booklet via foreign improvement examine Centre

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They provided peer-review mechanisms for concentrating resources in the best groups. – They put heavy emphasis on encouraging talented young and middle-aged scientists. – They provided more opportunities for returning Chinese scientists. Some costs of the reforms – They led to commercially unskilled scientists trying to become entrepreneurs and enterprise managers, with, as a consequence, many enterprise failures. – They led to a move of bright young scientists away from basic research because financial rewards are potentially higher for applied research, which has created more opportunities for employment with new enterprises.

The various ERCs appear to have been selected in a competitive process, with individual institutions of many types making proposals to the sponsoring commissions. This approach has the merit of basing the ERCs on established technological capability but gives rise to questions about the extent of national coverage that will be achieved, even with more than 100 such centres eventually being set up. The Mission could find no evidence of any concern to understand the geographic dispersion of the centres — are they located in places that give them easy access to the enterprises most likely to need their services?

R&D and overall technology management in pillar industries must come to resemble the technology strategies of the modern multinational corporation, not those of ministerially guided state enterprises of the past. S&T policy, therefore, must be developed in the context of changing industrial organization, the contours of which have yet to be fully understood. – Because the S&T interests of the dynamic nonstate sector will not always converge with those of state-owned and state-directed pillar industries, ways must be found to reconcile the interests of both in a national S&T policy.

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