China’s State Council published a document on improving the management of centrally funded scientific research projects. Some key elements of the document are summarized in this post.

Re-organisation of the different research funding programs

  • Science & technology programs administered by different ministries shall be optimized and integrated. Programs with unclear positioning, duplication and overlapping or ineffective performance, shall be adjusted, eliminated, integrated or transformed.
  • Major projects should reflect national objectives. For those major research projects related to national strategic demand and long-term development, resources should be pooled to concentrate on significant issues and key breakthroughs.

Improve communication

  • Project administration authorities shall publish project guidelines at a fixed time on a yearly basis.
  • The period between the date of publication and the deadline for project submission shall in principle not be less than 50 days.

Promote peer-review as the main evaluation system

  • Optimize fair and competitive selection mechanism; decide project undertakers through open selection.
  • Project evaluation should mainly adopt peer review. Overseas high-level experts shall be invited to participate.

Strengthen the researchers’ position

  • Support to young researchers shall be reinforced.
  • Income policy for researchers shall be optimised, and distribution incentive mechanisms should be closely linked with their position responsibilities, work performance, and practical contributions.
  • Researchers’ mobility mechanism should be strengthened.
  • Project packaging and “forced partnering” should be put to an end.

Reinforce the role of enterprises and focus on innovation

  • Enterprises should be the main player in the market-oriented projects. Boundaries between government and market should be clarified.
  • The proportion of experts from enterprises in evaluation for market-oriented projects should be increased.
  • Basic and frontier research projects should be targeted at original (indigenous) innovation.
  • Research institutes and universities are encouraged in talent exchange with enterprises.

Source (Chinese only):