China and UK to strengthen cooperation in scientific and technological innovation

According to a report by Xinhua news agency, Chinese President Xi Jinping called on China and the UK to strengthen cooperation in scientific and technological innovation. President Xi made the remarks when meeting with visiting British Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing last week.

Following President Xi’s state visit to the UK in 2015, the two countries enjoyed what he called a “golden era” of bilateral ties with steady development. British Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, also said that President Xi’s state visit to Britain in 2015 advanced UK-China cooperation in a wide range of areas. Earlier this year, British Prime Minister Theresa May visited China to continue the momentum of frequent high-level visits and institutional dialogues.

President Xi pointed out that China-UK cooperation in strengthening scientific and technological innovation is conducive to mutual benefit and win-win results, and will further substantialise the bilateral relations.

He also stressed that China will continue on the path of independent innovation with Chinese characteristics and implement the strategy of innovation-driven development. He said China will continue its opening-up and strengthen international cooperation in innovation.

Prince Andrew said he is willing to continue to strengthen practical cooperation in science and technology, innovation and industry between the two countries, enhance mutual understanding between the two peoples, and promote even greater development of Sino-British relations.

At the invitation of Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs (CPIFA), Prince Andrew visited China to attend the finals of the 2nd Pitch@Palace China, which focuses on technological innovation.

In late last month, President Xi called for efforts to establish China as a world science and technology leader. The statement was made at the opening of the 19th Meeting of the Academicians of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the 14th Meeting of the Academicians of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

According to President Xi, as China strives for prosperity and rejuvenation, it needs to devote great energy to promoting science and technology, endeavoring to be a major world center for science and innovation. He called on the country’s science and technology personnel to grasp the main trends, seize opportunities, face problems squarely, and rise to challenges.

He also noted that since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, China has been adhering to the Party’s leadership over the cause of science and technology, striving toward the goal of developing China into a science and technology power, sticking to the path of innovation with Chinese characteristics, inspiring creativity vitality through deepened reform, stressing the key role of talent in innovation-driven development, and integrating itself into a global network of innovation.

“China’s strength in this field is undergoing a transition from quantity accumulation to quality leap, and from breakthroughs in certain fields to improvement of systematic capabilities,” said President Xi.

By quality leap, he called for closer integration of the internet, big data, and artificial intelligence with the economy to advance industry transformations to move Chinese industries up to the medium-high end of the global value chain.

At the same time, President Xi stated that technological innovation should be accompanied by institutional innovation. He encouraged Chinese scientists to be actively participate in the global governance in science and technology through international exchanges and cooperation, particularly in areas like food and energy security, health and climate change.

Recently, China issued guidelines to strengthen scientific integrity, encourage innovation and scale heights in science and technology. The guidelines encourage Chinese researchers to conduct exchanges and cooperation with relevant countries and international organisations, strengthen study on scientific integrity, jointly improve international norms of scientific research, and cope with transnational cases regarding scientific integrity.

According to a document released by the General Office of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the General Office of the State Council, a scientific integrity mechanism will be established to encourage innovation and tolerate trials and errors while maintaining zero tolerance for severe academic dishonesty.

China’s Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) will take the leading responsibility in coordinating and managing the work of scientific integrity in the fields of science and social sciences respectively.

According to the guidelines, MOST and CASS plan to build an integrity information system to record and assess conduct of scientists and scientific institutions across the country. 

The guidelines strictly prohibit practices such as plagiarism, fabrication of data and research conclusions, ghost-writing, and peer review manipulation.

Efforts will be made to reform the scientific research evaluation system, making scientific integrity an important indicator in various evaluations. According to the guidelines, papers, patents, titles, projects, and honours should not be taken as the restricting qualifications for evaluation.

MOST also plans to set up a journal warning mechanism to put any domestic or international academic journals that ignores academic quality while seeking high payments onto a blacklist, and papers published in such journals will not be recognized in any kind of assessment.

The guidelines say intermediary service agencies which engaged in illegal activities such as buying and selling scientific papers, ghost writing, and forging, fabrication, and distorting research data, will be punished severely. Those who are found to have committed academic misconduct will be banned from teaching or doing any kind of research work in government-run schools and scientific institutions. Their research grants will be cancelled and honours revoked.

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