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China’s Science Awards Further Encourage Innovation

Number of awards increased 50 percent on average.

Scientists are being given increasing importance in China, as this year’s National Science and Technology Award Conference continues to change and improve, with a 50 percent increase in the number of awards given out.

Li Luming, the top winner of the National S&T Progress Award this year, for their brain pacemaker technology and application, said that with the development of the economy, China has been able to put more emphasis than ever on science and technology.

The two top science award winners are gray-haired professors over 80. Liu Yongtan, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE), is from Harbin Institute of Technology, and Qian Qihu, a CAE academician, is from the Army Engineering University.

Liu Yongtan has focused on domestic maritime radar, helping create full monitoring of the country’s seas.

Qian Qihu set up the theoretical system for China’s modern defense engineering and contributed to creating a below ground defence infrastructure.

They were each awarded 8 million yuan (US$1.16 million), 3 million yuan more than previous winners.

This year’s awards have adopted a full open nomination mechanism for the first time. The awards that have used this are the National Preeminent Science and Technology Award, the National Natural Science Award, the National Technological Invention Award, the National S&T Progress Award and the International S&T Cooperation Award.

It also cancels the limits on quotas and strictly specifies the qualifications and procedures by and for nominees. After a year of selections, two people received the national preeminent prize and 278 science projects and five foreign scientists were also awarded.

Winning projects were backed by extensive research, and achieved several breakthroughs.

Xue Qikun and his team from China’s Tsinghua University received this year’s top prize for the National Natural Science Award for finding the quantum anomalous Hall effect in 2012.

“We spent four years tackling the difficulties in finding the quantum anomalous Hall effect. But to achieve that, we spent up to 30 years in preparation,” Xue said.

The scientists see their efforts as worthwhile because the nation is paying more and more attention to scientific and technological progress.

Lu Jiazheng, who won the National Technological Invention Award for his team’s innovation in fire extinguishing methods in forest and hills, hopes that young people will also benefit from these changes.

“Now that our country not only gives us honors, but also more income. This is really good, and will help younger generations develop more interest in scientific research,” he said.

Since China’s reform and opening-up began in 1978, the country has awarded more than 100,000 scientists and efforts to encourage them are ongoing. [APBN]

Source: CAS