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Research Fronts 2019 Released: China Is Reducing Its Gap With the US in Frontier Research

China ranks first in 33 out of 137 global research fronts, according to the report “Research Fronts 2019” jointly released by the Institutes of Science and Development of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CASISD), the National Science Library of Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Clarivate Analytics on 26 November 2019.

The 2019 report identifies a total of 137 Research Fronts based on the specific commonalities indicated by clusters of highly cited papers, including 100 hot and 37 emerging specialties spanning 10 broad research areas in sciences and social sciences, and interpreted them to reveal the evolution of scientific research and the innovation trends, helping researchers, policy makers, and research administrators to determine key scientific areas.

“Strong basic research is the foundation of a technological powerhouse,” said BAI Chunli, President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The world’s major science powers are all strengthening strategic planning in basic research in frontier sciences, where it will become the new arena for future technological competition, he added.

“We will need to accurately identify key research fields and trends if we hope to make major original breakthroughs in frontier sciences, solve major science obstacles for national needs, and support our nation’s innovation-driven development.”

Among the 10 broad areas, the US leads in seven in research activity and influence, while China leads in three: chemistry and materials sciences, math/computer sciences and engineering, and ecology and environmental sciences.

“These three fields are closely related to the requirements for China’s growth, and the excellence reflects the problem-driven innovations in China,” said PAN Jiaofeng, CASISD president.

However, China has significantly fell behind the US in two fields of clinical medicine, astronomy and astrophysics. Though ranking the second in physics, biology, earth sciences, and social sciences fields such as economics and psychology, it also has a substantial gap with the US according to the report.

LENG Fuhai, a CASISD professor, said the US is generally very strong and capable across most frontier fields, while China excels in a few areas but has noticeable shortcomings in others.

In conjunction, an analytical report entitled “2019 Research Fronts: Active Fields, Leading Countries” is also published to examine and compare national performance across the 137 research fronts. This report reveals that the US is still leading global research followed by China in second place in 2019. UK, Germany and France rank the third, fourth and fifth, and China is reducing its gap with US. [APBN]

Source: CAS