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Transform the Basic Research Findings into Original Innovation Ability


Transform the Basic Research Findings into Original Innovation Ability
By Lv Wei, DRC


The report of the 19th CPC National Congress points out that “we should aim at research frontier areas of science and technology, strengthen basic research and make breakthroughs in pioneering basic research and path-breaking and original innovations. We should strengthen basic research in applied science, launch national science and technology projects and prioritize innovation in key generic technologies, cutting-edge frontier technologies, modern engineering technologies and disruptive technologies.” How to further strengthen basic research and transform research findings into original innovation capability? To this end, we should not only increase the investment in basic research, but also establish a complementary legal and policy system and strive to create a legal, policy-based and cultural environment conducive to basic research. Meanwhile, we should optimize the spending structure of basic research, improve the evaluation mechanism and the management system of scientific research achievements, and give full play to the role of enterprises. Multiple measures should be taken to promote the transformation and application of basic research findings.

Currently, China’s economy has developed from a high-speed growth to a high quality growth. The development of science and technology has also entered a phase of seeking quality improvement instead of seeking only the quantity expansion. Technological innovation is shifted from following the trend to joint development, and even leading the trend. However in comparison with the world leading science and technology powers, China’s basic research input is relatively low; the input source is single, with limited influential scientific results; the original innovation ability is weak, while the technological supply is far from meeting the demand of cutting-edge technology innovation by enterprises. In this regard, we need to further strengthen basic research so as to improve China’s original innovation capacity.

Basic research is the source of applied research and major innovation. Theoretically, a complete innovation chain is the whole process from basic research and applied research to technology development, industrial application and scale development. Specifically, the development of basic research and improvement of original innovation ability need to establish mutually supporting laws, policy systems and clear divisions of responsibilities of a scientific research system, and mechanisms promoting the transformation of basic research findings into the original innovation ability. While increasing the investment in basic research, we should further create a law-based, policy-based and culture-based environment which is conducive to enhancing basic research. Firstly, we should optimize the expenditure structure of basic research, improve the system for research topics selection, and enhance the quality of basic research. Secondly, we should adopt multiple measures to promote the transformation and application of basic research findings. Thirdly, we should give full play to the role of enterprises in basic research and related transformation. Fourthly, we should establish a scientific evaluation system to improve the basic research quality. On the one hand, we should make classification and evaluation according to the source of basic research projects. On the other hand, the evaluation of basic researchers should not be attached with overemphasis on their quantity and transformation of results, or else this would lead scientists to pay more attention to short-term results, making it hard for them to make breakthroughs in innovation.