China will focus on using science and innovation to boost the national economy and improve the livelihood of the people in 2018, China"s top scientist said Tuesday.
2018 marks the 40th anniversary of China"s reform and opening-up, and is also a crucial year for reaching the goal of building a moderately prosperous society by 2020, said Wan Gang, the minister of science and technology.
"This year, China will strengthen its scientific research and innovation capabilities, and turn research into products to help boost the economy," he said.
"At the same time, we will find more scientific solutions to important social issues, such as poverty relief, pollution control, disaster prediction, and health and city management," he said. "So more people can benefit from the fruits of China"s scientific development," he added.
China had seen major scientific development in the past five years, said Wan. In 2017, China"s total research and development spending exceeded an estimated 1.76 trillion yuan ($264 billion), a 70 percent increase compared to 2012, he said.
In 2017, Chinese scientific papers" total citations -- an indicator of the quality and influence of publications -- had surpassed Germany and the United Kingdom for the first time, trailing only behind the United States.
In the past five years, China"s science and technology has generated more than 30 trillion yuan for the economy and created more than 25 million jobs.
However, China still lacks groundbreaking innovation and scientific discoveries, Wan said. Advanced materials, core equipment and high-end computer chips are some of the scientific fields where China still relies heavily on foreign imports, he added.
At the same time, China"s resources for research and innovation are disrupted unevenly across the nation, leaving many local institutions unable to integrate into the national development trend. China also lacks world-class scientific experts and sufficient channels to connect with international science and innovation projects.
To remedy these issues, Wan said China will push forward and aim to complete 10 major high-tech projects by 2030. They are plane engines, national internet security, deep-space exploration, clean coal, smart grids, integrated information networks, big data, smart manufacturing, advanced materials and artificial intelligence.
"Many of these cutting-edge fields are closely related to the nation"s security and long-term prosperity," said Wan. "They can give rise to more advanced and globally competitive companies and high-quality talent, and also drive innovation and economic development for the country."