Fulfill the mission of the main force of basic research Visited Gao Song, academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and president of Sun Yat-sen University


“In recent years, high-level research universities have cultivated more basic research talents through the ‘Strong Foundation Plan’ and the top-notch talent training program in basic disciplines, and continuously consolidated their role as the main force in the cultivation of basic research talents. This year’s government work report proposed to build 288 training bases for top-notch students in basic disciplines, and continue to promote the construction of world-class universities and first-class disciplines. Gao Song, academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and president of Sun Yat-sen University, said in an exclusive interview with this reporter that cultivating top-notch innovative talents in basic disciplines is a major strategic task for the construction of a strong country through education.

In China’s basic research and innovation system, high-level research universities have irreplaceable advantages. Representative Takamatsu introduced that first, high-level research universities have a long tradition of basic research and deep roots. The basic discipline layout of high-level research universities is relatively early and perfect, most universities have a good academic inheritance, the discipline system is relatively mature and complete, and it is the main source of national basic research talents and scientific and technological innovation talents. Second, high-level research universities have the natural advantages and resource conditions of interdisciplinary integration. High-level research universities are generally multidisciplinary and multi-department comprehensive universities, and the comprehensive advantages of multi-discipline have created natural favorable conditions for promoting the cross-integration of inter-professional and inter-disciplinary aspects, as well as science, education, industry and education.

Representative Takamatsu said that looking back at the history of science and technology in the world, it will also be found that high-level research universities have always been one of the cornerstones of a country’s scientific and technological innovation, “because universities export talents, ideas, and technologies, which can be summarized as exporting innovation.”

Deputy Gao Song said that China’s high-level research universities have a number of national major scientific and technological basic research support platforms and scientific researchers engaged in basic research, and have produced a series of important basic research results, and the role of the main force of basic research has been continuously strengthened. “The new era, new situation and new tasks indicate new challenges, and under the strategic requirements of the ‘two overall situations’, we should attach great importance to the role and function of high-level research universities as the main force in basic research, and give full play to their important leading role in basic research to a greater extent and in greater depth.”

Deputy Gao Song suggested that we should increase investment in the “basic scientific research business expenses of central universities” for high-level research universities, and improve the long-term and stable basic research investment mechanism. The source of funding for higher education institutions is mainly per student funding, while the regular source of funding for scientific research is only “basic scientific research business funds of central universities”, which accounts for a relatively low proportion of the entire school-running funds. With the continuous improvement of the basic research capacity of high-level research universities, the investment of this business fee has not met the needs of development. In terms of the existing “stock” funding support mechanism, we should make good use of the input channels of the “basic scientific research business expenses of central universities”, study the scientific standards for increasing investment as soon as possible, increase the scale and intensity of investment in this business fee, fully support high-level research universities to conduct independent topic selection research around the international scientific frontier and national strategic needs, and fully encourage original exploration from “0 to 1”, research on basic scientific problems in key technologies, “unpopular” basic directions, and international scientific and technological cooperation.

Deputy Takamatsu suggested the implementation of a “people-oriented” funding model and the establishment of a long-term support program for outstanding scientists and outstanding young talents in basic research. This is to make “incremental” articles on the normalization of long-term investment mechanism and establish a new policy channel for basic research in high-level research universities. “People-oriented” is the adjustment of investment goals, through the improvement of the assessment and evaluation mechanism, gradually change from “investment projects” to “investment talents”, support the continuous research of basic research talents, so that scientists can sit on the cold bench. In addition, for the “Strong Foundation Plan”, “Basic Discipline Top Student Training Program” and “101 Plan” and other basic discipline youth talent training programs, it is urgent to significantly increase the per student allocation, systematically optimize the training conditions for basic research talents, and consolidate and enhance the “basic plate” of basic research talents in China.

Deputy Takamatsu said that in the face of new tasks and new requirements, high-level research universities, as the main force, should take the initiative to take the initiative. “The main force advances into the main battlefield, deeply understands its own advantages and conditions, deeply understands the mission requirements under the new situation, confidently assumes the role of the main force, and writes extraordinary contributions to the history of scientific and technological civilization with actions and deeds.”
Related topic: 2023 Two Sessions Science and Education Perspective
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