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Scientific Research in IHLs

    Vigorous progress has been witnessed in scientific research and technology development in institutions of higher learning in China in the past decades. With the changes from conducting fundamental research to serving all areas of the economic society, all the people involved have made great efforts to serve the country's modernization drive. Their glorious achievements have contributed greatly to and exerted far-reaching impacts on invigorating the nation with science and education.


In l998, there are in tota1 238,000 R&D (basic research, applied research and experiment development) researchers in science, engineering, agriculture and medicine in institutions of higher learning “IHLs”, full-time equivalent l39,000 based on workload. All IHLs in the country has generated 8.2 billion RMB yuan for scientific research from all possible sources, which is 16.2% more than the previous year. Of the total, those allocated from government occupy 47.5% (those contracted from enterprises and raised by institutions themselves amount to 52.5). IHLs have turned into a new gesture to welcome the arrival of the 21st century and to produce new monumental work in the great undertakings of invigorating the nation with science and education.


Having undertaken a great number of research projects and made gratifying achievements, which have facilitated advancement of science and technology and upgrading of academic leve1.
In a very broad area, IHLs are involved in projects in basic research, hi-tech research and R&D activities that serve the country's major priority of economic development. IHLs have take 30% of research contracts of the National Climb Project, two-thirds of those funded by National Foundation of Natura1 Science, half in the five civil areas funded by hi-tech 863 Project, 14% of the fund of the national Breakthrough Project in Science and Technology, IHLs achieved substantial results while accomplishing these research works. According to statistics, in just over a decade from l988 to l999, more than 40, 000 volumes of monographs and 1.6 million academic research papers were published. By the year 1998,IHLs have won 289 National Awards of Natural Sciences, 935 National Awards for Scientific. Innovation, 1,899 National Awards for Advancement in Science and Technology. Based on statistics between 1988 and 1997, IHLs awards of the three above-mentioned competitions reached respective1y 50.4%, 32.5% and 23.2% of the total. And in l998, these percentages went up to 58.8%, 43.1% and 38.6%. Research activities have also promoted exchanges and co-operation with foreign countries. Statistically, in 1998 only, IHLs have sent abroad 7,447 man-time of their staff to pay visits or to undertake advanced studies, 21 , 655 man-time to participate in international academic conferences and have exchanged 19,664 academic papers. These have facilitated promotion of the influence of China's IHLs in international academic community, enhancement of academic status, activation of academic ideas, introduction of advanced technology and upgrading of academic levels.


All these achievements have remarkably promoted advancement of science and technology in the country, some of which are of pioneering level both domestically and internationally and possess scientific significance. For instance , the research finding in non-linear science by Professor Zhang Gongqing of Peking University was awarded the Third World Academy of Science Price for Mathematics in 1994. The Galaxy ¢ó parallel huge computer produced by National Defense University of Science and Technology, with calculation speed reaching 13 billion times per second, has brought to end the problems in computing in large-scale complex engineering and the difficulties in large-scale science computing. Professor Wang Zhenyi of Shanghai Second University of Medical Science with help of a group of young and mid-aged competent researchers achieved significant steps in mechanism of leucocythemia-treating.


The research group in Hunan University of Medical Science headed by Xia Jiahui has made great progress in cloning of human hereditary neurological high frequency deafness gene (GJB3), found for the first time the mutations in the human gene encoding gap junction protein B-3 associated with autosomal dominant hearing impairment. The related paper was published in the international authoritative magazine, Nature Genetics. This pathogene is the first that Chinese geneticists cloned on China's soil and its research paper published in the name of a Chinese laboratory. This research project has made earth-breaking progress in cloning of hereditary pathogene in China. In 1997, Professor Fan Shoushan of Tsinghua University put forward the concept of carbon nano-tube limiting reaction based on one dimension nano-crystal of GaN made by carbon nano-tube, which has established a new effective way for preparation of dimension nano-materials. Research paper of this project was published in Science and selected by the same magazine as one of the ten scientific breakthroughs in l997.


Having facilitated transfer of research results and promoted technology advancement in enterprises.
Since 1980s, IHLs begin to pay attention to R&D for the country's economic development, to strengthening transfer and application of research results, to facilitating quicker industrialization of research findings. Through co-operation with industries , IHLs started to participate in the technical development and advancement of the enterprises, which has therefore promoted greatly the pace of co-operation between IHLs and enterprises, contributed vigorously to the technical advancement of all trades and generated remarkable economic returns.


Taking the Eighth 5-year Plan as example, IHLs took up a considerable proportion of national projects for promotion and application of science and technology, 343 projects of the Torch Program, 24.2% the total or half the projects of the Co-operative Development Program between Industry, Learning and Research. All these research projects have gained remarkable economic and social returns. According to a sample survey of 51 projects for promoting research findings in the Eighth 5-year Plan, the newly-added production value amounted to 8. 88 billion RMB yuan, with a taxation of 1.31 billion and saving expenditure of 1. 64 billion. For examples, the technology of “Highly Efficient Filler” developed by Tianjin University has been introduced into over 1,000 big and medium-sized enterprises in the country, which has brought about economic returns of 500 million RMB yuan, Zhejiang University introduced automation technology into renovation of traditional industries, which has produced newly-added value of 200 million RMB yuan.


Groups of IHLs have played an important role in promoting regional economic development. IHLs and regional government join hands together, sign cooperative agreement on promoting transfer of research findings, personnel training, establishing funds for technical transfer, which has spurred on regional economic restructuring. Nowadays, the majority of IHLs, especially the national key universities, has established long-term co-operative relationship with some regions. For examples, since 1988, Zhejiang provincial government and the former State Education Commission have jointly organized IHLs to participate in the development of Hangzhou-Jiaxing-Huzhou-Shaoxing area, Over 150 universities joined this program. Only Hangjiahu Technical Development Company has supported more than 200 projects with over 200 millioll RMB yuan to help development of scientific and technological enterprises. The investment has gained newly-added value of over 6 billion, taxation of over 600 million and saving foreign exchange of over 100 million US dollars. Of all the enterprises funded by this company, six were in the list of the country's top 1,000 township enterprises; ten were awarded provincial hi-tech enterprises£» and newly-added value of 13 enterprises has surmounted 100 million individually.


Tsinghua University puts priority on strengthening cooperation with Beijing, Hebei, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Guangdong and Shandong provinces and municipality, which takes diversified forms, multi-levels and multi-channels. it has set up co-operative relationship with over 1, 000 big and medium-sized enterprises. At the same time , it has formed a Co-ordination Group with Beijing municipal government , with the purpose of actively contributing to the capital's economic development. In August 1998, Beijing municipal government and Tsinghua University jointly established Beijing-Tsinghua Institute of Industrial Development. Zhejiang University has resumed or developed stable co-operative relationship with more than 20 provinces and cities such as Tianjin, Hangzhou, Ningbo, and established over 30 research and production complexes.


Xi-an Jiaotong University undertakes national development projects jointly with industries, and has established co-operation with hundreds of enterprises. It and Rainbow Group join hands in the project of high clarity tricolor tube, which has already reached annual production capacity of 800, 000 tubes. This project will generate an annual production value of 1.4 billion RMB yuan after commercialization. According to statistics in Jiangsu and Liaoning provinces, 80-90% of large and medium-sized enterprises in these two provinces have developed certain co-operative relationship with IHLs, which indicates that IHLs have become technology backup to industry's development.


IHLs give full play of their advantages and wide distribution to actively involve in the development of the country's 53 hi-tech development regions, to establish university science parks. With help of favorable policies in the hi-tech regions, IHLs can cut short the process of technical transfer and industrialization of their research findings. In these hi-tech regions, by employing measures of personnel flow, technical transfer, joint venture, setting up hi-tech enterprise, IHLs provide major technology backup to industrial development. Some enterprises become backbone enterprises in the regions and major taxpayers. Some become star enterprises in hi-tech development. At the same time, by enjoying favorable policies on science parks, IHLs have set up over 20 university science parks on or close to campus. These parks serve as incubator of hi-tech products and enterprises, have played an important role in accelerating commercialization of research findings.


Popularizing science knowledge to promote sustainable development of agriculture
IHLs act effectively in invigorating agriculture through science and education. They have not only trained a great number of personnel of all levels for agricultural development, but also supplied many research findings in agriculture. Scientists go to rural areas and have made great efforts in promoting application of advanced practical technologies. For the purpose of providing greater support to agriculture and rural economy, many IHLs have for a number of years sent staff to work temporarily as deputy county governor responsible for science and technology or other relevant posts.


Remarkable results have been achieved by IHLs in support to agriculture. For example, the Comprehensive Plain Development Project of the Yellow, Huai and Hai rivers headed by China University of Agriculture was granted National Award for Advancement in Science and Technology and other awards. Based on the remarkable achievements in the Seventh 5-year Plan , this project has again made great progress in the Eighth 5-year Plan and produced significant economic returns. For more than a decade, Hebei University of Agriculture has provided sustained support to Taihangshan mountains area with scientific and technological knowledge, which is praised as "Taihangshan Model". Many universities of agriculture have made breakthroughs in research on breeding of crops. By end of Eighth 5-year Plan, the Gang-D hybrid rice bred by Sichuan University of Agriculture and granted with first ranking award of National Award for Scientific Innovation was spread to a cropland of over 9 million hectares with aggregate added production of 4.58 billion kilograms of rice and added social economic effectiveness of over 5 billion RMB yuan. IHLs have also done a lot in research and development of new agricultural chemicals, phosphorus synthetic fertilizer and feed. According to incomplete statistics, during the period froml985 to l995, IHLs have finished over 10,000 agricultural scientific breakthrough projects, among which research findings of some 3,000 projects were put into application to certain extents with economic returns of above 350 billion RMB yuan; sent out more than 500 staff members to work as deputy county governor; set up over 780 agricultural demonstration bases£» trained millions of backbone agricultural technicians. All these have greatly contributed to the advancement of agricultural technology.


Having strengthened industrialization and found a successful road of developing hi-tech industries
IHLs have made significant breakthroughs and progress in hi-tech research and their commercialization. For example, the electronic publishing technology of Peking University has not only achieved a number of advanced research findings, won a number of high-ranking awards, but also produced a series of high performance products which brought about remarkable economic returns. These products have exerted revolutionary influence over printing arid publishing, pioneered an epoch-making bright avenue that says goodbye to type and fire, pen and paper, Peking University has set an example of success for hi-tech research and for development of hi-tech enterprises in the country. In 1998,the sales of Founder Group have reached 7. 45 billion RMB yuan with paid tax of over 330 million. It has become one of the large-scale industry groups in the country, embarked on the favorable development of industrialization and internationalization, which received high praises from national leaders. Another example is the CIMS experiment project of 863 Hi-tech Program undertaken by Tsinghua University together with other institutions. It has received the Leading University Award in CIMS application and development by the American Association of Manufacturing Engineers, an international academic authority, and has been put into application in over 20 enterprises in the country, and produced obvious effectiveness. The piloting CIMS project developed by Southeast University in co-operation with Beijing First Machine Tool Factory also received the Leading Enterprise Award by the American Association of Manufacturing Engineers. These CIMS research achievements by IHLs have laid down a foundation for transformation of manufacturing industry in the country. Their further development and application can help China's manufacturing industry to compete in the international market.


The University Coordinating Network of Science and Technology initiated and established by Tsinghua and other six universities makes full use of multi-media to present research findings comprehensively. It helps enterprises know and understand IHLs, research in a simple and efficient way. Almost 30 universities have joined in this network up to now. IHLs' hi-tech enterprises enjoy high speed of development, and have formed a force not to be ignored in the country's hi-tech industry. In l998, there are 2,355 hi-tech university enterprises in the whole country, achieving operational income of 21.826 billion yuan, gross profit of 1,824 billion and net profit of 1.584 billion. Eye-catching enterprises include Founder Group of Peking University, Tongtang and Ziguang of Tsinghua University, Fuhua of Fudan University, Arpai of Southeast University, Kaiyuan of Xi-an Jiaotong University, Angli of Shanghai Jiaotong University and Jiangzhong Pharmaceutical. Some have become model for development of hi-tech enterprises. Those IHLs' companies on the stock exchange present promising prospects. Founder Group of Peking University was listed one o the six pilot enterprises of technology innovation in the country.


With development for over a decade, IHLs' hi-tech enterprises have taken initial shape. Their sales and profits have doubled consecutively for years. In 1998, operating volume of l2 IHLs' hi-tech enterprises reached over l00 million, generating foreign exchange income of 23.66 million US dollars. It has been proved that hi-tech enterprises set up by IHLs play an important role in the country's efforts on development of hi-tech industry


Having enhanced training capacity of high-level personnel and promoted development of higher education
With support from the government and other relevant institutions, through scientific research, teaching and research bases in IHLs have developed into remarkable size and better equipment level. There are in total over 200 national, provincial and ministerial key laboratories with emphasis on basic research, over 1,000 institutes and research centers focusing on applied research and technological development. All these setups serve as national or regional, professional backbone research and development bases, and important bases for personnel training, especially postgraduates education as well.


Since China established the degree system in 1981, postgraduate programs have developed into the present enrolment of l85, 000 in total, which to a great extent depends on the enlargement of research activities. With experiences in both teaching programs and research projects, a number of outstanding young scientists grow up vigorously, among whom some excellent young subject leaders are emerging successively. This is another gratifying achievement that IHLs' research activities have made in recent years and in which lie the prospects of the development of higher education.


IHLs, research has contributed to betterment of physical conditions for schooling, enhancement of construction of subject bases, make-up of some shortage in finance, improvement of teachers' professional level and teaching quality, updating of teaching contents, pedagogical approaches and methods, strengthening of practice component in the learning process. Especially it has built up training capacity and improved quality of postgraduate programs, which is regarded as a requisite approach for fostering innovative personnel. The success examples of Founder Group of Peking University, CIMS in Tsinghua University and Southeast University, revitalization of oil fields by China Petroleum University, are all achievements made with joint efforts of multi-subjects and multi-technologies. At present, the inter-infiltration among basic subjects such as mathematics, physics , chemistry, astronomy, geo-science and biology , the inter-combination of basic sciences with engineering, agriculture and medicine , and the interaction between natural sciences and humanities and social sciences , have all showed great vitality progressively. New research directions are emerging consistently, new theoretical systems created, new technologies and skills bred, and even new subject areas formed.

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