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《科学》杂志发表社论:中国的科学在进步

已有 2655 次阅读 2007-12-10 18:38 |个人分类:科研点滴启发



《科学》杂志发表社论:中国的科学在进步
科学时报 2007-12-10     作者:张忠霞
 
    新华社电 12月7日出版的最新一期美国《科学》杂志发表题为《中国的科学在进步》的社论。社论说,中国是世界上科学研发投入增长最快的国家之一。截至去年,中国在全球“国家研发资金”排名中已经升至第三位,仅次于美国和日本。

    社论的两位作者——美国科学促进会首席执行官、《科学》杂志执行社长艾伦·莱什纳和科促会负责国际事务的首席官员沃恩·图雷基安在文章中援引数据 说,过去5年,中国研发投入增长显著,年均增长率高达18%。相比之下,美国、日本和欧盟三者相加的研发年增长率仅为2.9%。这一数字表明,“中国政府 清醒地意识到,科学和技术是国家的未来”。

    社论说,毫无疑问,中国科研领域的快速发展吸引了全世界的广泛关注。虽然有人担心这可能伴随着环境保护、自然资源利用以及学术诚信等方面的问题,但从整体来看,中国在科研领域的快速进步无论对于中国还是世界都有益,国际科学界应大力支持中国的科研进步。

    社论还提到,除了在研发领域大力投资,中国长期以来还鼓励年轻的科研人员到海外学习、交流。“中国政府正努力吸引海外科研人员学成归国,为他们提供工作机会、一流的科研条件和设备。”社论说,中国意识到,“融入世界科学界,对于一个国家未来的发展非常关键”,因此中国在科研领域致力于与其他国家开展合作。

    社论最后说,无论对于中国还是世界其他国家,科学和技术都是创新、经济增长和提高人们生活质量的基础,科研投入对社会的每一个方面都有着至关重要的影响。
原文

Chinese Science on the Move

Alan I. Leshner1 and Vaughan Turekian2

Figure 1
Figure 2
One of the world's fastest-growing economies is also the world's fastest-growing supporter of scientific R&D. As of last year, China had moved to third place in the world in national R&D funding, closing fast on Japan, which was number two behind the United States. Not surprisingly, this rapid development has been garnering worldwide attention but also some concern. Although there are people who feel threatened by any competition, others are more reasonably worried that China's continuing rise may be at the expense of broader global societal issues, such as environmental protection, natural resource use, and research integrity. But overall, the rapid rise in Chinese science is good for China and the rest of the world, and the global scientific enterprise should do all it can to help.

As with all developing countries, recent progress in Chinese science has not always been smooth. Entire systems for local science and international cooperation had to be developed and are still evolving. But the rapid increase in R&D investment--with an annual growth rate of 18% over the past 5 years (the United States, Japan, and the European Union grew at a combined average rate of about 2.9%)--reflects a clear understanding by China's top political leadership that science and technology (S&T) are critical to their nation's future. This is not surprising because so many Chinese leaders are scientists and engineers by training. Educated as an engineer, Chinese leader Hu Jintao emphasizes the importance of investing in S&T in virtually every policy address. He included in his 2006 list of "do's and don'ts" for the Chinese populace: "Uphold science; don't be ignorant and unenlightened."

Figure 3
CREDIT: ADRIAN BRADSHAW/EPA/CORBIS
It's not just about increasing investment. China has long encouraged young researchers to go abroad for training, and many have stayed in their adopted countries. The Chinese government is now working hard to recruit the brightest and best-educated back to their homeland with job opportunities and state-of-the-art facilities and equipment. On a recent visit to Zhejiang University, we saw that laboratory equipment in virtually every discipline was equal in quality, if not yet in abundance, to that anywhere in the world.

China knows that integration into the world scientific community is key to its future success as a nation, and Chinese science leaders clearly welcome partnerships to ease this process. At the end of September, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the China Association for Science and Technology held a conference in Beijing on "Scientists' Social and Ethical Responsibilities" to explore how ethics standards and regulations could be aligned across countries and regions of the world. Minister of Science and Technology Wan Gang recently called on Chinese universities, government, and scientific journals to join an Advisory Committee on Research Integrity. These actions should inspire further initiatives that will ease formal collaborations between Chinese scientists and those in other countries.

This progress is good for China and for the rest of the world. S&T are embedded in every major societal problem, from the spread of infectious diseases, to environmental sustainability, to alleviating poverty. Many countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, members of the European Union, and some in Africa, already have scientific partnerships with China. These collaborations are likely to grow, because they are focused in disciplines that have potential influence not only in each partner's country but internationally, including nanotechnology, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical development.

As China and other rapidly developing countries increase investment in S&T, researchers from other countries should help smooth the emergence of local science communities and their integration into the global science enterprise by reaching out for partnerships and collaboration. S&T are the foundation for innovation, economic growth, and quality of life in all parts of the world. And although there will be pressure in some circles to focus inward, it would be "unenlightened" and, in fact, counterproductive to view integration across the global science community as anything but helpful to all.

10.1126/science.1153120


   


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