Sunday, July 27, 2008

China’s Innovation and Contribution on Science Continues to Grow

Recently, China’s economy continues to develop, there are many series of reports on the Internet are providing some perspective on China's place in the scientific community. The Chinese scientific community is moving lock step to keep up with the economic growth and establish itself as a source of innovation.

Science development is hardly a surprise. For the last 20 years, the level of spending on science in China has climbed up 20 percent per year, but most of this money is going toward secondary research on existing technologies rather than fundamental innovations. China is attempting to remedy with its most recent set of initiatives that contain a call for "indigenous innovation".

The number of science and engineering graduates in China has been climbing steadily because of the money spent on research initiatives. Recently, the number of scientific publications in China has been surpassing Japan in raw volume. However, China still has much homework to do in increasing the quality of the publications. The burgeoning fields of nanotechnology and materials science, both Chinese specialties, show scores closer to that of the world average.

In my humble opinion, China shows up to be following a path similar to that taken in the American scientific and industrialization booms of the early and mid-20th century. At one time, the U.S. economy was based on raw production capacity and heavy industries. As education increases and provides a more capable work force and industrialization provides jobs, it has drawn people out of poverty and into the middle class.

Providing a technology or service that others cannot is the route to the highest profits; rather than investing in the massive capital and work force required for heavy industry, one can simply design and innovate the industry and sell the innovation instead-this is the idea behind the so-called Information Economy. Perhaps, it still hard to imagine it, but at one point, every children in America wanted to be an engineer. Science spending was huge, the education level of the population increased dramatically and the space race was going at full speed. This is the reason that has given America the intellectuals that allowed it to move away from a goods-based economy to a service-based economy.

A quick glance at modern China reveals shades of mid-20th century America: a budding space program, the growth of the middle class, huge manufacturing and industrial capacity, and a young generation passionate about science and engineering. It is a natural result to see the fact that China has been shifting away from raw materials and manufactured goods. It is great excitement watching China’s innovation and contribution for the global science community.

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