Hu sees major role for sciences

Updated: 2012-09-19 09:29

By Cheng Yingqi (China Daily)

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President Hu Jintao focused on sectors that will play a major role in science and technology during a keynote speech in Tianjin on Tuesday to the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World.

The academy, based in Italy, changed its name in 2004 from Third World Academy of Sciences. It is an umbrella organization for leaders in the science and technology field in developing countries.

Hu, in his address to the academy, highlighted the breakthrough potential for prime research fields, including biology, energy and space technology.

Hu pointed out that in 2006 China published a science and technology development plan plotting strategy up to 2020. This listed projects that will ensure China plays a leading role in the sector, Hu said.

China still faces challenges, Hu said, especially in sustainability and tackling income disparity and that is why the economic development pattern must change. The targeted technologies will help in this endeavor, he said.

Cooperation with other developing countries was extremely valued, Hu said, particularly in dealing with common problems such as the prevention of infectious diseases.

Heneri A.M. Dzinotyiweyi, Zimbabwe's science and technology development minister, was impressed with the important role science and technology can play in narrowing the income gap in developing countries.

"I tend to think that China is already a developed country. But we need to look at poverty income levels and the people struggling beneath them. Then we will recognize that development does not just mean high-rise buildings.

"This is also an important message for other developing countries," Dzinotyiweyi said.

After his speech, Hu presented awards to 19 scientists.

He also revealed that the government is planning to increase fellowships for students from developing countries, and will host more events for scientists. Beijing will also donate $1.5 million to the academy.

On Tuesday, Bai Chunli, president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, was elected president of the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World, the first Chinese scientist appointed to the post.

Bai will take over from Brazilian scientist Jacob Palis on Jan 1.

"Although Chinese scientists have been academy vice-presidents, this is the first time a Chinese scientist has been appointed president," said Tan Tieniu, deputy secretary-general of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

"This is not only an honor for Bai Chunli, but also an honor for the science community in China, and the country, because it reflects our increasing influence in global science and technology work," Tan said.

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