Academy changes system for grants

Updated: 2015-05-26 07:27

By Cheng Yingqi(China Daily)

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The Chinese Academy of Sciences has redesigned its financial incentive programs to help attract the talent it needs to innovate and compete globally in the fields of world science and technology.

The academy on Monday announced that the adjusted talent program would allow for grants totaling 8 million yuan ($1.29 million) to attract top talent from around the world.

Zhan Wenlong, vice-president of the academy, said that the ultimate goal of the talent programs is to respond to China's strategic needs as well as the national economy.

In 2013, during a visit to the academy, President Xi Jinping outlined the new focus. In February, the academy published new policies that pinpointed its development direction and goals.

Zhan said, "Our goal is to use the new talent programs to accomplish our mission to keep up with China's development strategy in the new era."

In the past, the talent programs focused more on introducing overseas talent to China, said Bai Chunli, president of the academy. "But in the new project, we have redesigned the grants with the goals of making full use of existing personnel, introducing only imperative talent, stabilizing the essential talent and creating more opportunities for young local talent."

One example that reflects the redesigned focus is the Hundred Talents Program, which was created in 1994. Previously, the program granted up to 2 million yuan to talented individuals who had earned doctorates and had at least four years of work experience at a world-renowned foreign research institute.

In the adjusted program, individuals were grouped into three categories - academic leaders, technical personnel and young talent.

Academy changes system for grants

"Some talent is needed urgently, but have been overlooked for a long time in our talent programs. For example, the technical personnel - the people who prepare specimens or maintain the devices at laboratories - can solve many crucial problems that scientists cannot solve," Bai said.

"In a foreign laboratory, good technical personnel make more money than the scientists. But in domestic laboratories, we have been ignoring the importance of these people," he said.

Technical personnel will be granted 1.6 million to 2.6 million yuan once they enter the new Hundred Talents Program.

The new talent program also highlights the importance of cultivating young talent, said Wang En'ge, another vice-president of academy.

He said: "For example, before the adjustment, the Youth Innovation Promotion Association provided 100,000 yuan per year for four consecutive years to young researchers. Now we have adjusted the terms to enable us to select some excellent individuals in the four years and grant 1.5 million in additional funding."

(China Daily 05/26/2015 page5)