China designs incentives for scientists to translate research into products

Updated: 2016-02-18 04:24


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BEIJING -- China has created policies to encourage the country's scientists to translate their research into commercial products.

The policies were laid out at the regular State Council executive meeting on Wednesday, which was presided over by Premier Li Keqiang.

Attendees agreed that converting scientific achievements to products more quickly is vital to the country's economic restructuring, and supply-side structural reform in particular.

According to the policies approved at the meeting, state-sponsored research institutions and universities will generally have autonomy in transferring their scientific outcomes to enterprises or social organizations, without having to file applications.

All revenues generated from the work may be reserved by the research institutions or universities, which shall be used mainly for rewarding scientists, advancing research and industrial applications.

Reward money should constitute no less than 50 percent of the net income earned from transferring scientific outcomes to enterprises or other social organizations, as well as stock shares gained. Major contributing researchers should take no less than 50 percent of the total rewards.

The new policies also allow scientists and researchers to take part-time jobs in enterprises to convert their discoveries into products, and they may temporarily leave their posts to start their own businesses.

Performance in translating scientific outcomes to products will be considered in the overall evaluation of research and higher learning institutions, according to the policies.

Wang Bin, deputy head of the China Association for promotion of Private Sci-Tech Enterprises, said the policies are groundbreaking for granting autonomy to universities and research institutions in transferring their work and sparing them from approval procedures.

Wang said the policies allowing scientists to start their own businesses while maintaining their posts are reassuring.

A lot of researchers aspire to set up their own businesses but are reluctant to leave their jobs for fear of potential risks as they are not familiar with the market, Wang said.

"The new policies will encourage more to venture into the business," Wang said.

Wang Chengshe, professor with the Northwest A & F (Agriculture and Forestry) University, said the rewards spelled out in the policies will be great incentives for scientists to convert their discoveries to products.

"I would like to give a thumbs up to the policies," said Shen Bilong, a doctorate student with the Institute of High Performance Computing, Computer Science and Technology Department of Tsinghua University.

Shen said the policies promise tangible benefits to scientists and rid them of worries over the risks of start-ups.