The Chinese Academy of Sciences, the country's top scientific body, is to tweak its research strategy to focus more directly on economic development under its next Five Year Plan (1996-2000).
The academy has listed 14 key research areas that relate closely to industrial technology and which are considered essential to economic and social development.
Some of the main research areas include: industrial and manufacturing automation, computer and information technology, clean coal and new materials, electric automobile technology, space and remote sensing technology and optic electronics.
CAS deputy president Lu Yongxiang has emphasised the academy's role in helping to speed up the technological upgrading of large- and medium-sized state-owned enterprises, and its responsibility to contribute more to raising the country's annual grain output to its 500 million ton target by the year 2000.
But at the same time he pledged that the academy has not forgotten its commitment to essential basic research, and 100 such projects are planned.
The selection of research projects has and should continue to be based on China's national strengths, according to the academy's president, Zhou Guangzhao. He said that important areas of world competition actually corresponded to potential national strengths in science, technology and education.
Chinese scientists are being encouraged to alter their style of thinking away from the "iron rice bowl" mentality to match competitive market conditions.