China pins hopes for growth on science and innovation

Government plans rise in research spending to 2.5 per cent of GDP, far above UK

August 9, 2016
Laser cutting metal
Source: iStock

China has launched a science and innovation plan that highlights just how heavily it is relying on research and development, both in and outside universities, for future economic growth.

The document, released by the State Council on 8 August, confirms plans to increase spending on R&D to 2.5 per cent of gross domestic product by 2020, up from 2.1 per cent in 2015.

By contrast, the UK spent just 1.7 per cent of GDP on R&D in 2014, which is lower than most other rich countries.

Germany spent 2.9 per cent in that same year, while the US managed 2.7 per cent in 2012, according to data from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

As the Chinese economy slows from the double-digit growth it often experienced in the past decade, more than half of growth is now driven by technological improvements, compared with just 21 per cent in 2010, according to the State Council plan.

The plan envisages that by 2020 this will have risen to 60 per cent, according to the Xinhua news agency, and the number of patent applications is expected to double between 2015 and 2020.

“Knowledge-intensive” services will also make up a fifth of the economy by 2020, up from less than 16 per cent last year, the plan states.

The plan calls for the country to create a “new generation of information technology” and “intelligent manufacturing and energy”.

It also says that China should “take the lead in organising international big science plans and programmes” and strive to lead the world “in more advanced basic fields and make breakthroughs in more strategic fields”.

Meanwhile, Beijing and Shanghai should build science and technological innovation centres with “international clout”, the plan says. It also calls for improved public scientific literacy as well as the “popularisation” of science.

david.matthews@tesglobal.com

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

Monster behind man at desk

Despite all that’s been done to improve doctoral study, horror stories keep coming. Here three students relate PhD nightmares while two academics advise on how to ensure a successful supervision

Female professor

New data show proportion of professors who are women has declined at some institutions

opinion illustration

Eliminating cheating services, even if it were possible, would do nothing to address students’ and universities’ lack of interest in learning, says Stuart Macdonald

John McEnroe arguing with umpire. Tennis

Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O’Gorman explain how to negotiate your annual performance and development review

Reflection of man in cracked mirror

To defend the values of reason from political attack we need to be more discriminating about the claims made in its name, says John Hendry