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The Ministry of Science and Technology
People's Republic of China

N0.210 January 10,2000
  • National S&T Awarding Committee Founded
  • Winners of National Outstanding Young Scientists Funds
  • NNSF Projects Being Defined
  • High Quality Carbon Nanometer Materials
  • Synthetized in China
  • Foundation for Cooling Storage Ring
  • China's Animal Genetic Pharmaceutical Factory
  • 14-Year Efforts for New Cancer Medicine


     National S&T Awarding Committee Founded

    China National S&T Awarding Committee chaired by Madame Zhu Lilan, Chinese Minister of Science and Technology, was founded on December 7, 1999.

    It is reported that major duties of the Committee are: being responsible for macro management and guidance for national S&T awarding activities; recruiting selected experts and scholars to form national S&T awarding selection Panel; making decisions on candidates, awarding items and grades for national S&T awarding, and providing policy oriented comments and proposals on improving national S&T awarding activities; studying and finding the solutions to other major issues encountered in national S&T awarding activities.

    With selected representativeness and authoritativeness, the Committee is composed of 19 members, 11 of whom are academicians of Chinese Academy of Sciences and Chinese Academy of Engineering and others senior officials are from National Peoples Congress, National Political Consultative Conference, State Council and Headquarters of Peoples Liberation Army.

    The first plenary session of the Committee opened on December 8 ,1999, in Beijing. Madame Zhu Lilan said that the publication of Regulations on National S&T Awarding by the State Council hallmarked a new development stage of Chinas S&T awarding system. The newly created National Top S&T Award in particular symbolized a major step in the awarding system reform. She stressed that S&T awarding shall pay more attention to possible impacts produced by such awarding and render its due contributions to creating a fine policy environment for knowledge innovation, technical innovation and accelerating industrialization of S&T results.

    It is revealed that at the session candidates for National Natural Science Award, National Technology Invention Award and National S&T Progress Award will be reviewed and assessed.

    Winners of National Outstanding Young Scientists Funds

    Thanks to the careful and responsible assessment by Selection Committee of National Outstanding Young Scientists Funds, 133 young scholars were granted with the financial aid from 99 National Outstanding Young Scientists Funds and 51 overseas young scholars and 3 Hong Kong young scientists granted with tinancial aid from 99Overseas Young Scholar Cooperation Research Funds and Hong Kong Young Scholar Cooperation Research Funds respectively.

    It is briefed that in 1999 there were 521 young scholars from higher learning and research institutions who applied for the support from National Outstanding Young Scientists Funds and 201 overseas and Hong Kong young scholars for Overseas Young Scholar Cooperation Research Funds and Hong Kong Young Scholar Cooperation Research Funds. With the support of Ministry of Finance and governmental agencies concerned, 99National Outstanding Young Scientists Funds saw a large increase of its treasury by Rmb 110 million on the original base of Rmb 70 million, reaching Rmb 180 million in total. As a result, National Natural Science Foundation has made corresponding readjustment of tenure, strength and number of financing. The tenure of financing of 99 National Outstanding Young Scientists Funds is extended from its original three years to four, financing amount for general research items from Rmb 600,000 to Rmb 800,000 per person and financing for basic theoretical studies from Rmb 300,000 to Rmb 550,000 per person. The terms of financial support from Overseas Young Scholar Cooperation Research Funds and Hong Kong Young Scholar Cooperation Research Funds remain unchanged for three years with the amount of average awarding increased from Rmb 300,000 to Rmb 400,000 per person.

    NNSF Projects Being Defined

    The Committec of National Natural Science Foundation has reviewed and stamped its final approval of selected routine projects, priority projects and projects relating to high tech, new concept and new thinking. Routine projects approved to be financed reached 3496 in number with a total budget of Rmb 471.6333 million.

    Among the projects to be financed, 2716 are selected from open sources with a budget of Rmb 375.9493 million; 95 priority projects with a budget of Rmb 82.58 million; 141 relating to high tech, new concept and new thinking with Rmb 19.18 million and 6 from the priority list of high tech, new concept and new thinking with Rmb 4.4 million. In the meanwhile, NNSF approved the proposals for the establishment of 58 priority projects for 2000.

    It is reported that in the course of selection, every department has taken certain measures tailored to individual cases to improve selection quality. For example, attention was paid to protecting some innovation projects arousing different views and continuous support for cross-disciplinary projects where new concepts and new thinking are coming from. This year has witnessed the increasing budget for cross-disciplinary projects by NNSF to an amount of Rmb 10 million in total. Disciplines themselves have also allocated additional positions and special funds for the same efforts. These efforts have made the projects improved with quality and quantity. In addition, project assessment was made in association with the achievements of applicants.

    China’s Enthusiasm for Digital Earth

    Recent years have witnessed Chinas positive efforts in constructing the socalled digital earth to benefit sustainable development of its own and also the whole world.

    China has paid great attention to the development of geoscience and information technology. Recent years have witnessed great efforts made in the fields of information technology and its associated legislatures, construction of infrastructures for collecting, transmission and processing of space data and information, development of telecommunication network and Chinese made computer hardware and software.

    Thanks to more than a decade efforts, the construction of Chinas information highway has achieved remarkable progress. Four major computer networks in the country have become marvelous information transmission platforms. At the end of last June, the total length of optical fiber laid has reached 1 million km2, social PC possessions 12 million sets and Internet subscribers 4 million with the national public information network covering 239 cities in the country. Governmental agencies have made their visibility over the Internet with more and more on-line universities and libraries online. Strategy on national information development, strategic plan on digital product development and E-business framework are all in the process of preparation.

    China has accumulated abundant original digital data and corresponding information necessary for establishing digital earth including countless digitalized geographic charts, local charts and city maps with different scales. Up to date, basic topographic maps of the country scaled at 1:250,000 and 1:1,000,000 have been digitalized. The one scaled at 1: 50,000 will soon be digitalized as well.

    As shown by incomplete statistics, there are more than 200 large and medium sized geographic data bases established or to be established in the country. Among 62 priority projects listed in Chinas Agenda of 21st century, 42 are of the need to establish or apply geographic information systems.

    With the help of its 68 satellites, China has received abundant high resolution panoramic pictures from its satellite receiving stations. It has established many remote sensing satellite receiving stations being able to collect and process the satellite pictures and data. It has also established many meteorological satellite receiving stations collecting and processing the information from weather satellites.

    Chinas mainstream S&T plans have made practical foundation, scientific base and expertise available for developing Chinas digital earth. The construction of infrastructures such as information highway has created telecommunication support for developing digital earth. In this context, Xu Guanhua, Chinese Vice Minister of Science and Technology, pointed out that, China is in a full position to realize its leap development in the information process even under current insufficient industrialization. To China, it is not only necessary but also feasible to construct a digital earth.


    High Quality Carbon Nanometer
    Materials Synthetized in China

    Chinese scientists have recently synthetized high quality carbon nanometer materials, which made China leap into the world advanced rank in the development of new generation hydrogen storage materials. The said new materials are believed to be able to store and collect huge amount of hydrogen and thus become a promising material for fuel batteries for auto vehicles.

    A nanometer is equal to one billionth of one meter. Experiments based deductions made by scientists in US and other countries have predicted that a single walled carbon nanometer tube is able to store hydrogen at a capacity of 10% or above. However, the said predictions have so far not yet been re-confirmed by any other experiments. Recent years have witnessed fine results and breakthroughs achieved by a study group of Chinese Academy of Sciences headed by Cheng Huiming, 36-year-old researcher. Applied with new approaches different from others, they synthetized high quality carbon nanometer fibers and tubes in a fast and massive manner. The materials they produced are not only high in purity but also large in diameter, an indicator promising better hydrogen storage capacity. Cheng and others have also discovered that these black-cotton-like nanometer materials are of fine hydrogen storage capacity of over 4% (at least twice that of rare earth) under indoor temperature. According to experimental results, about two thirds of hydrogen can be released under normal indoor temperature and pressure from nanometer materials that can be repeatedly used.

    After the publication of the results, research institutions of US, Germany and Japan have invited Cheng to make presentations. An internationally authoritative journal believed that this is the most convincing result about nanometer so far achieved in the world.

    Foundation for Cooling Storage Ring

    On December 10, 1999, Lu Yongxiang, President, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Song Zhaosu, Govennor of Gansu Province and Madame Deng Nan, Vice Minister of Science and Technology shoveled the earth around the corner stone for HIRFL-CSR at the premise of Research Institute of Contemporary Physics, CAS. Being a major scientific project listed in Chinas national 9th Five-Year Plan, the said development is another new effort for China to occupy a place in the cutting edges of nuclear science in the world.

    HIRFL-CSR project is of a budget worth Rmb 300 million. To provide advanced experimental unit necessary for studies of heavy ion physics and associated applications, scientists of Research Institute of Contemporary Physics completed on December, 1988, the construction of HIRFL of international advanced level in the 1980s, which led to the honor of the first prize for National S&T Progress and the special prize of technological advances of CAS.

    When completed, HIRFL-CSR will be able to provide stable nuclear beams, radioactive nuclear beams, highly ionized heavy ion beams and polarized beams of high quality and strength with different specifications and wide energy scopes, which in turn will make more advanced experimental conditions available for high quality and accurate scientific experiments that will lead to new breakthroughs in the areas of basic studies of nuclear physics and atomic physics, exploration of new energy and cancer treatment by heavy ion beams. In the meanwhile, HIRFL-CSR project will promote associated developments such as those of electronic cooling, pile-up of heavy ion beams, super thin inner target, super vacuuming, synchronized ion beam source of stripped electron of high currents and strength, fast tracking control, fast changing magnetic field, beam diagnosis and so on.

    China’s Animal Genetic Pharmaceutical Factory

    The Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, which had caused a stir in the academic world for its panda fetus cloning, has recently obtained the reactor of genetically modified mammary gland with its associated cloning techniques. The said study will lead to the establishment of a socalled animal pharmaceutical in the near future so as to make these genetically modified medicines bring hope to many diseases which are regarded as fatal illness now..

    As briefed by Head of the Institute, the said plan will be phased out in two steps. In the first place, they will establish a reactor of mammary gland that produces genetic medicines through introducing protein genes used in human medicine into cows and making it expressed in the milk. Mammary gland cell is of the splitting nature that other body cells are not of, through which highly expressed genetically modified animal body cells could be easily obtained. This is the main reason for the choice of the mammary gland cell. The next step then is to clone the animal body cells acquired through above mentioned technique and eventually establish animal pharmaceutical factory.

    Thanks to the coordination and promotion of authorities concerned, Beijing Qianluyuan Co., a renowned business for high tech agricultural produce, has forged its strategic alliance with the Institute, promising to provide financial support to the latter so as to accelerate the establishment of Chinas first animal pharmaceutical factory.

    14-Year Efforts for New Cancer Medicine

    Prof. Liu Changnian, Chinese visiting scientist with Medical Center, University of Nebraska, has recently developed together with other scientists from US and Canada new drugs NC 381 and NC 384 for treating lung and colon cancers. Clinical testing on animals has shown positive results.

    The said new medicines were jointly developed by Prof. Liu Changnian, US based Medical College of Harvard University and a Canadian Pharmaceutical Co.. Prof. Liu revealed this result at World New Cancer Drug Research Conference closed on November 19, 1999.

    Prof. Liu briefed that being synthesized compound, the said two medicines were able to control the copying links of cancers RNA and check the formation of protein, exerting strong repressing effects on the reproduction of cancer cells. Being treated with the new drugs for 15 days, mice of immune deficiency injected with human lung and colon cancer cells have recorded repressing rates of 50% and 55% respectively.

    The advantage of the two new medicines is that they can be taken orally without apparent side effects. Animal testing also shows that when applying together with other chemical therapies, the new drugs may intensify its results without increasing toxic effects.

    Started to study in US in 1985, Liu Changnian got his Doctorate on cancer biology in 1990 and completed his post doctorate studies in 1992. Now he is the Dean of Tumor Therapy Division, Medical Center, University of Nebraska. He successfully turned out new medicines for treating pancreas cancer with its world attracting effects in April, 1999.

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