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

N0.302 July 30,2002

* 12 Major R&D Projects Kicked Off

* Promoting Campus Technology Transfer

* Zhangjiang Overseas S&T Park Opened

* New Prinitive Bird Fossil Discovered

* “Flying Dinosaur” Discovered

* Purifier Killing Aquatic Living Bacteria

* Thorough Waste Tire Disposal


12 Major R&D Projects Kicked Off

On July 30, 2002, the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) announced that it has mobilized and pooled up R&D resources from different channels and sectors to work on 12 major R&D projects. Its spokesman expressed that the efforts would make China expect major breakthroughs and associated industrialization in a number of S&T key fields.

Last year MOST screened out 12 major R&D projects related to super large-scale IC and software, electric automobile, innovative medicines and modernization of Chinese traditional medicine, development of dairy industry, water efficiency agriculture and other areas for the implementation during the 10th Five-Year Plan period. Among the twelve selected, there are the ones such as super large-scale IC and software that appeared in the nation's construction and development and of strategic importance calling for national support and promotion, and some others like deep processing of major agricultural produce and food security related to people's food and health. MOST expects these projects to address key technical problems restricting China's sustainable economic and social development, promote the restructuring of agricultural sector, increase farmers' income and improve people's health and security. Some other projects such as information security and e-administration and innovative medicines and modernization of Chinese traditional medicine are aiming at promoting the establishment of S&T innovation platform and enhancing the nation's competitiveness. These projects will create supporting platforms for China's newly emerged industries and advantageous sectors, making China's information infrastructure construction and the development of medicinal industry on a unified, standardized and regulated basis in line with international norms, promoting fast industrialization of innovative research findings and results and upgrading China's overall innovation level and comprehensive strength.

It is reported that the said 12 major R&D projects will be contracted to 19 institutions in 22 provinces and cities for implementation. These projects are planned to enjoy an investment of nearly RMB 20 billion in total during the 10th Five-Year Plan period, of which about RMB 6 billion will be allocated by the state treasury with the rest from related governmental agencies, localities and enterprises.

Promoting Campus Technology Transfer

China will encourage the establishment of campus technology transfer business and promote the diffusion and application of campus born technologies through strengthening patent applications and in different forms such as patent licensing, technology transfer and investment with technology as capital.

To make universities play its due roles in improving China's R&D innovation capacity, China will relentlessly promote campus technology transfer and associated industrial process. The government will allow universities on the basis of relevant policies to independently work out their own rules to encourage technical inventions and technology transfer and mobilize the initiatives of both faculties and students in innovation activities. Under the precondition of properly addressing the issues such as intellectual properties and distribution of equity holdings as well as the relationship between part-time jobs and routine teaching activities, China encourages and supports university faculties to make pioneering innovations their part-time jobs.

Campus R&D infrastructures such as high tech parks, technology innovation incubator service network will under the strong support of the government strive to raise their service quality for innovation and pioneering efforts, promote the marriage between social capital and campus scientific knowledge and create fine environment and platform for collaborative development.

In the meantime, China will abolish the old approach that the enterprise may use a university's name as its business title. The government will further regulate the management system of campus run business, clarify the ownership by listing university run business as state-own assets, and establish sound mechanism for investment withdrawal from university run business. In the future, university run businesses will focus on campus scientific findings and results spin-off as well as R&D enterprise incubation.

It is reported that under the similar conditions, the government will give priority support to the national R&D projects jointly sponsored by enterprises, research institutions and universities. For the national R&D projects undertaken by universities with the enterprise' participation or investment, the participating enterprise will be allowed to have the priority right to transfer or use the derived results. The Chinese government encourages universities in collaboration with enterprises both at home and abroad to establish joint labs, research and development centers, promoting the collaboration between universities and enterprises in technical innovations and personnel training and strengthening the capacity building of campus technical innovation.

Zhangjiang Overseas S&T Park Opened

Zhangjiang Overseas S&T Park made its inauguration recently. Being a park within Shanghai Zhangjiang High Tech Park, Zhangjiang Overseas Park will be placed under the full management of returned overseas Chinese graduates themselves. Functioned for both investment and incubation, the Park will create new management mode to attract more intelligent brains and capital.

Managed by the New Era Innovation Investment Management (Shanghai) Ltd., Zhangjiang Overseas Park was jointly founded by Prof. Ma Qiyuan, Chairman of the US-China S&T Innovation Promotion Society and other professionals who used to work in the fields of R&D, industries, banking, management and law in the US. New Era inked an agreement at the end of last year with Pudong New Area Government and Zhangjiang High Tech Park on the entrusted management of governmental innovation investment fund of nearly RMB 100 million and incubators, and attracting overseas pioneering talents and incubating high tech enterprises with proprietary rights and core competitiveness.

Compared with other S&T parks dedicated for overseas Chinese graduates, Zhangjiang Overseas is of three special merits: integration of both venture capital and enterprise incubation, which changes the status of currently available domestic incubators that are not in a position to be involved in enterprise management and incubation as the result of venture capital shortage; integration of governmental seed funds and overseas venture capital, which finds effective solutions to connecting R&D project companies with investment firms; the entrusted management of governmental funds and the park by the management team composed of returned overseas graduates themselves, which is pragmatic for placing incubators in line with international norms, realizing professional, internationalized and regulated management.

Zhangjiang Overseas Park will use internationally prevailing standards on high tech enterprise incubation to manage innovation investment fund and incubators and provide growing high tech companies with a series of services in investment, banking, management, law and intellectual properties.


New Primitive Bird Fossil Discovered

Chinese scientists of the Institute of Paleovertebrate and Paleoanthropology announced in their paper published by UK based Nature on July 25, 2002 that they have discovered a new primitive bird fossil in Chaoyang, Liaoning Province. Naming it as Primitive Rehe Bird, scientists believed that it is the earliest bird species so far discovered in China.

One of the unique features possessed by the Rehe bird is its very thin but extremely long tail composed of 20 and odd tail bones, which is very similar to fleeing dinosaurs. In addition, the second claw of the Rehe bird looks extremely well developed which is not a typical feature of other birds though quite similar to that of small animal feet dinosaurs. The discovery of the Rehe bird provides for the first time from the angle of bird fossils a new piece of evidence for the scenario that birds originate from dinosaurs. Another important aspect of the discovery indicates that the bird lived on eating seeds as it kept quite some plant seeds fossils in its body. The Rehe bird fossil is the first one among several hundred other bird fossils that has kept the direct evidence related to eating habits. It is very interesting to note that the Rehe bird's upper and lower jaws are very strong and well developed though its teeth have become quite weakened.

Scientists said it could be the result of its adaptation to eating seeds. Another interesting phenomenon is that the Rehe bird has kept plant seeds relatively intact with fresh skins on them. That means the bird has to have a quite well developed stomach responsible for storing and digesting. Scientists are now working on identifications of these plant seeds.

It is briefed that the primitive nature of the Rehe Bird is only next to the Grandfather Bird discovered in Germany, which is believed the most primitive and ancient bird in the world. Compared with the renowned Confucian Bird, the Rehe Bird is apparently of more primitive touch, representing a distant ancestor bird's earlier evolution.

Flying Dinosaur” Discovered

On July 22, 2002, the Geology Institute under the Chinese Academy of Geology announced that a bird fossil unearthed in Spring 2002 in the western section of Liaoning Province is a dinosaur virtually able to fly. The discovery reconfirmed the scenario that birds are evolved from small carnivore dinosaurs.

In the 1990s, Chinese scientists discovered the first dinosaur with long feathers at Sihetun, Beipiao, west Liaoning, China, and named it Chinese Bird Dinosaur. This discovery injected new blood into the scenario on the origin of animal feet dinosaur. In 1997, Ji Qiang, a research fellow of the Institute discovered the second long feather dinosaur (Primitive Grandfather Bird) in west Liaoning, whose tail feathers are in complete agreement with the concept of modern bird feathers. In 1998, Ji Qiang and others discovered the third long feather dinosaur (Tail Feather Bird) whose tail feather and “flying feather” once again in line with the concept of modern bird feathers.  UK based Nature and USA based National Geography made these findings their cover page stories.

In 1999 at an international workshop on birds origin held at Yale University, the majority of 500 and odd participants accepted the concept that birds are originated from small carnivore dinosaurs and they expressed that the discovery of rare fossils of Chinese bird dinosaurs constituted one of the most important scientific discoveries made at the end of 20th century and the most important event in life evolution studies since Darwin's evolution theory.

Genetic Treatment of Cerebral Ischemia

It is reported that Tongji Hospital has recently successfully broken up mice's blood clod with genetically modified viruses aboard on blood vessel internal growth factor, and achieved a landmark breakthrough in China's genetic treatment of ischemia.

Scientists have found that when cerebral embolism occurs, the alertness of brain's natural blockade system becomes less sensitive while modified viruses may successfully break up such blockage. Based on this finding, scientists let modified viruses be delivered by the growth factor that is able to improve blood circulation, repair damaged brain cells and narrow down disease focus to attack the embolism. Experiments have shown that the growth factors may rapidly improve blood circulation, repair damaged brain cells and break up clod. So far the animal experimental phase has shown 100 percent success for the approach. It is believed that if the further clinic experiments prove successful in the following three years, each year millions of ischemia patients' lives can be saved.

Purifier Killing Aquatic Living Bacteria

Xu Rong, a Chinese scholar returned from the U.S. has recently screened out a special bacteria able to get rid of amino nitrogen in water. The process may produce living bacteria as many as 1 billion per gram. Mr. Xu designed and constructed an industrial production line with the technology and put it into mass production.  After dropping two or three thumb-size tablets into a fishing pond of a thousand square meters, the pond water may become crystal clear in 10 to 20 hours with many other bacteria such as mycosis, amoeba, oocyst,, spores, fungus and viruses removed. The water purifier has proven a desirable wastes removers for fishing pond.

Under the same technical line, Mr. Xu developed other bacteria able to treat sightseeing water body, industrial waste water, daily sewage water and mixed waste water and completed pollution treatment experiments and associated industrialized production. Mr. Xu and his colleagues have established a small comprehensive waste water treatment facility with simple structures and low cost.  From there people see crystal clear water come out of the treating facilities with the water quality reaching class I national standard.  To further prove the wonder, they have made similar successful experiments in Guangzhou Zoo and Beijing Coking Plant. It is briefed that the bacteria produce very limited wastes as they eat wastes in the water or simply react with wastes to become gas into the air.

Thorough Waste Tire Disposal

Recently Dalian Sanhuan Environment Friendly Equipment Co. Ltd. has developed the facilities able to turn waste meridian tires into powder, who eventually found the solution to the last puzzle in powdering waste steel wire meridian tires. Designed with four rounds of steel wire and fiber removing actions, the facilities are able to thoroughly remove all the steel wires and fibers in waste tires. Compared with its foreign-made counterparts, the production line equipped with the said facilities has numerous merits such as higher output, a longer life-span and both lower noise and costs. The noises uttered out together by 5 mainframe units and the supporting machine over the production line are less than 80 db (85 db is the level required by the national environmental protection standards) while its price only count for one fifth or one fourth of its foreign counter-products.

It is reported that it takes 25 minutes to turn a waste tire into powder. As a result, it only need three people to operate a waste tire powdering line of an annual capacity for 6,000 tons.


Digital Yellow River

On July 24, 2002, the ten mathematical models working on mud and sand washover in the lower reach of Yellow River and Xiaolangdi Reservoir Area kicked off their calculation experiments.

Jointly developed by the Academy of Yellow River Hydrology and other institutions, the so-called mathematical model experiment is a process analyzing and verifying the course of “digital Yellow River” with computer based data and information on prototype Yellow River. The following phase is to sort out the optimized model among those under experiments before running the experiment again in the lab based Yellow River model. The last experiment will be run on the actual “prototype Yellow River”. The three yellow rivers under testing will be interactive with one another on their water and sand movements on a supplementary basis.

It is reported that the mathematical model experiment constitutes a key link in the so-called digital Yellow River project. which is a digital visual platform built with modern information technology, or the Yellow River in computer. Digital Yellow River is made up of numerous processes such as data collection, transmission, storage and processing, mathematical modelling and decision-making. It is able to provide support for decision-making process under visual condition, which enhances the scientific and predictable nature of it. The applications of digital Yellow River will help different Yellow River control and management plans hit the targets of technology advancement, economic rationality, security and efficiency over the physical Yellow River, while realizing a fundamental change in the traditional concepts and approaches to controlling the Yellow River, which have lasted for several thousand years in China.

       Comments or inquiries on editorial matters or Newsletter content should be directed to:Mr. Cheng Jiayi, Department of International Cooperation, MOST 15B, Fuxing Road Beijing 100862, PR China  Tel: (8610)68512650 Fax: (8610) 68512594