The Department of Innovation and Development of the Ministry of Science and Technology convened a regional congress on STI in Guiyang, capital of Guizhou Province on April 25-26, 2016. Vice Minister Li Meng of MOST and Vice Governor He Li of Guizhou addressed the congress. Attendants included representatives from S&T departments of 37 provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps. The congress was part of efforts to deliver General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important proposals on science, technology and innovation (STI) and the arrangements of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, implement the innovation-driven development strategy, further the reform of the S&T management system and draw up working plans for 2016.
Li Meng noted that it is important to align all the ongoing and future efforts with the important remakes made by General Secretary Xi. Local departments must review their roles in the overall socio-economic development, focus on national strategies and central tasks of respective local governments before they identify strategic orientations. It is also important to have a sound understanding on the development, strategic directions, resources allocation and key issues in STI so as to realize better coordination and coherence in support of national and local STI strategies.
First, the key leadership role of STI should be consolidated. According to the central government’s strategic planning and the 13th Five-year Plan, S&T departments must comprehend how STI relate to all-round innovation; consolidate and maximize the major role of STI in enabling all-round innovation. That being said, it is necessary for local S&T departments to highlight STI in their drafting of working plans in the 13th Five Years; make location-specific arrangements in such a way that innovation takes the lead and generates momentum for development.
Second, regional innovation hubs should have a more prominent role. Efforts should be made to better leverage the role of regional innovation hubs, expedite the development of STI centers, establish innovative provinces and STI model cities. The aim is to build up strategic regional heights of innovation; develop sources and clusters for the growth of an innovative country. It is imperative to take full advantage of the consultation mechanism between ministries and provinces, align national strategies with local needs and enable STI to support transformative developments at the local level. Local governments should make further efforts to fulfill their priority tasks to grow key industries, support innovative enterprises, cities and platforms, create a favorable climate, and build up regional innovation systems with characteristic.
Third, efforts should be made to turn S&T achievements into productivity. Local S&T departments must act according to the Law on Promoting the Transformation of S&T Achievements and roll out relevant policies. They should encourage universities and research institutes to make more S&T accomplishments available to innovators and business start-ups. Best practices should be demonstrated on a pilot scale regionally. Local departments must roll out policies and measures to maximize the positive impacts of S&T achievements to the transition of regional industries.
Fourth, enterprises should play a leadership role in technological innovation. According to the 13th Five-year Plan, China is to launch a new round of national projects on technological innovation, and increase support to leading enterprises, industrial alliances and tech SMEs so as to strengthen the innovation capabilities of the business community. To that end, efforts should be made to encourage more research institutes to work with enterprises and introduce more human and innovation resources into enterprises; create a pro-innovation climate for businesses. Policies should be drafted to encourage enterprises, especially leading businesses, to invest more in fundamental, frontier and innovative research projects and improve original innovation.
Fifth, efforts should continue to be made on the strategic study of the overall STI landscape. Various approaches such as technology forecast, strategic research and statistics survey should be used to keep track of such indicators as the STI performance, efficiency of innovation, and R&D expenditure. The information could be used as a reference for policy-making. S&T departments at various levels must have a clear understanding of the basics, strengths and deficiencies of their local innovation systems to facilitate the STI decision-making of local governments. They must closely follow the STI developments both at home and abroad, in particular major efforts nationwide to continue the reform of S&T system and innovation-driven development, so as to see the bigger picture and do a better job locally.