I. The Brilliant Course
The development of science and technology in Sichuan province in the past 60 years after the founding of the People’s Republic of China experienced five phases. Science and technology as the first productivity had tremendous effects in every phase.
The first phase was the foundation-laying period for science and technology. From the founding of the PRC to the end of the First Five-year Plan, Sichuan managed to establish technological systems in industries of communications, building materials, machine manufacture, metallurgy, precision instruments and aircraft manufacture and laid the foundation for scientific and technological development.
In the second phase, science and technology developed rapidly. During the “Third Front” Construction Period, a large number of scientific research institutions and defense-related technological agencies that were affiliated to the central government and ministries were relocated to Sichuan or established research operations in Sichuan. That resulted in huge advancement in the scientific research strengths and level in the province. Such major fields as agriculture, electronics, nuclear technology, machine manufacture, metallurgy, chemical industry and communications saw significant development.
In the third phase, science and technology was further reinvigorated. After the adoption of the reform and opening-up policy, Sichuan took the lead in launching reforms in the science and technology management system. Efforts were made to unfetter scientific research institutions from administrative control, give freedom to scientists and technologists with their research and to encourage market-based operation of technology-based enterprises. Thus scientists and technologists’ innovation and enterprising vigor was stimulated and they were playing a major role in economic development.
In the fourth phase, the strategy of “revitalizing Sichuan with science and education” was put into effect. Since the 1990s, Sichuan devoted great efforts to the strategies of “revitalizing Sichuan with science and education” and “revitalizing Sichuan with talents”, and set up a number of high-tech industrial parks (bases), agricultural technology parks, university technology parks and technological incubators represented by China (Mianyang) Technology Town, Chengdu Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone and Deyang Major Equipment Base. The economic development of Sichuan relied more on scientific and technological advance and improvement of laborers’ quality.
In the fifth phase, efforts were made to encourage technological innovation throughout the province. In recent years, Sichuan put into practice the idea of “technology represents the economy”, the work idea of “getting enterprises to play the key role in innovation, emphasizing industrial layout, and promoting technological innovation by way of specific projects and in an integrated manner”, as well as the principle that science and technology must serve the industries, promote people’s living standard and facilitate balanced urban and rural development. The province devoted great efforts to developing high-tech enterprises, establish industrialization bases for technological innovation and promote innovation-based development throughout the province. Science and technology was playing a more and more important supporting and leading role in economic and social development of the province.
II. Fruitful achievements
During the past 60 years, especially since the adoption of the reform and opening-up policy, there were profound changes in science and technology in Sichuan in respect of work ideas, basic conditions, systems and mechanisms, overall arrangements of scientific research and support for development. Sichuan scientists and technologists participated in the research on and made eye-catching achievements in relation to atomic bombs, hydrogen bombs and man-made satellites, manned space flights, nuclear fusion, HL-1, J-10, Rifapentine, hybrid rice, corn and oilseed rape as well as artificial multiplication of giant pandas.
First, the underpinning scale of science and technology grew larger. As of the end of 2008, there were more than 1.1 million professional technical staff in the whole province, the No.1 most in West China and the seventh most in the whole country, representing 6.1 times that of the early period of the PRC; various scientific research institutes numbered 1,517, 41 times that of the early period of the PRC, including China Academy of Engineering Physics, China Aerodynamics Research and Development Center, Sichuan Academy of Agricultural Science, Sichuan Traditional Chinese Medicine Institute, and these research institutes attached more emphasis on practical capabilities rather than the fulfillment of tasks; 72 higher learning institutions took part in scientific research, playing a key role in innovation; the whole society invested 36.79 billion yuan and local governments invested 2.58 billion yuan in science and technology, 15.3 times and 12.3 times respectively more than those of the early period of reform and opening-up; R&D accounted for 1.30% of the GDP.
Second, there were more results of scientific and technological innovation. Sichuan’s regional innovation ability rose from the medium level to the upper level in China, ranking the 10th in China and the first in West China in 2008. As of the end of 2008, the whole province accumulatively harvested 24,395 items of major scientific and technological results above province-level, among which 958 items were granted national awards in science and technology and 8,218 items were granted the Award of Sichuan Province for Scientific and Technological Progress; and 60.8 thousand pieces of products were patented. Such fields boasted considerable research strengths and comparative advantages as electronics and information, major equipment manufacture, aerospace and aviation, nuclear technology, new materials, breeding of animals and plants, biomedicine, ecological protection, geology and mining, high polymer chemistry and basic mathematics. And the province took part in all major special projects specified in the national medium-and-long-term planning in science and technology.
Third, the support of science and technology to development grew stronger. Science and technology contributed to 40% of the economy, and the high-tech industry has been changing from a pioneering industry to a dominant industry.
--There were 1,416 high-tech enterprises in the whole province. In 2008, the value added of the high-tech industry reached 83.58 billion yuan, an increase of 13.2 times compared with that of 1995, with growth rates of above 25% in recent years.
--These high-tech enterprises realized industrial value added of 55.63 billion yuan in the first half of 2009, up 19.8%, accounting for 9.2% of the province’s GDP and 19.4% of the total industrial value added of the province. The output value of new products represented 48.4% of the total industrial value added of industries above designated scale, and export delivery value accounted for 62.9% of the total in industries above designated scale. 9 strategic products and 80 key products realized industrial value added of 8.32 billion yuan, up 65.1%. Chengdu Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone had the No.4 comprehensive assessment in the whole country.
--Such high-tech products as major equipment for nuclear power, large power generation units for hydropower, wind power and heat power, vanadium and titanium products, polycrystalline silicon, super rice, live attenuated Japanese Encephalitis Vaccine, and DI’AO XINXUEKANG Capsules are expanding their market, seeking brand name reputation, enlarging production scale and gathering market recognition.
Fourth, science and technology was playing a more important role in promoting people’s living standard. Science and technology was making positive contributions to ensure people’s subsistence, promote health, safeguard public security and facilitate earthquake resistance and disaster reduction.
--In respect of agriculture: old generations were replaced by new ones every five year, and every generation replacement resulted in 10%-20% yield increase. The coverage of self-breeding agricultural crops reached above 90%. Science and technology contributed to more than 50% of agricultural development.
--In respect of public health: China’s first modernized technological and industrial base for traditional Chinese medicine was built. Research and treatment of such severe diseases as AIDS, viral hepatitis, and Kashin-Beck disease saw significant breakthroughs. Such landmark achievements as in biotherapy against tumors, biomedical materials and products, innovated traditional Chinese medicine were used widely to enhance people’s health. The average life span in the province rose to above 73 ages from 35 ages at the early period of the PRC.
--In respect of ecological and environment protection, there was remarkable outcome in the research on treatment of vulnerable ecology represented by the protection of Zoige Wetland and the core area of the Jiuzhaigou-Huanglong scenic spot. This proved to be crucial scientific back-up for ecological shelter development in the upper basin of the Yangtze River.
--In respect of improvement of people’s scientific and technological quality, more than 180 sites and centers for popularization of science were built, more than 4,000 community centers for popularization of science were set up and 16,000 venues in rural areas for popularization of science were established. There were also 12 national education bases for popularization of science and 53 provincial bases for popularization of science. 30 million people received education in respect of popularization of science every year.
--In respect of supporting post-quake reconstruction and improving people’s living standard, there were initial results in exemplification programs for scientific and technological advance in respect of post-quake construction of rural areas including Xinhuang Village of Pengzhou City, and in respect of the resettlement of herdsmen, and there were also initial results in the research and manufacture of new tents for the pasturing areas.
Fifth, breakthroughs in scientific and technological systems were intensified. Systems of scientific and technological R&D, investment, policies and services were established gradually, aggregation of elements for innovation towards enterprises quickened, and enterprises were playing a key role in technological innovations.
--There were 511 innovation-based enterprises in the whole province. In 2008, enterprises invested 19.69 billion yuan in innovation, and took in 86.7% of the total technological exchanges in the province.
--The province set up 59 Enterprise-University-Research-Institute alliances covering 6 high-tech fields, such as the alliance for technological innovation in IC design industry. The province also set up more than 300 national (or provincial) key laboratories, national (or provincial) engineering technical centers, industrialization bases and various professional service platforms, including laboratories in rail communications and biotherapy, engineering technical centers for information security and precision instruments as well as industrialization bases for new materials.
--Multiple financial back-up systems for science and technology in respect of investment, credit, guarantee, security and subsidy were gradually taking shape. The province took the lead in the country in operating two specialized banking branches for science and technology, and in the first half of 2009, loans for science and technology and venture investment of 8.8 billion yuan were advanced to enterprises. Besides, a subsidy fund for enterprising investment risks for technology-based start-up enterprises was set up, triggering investment of nearly 2.7 billion yuan.
--Efforts were made to combine industries for military use and for civilian use and incorporate civilian production into military industries. Key regional construction in military industrial science and technology in Mianyang and Guangyuan saw initial progress.
III. New starting point
Sichuan is a leading province in science and technology. Scientific and technological development began to soar. At the new starting-point, we must continue to practice the idea of “technology represents the economy” and define the priority task in the work related to science and technology as to sustain the steady and fast development of the economy. We will deepen “three campaigns” and make attempts about “four mechanisms”, promote industrial structural adjustment, balance urban and rural development and improve people’s life. We will also develop industrialization bases for technological innovations and encourage innovation-based development in the province.
1. We will deepen the campaign of promoting industrialization of high technologies.
Currently, traditional industries in Sichuan province are undergoing adjustment, high-tech industries are expanding and emerging industries are rising. Therefore, we will focus on three aspects to promote industrialization of high technologies and sustain the structural adjustment of industries.
First, we will promote the upgrading of traditional competitive industries, which are mainly the machine manufacture industry, hydropower and energy industry, petroleum and gas chemical industry, food and beverage industry, auto industry, iron and steel industry and textile industry. The central idea is to develop low-carbon economy. On this account, efforts will be made to reinforce traditional industries’ technological innovation abilities, work out, develop, promote and adopt a number of new techniques, new technologies and new equipment, push forward product upgrading and regeneration and enhance the economic effects and overall benefits of traditional industries to a significant degree.
Second, we will promote the growth of high-tech enterprises. In 6 competitive industries, namely electronics and information, advanced manufacture, bioengineering, aerospace and aviation, new materials and new energy sources, we will get enterprises to play their key role and governments to play the directing role, and with the combination of internal growth and external leading, quicken the industrialization of strategic products, key products, cultivated products and novel products, expand and strengthen high-tech enterprises on a development path with Western China characteristics.
Third, we will accelerate the growth of emerging industries. Given the current favorable opportunities for emerging industries and the comparative advantages of the province and in line with the technological maturity, industrialization degree and market evolution, we will focus our efforts on energy saving, environmental protection, intelligent manufacturing, healthcare, creative industries, network and nuclear technology. We will keep abreast of market demand to direct the development of industries, make prospective planning to promote the development of industries, rely on technological breakthroughs to sustain the development of industries and depend on policy support to push the development of industries. We will devote great efforts to implementing the Seedling Project for scientific and technological innovation and foster the emerging industries with upspringing technologies.
2. We will deepen the campaign of balancing urban and rural scientific and technological development.
Our strategic priorities will be to serve agriculture, rural areas and farmers and promote agricultural industrialization, industrialization in rural areas, urbanization of rural areas, improvement of farmers’ technical abilities and information-based production and living in rural areas. We will be confronted with six major tasks, namely to aggregate innovative elements, expand industries with local characteristics, make attempts with operation modes, develop industries other than agriculture and manufacture industry in rural areas, train farmers’ new abilities and improve living and residential environment. With a view to balancing urban and rural economic and social development in the province, we will launch 8 programs, namely starting enterprises by technical special personnel; promoting information-based production and living in rural areas; exemplifying models of industrial chains with technological innovation; exemplifying models of post-quake new countryside construction, agricultural technology parks; training of farmers’ “double skills”; popularization of Putonghua in Tibetan areas; and control and treatment of pollution in the conjunctions between urban and rural areas.
3. We will deepen the campaign of improving people’s life through science and technology.
We will reinforce research and development as well as exemplifying pilot programs in such key fields as population and health, ecological improvement, environmental treatment and public security so as to provide scientific and technological back-up for improving people’s life and serving the public. First, we will step up efforts in exemplifying programs of science and technology for the construction of standardized village and town clinics, devote more efforts to the popularization and exemplification of appropriate health-care technologies and products at grassroots level, intensify key-problem solving in terms of science and technology in the control and treatment of major contagious diseases, and carry out monitoring and research on major birth defects. Second, we will devote great efforts to key-problem solving and exemplification in terms of science and technology in comprehensive treatment for the improvement of urban and rural environment. We will step up ecological rehabilitation in quake-hit areas, and launch integrated exemplification of key technologies in respect of comprehensive treatment of domestic sewage and solid waste from concentrated residence of urban communities. Third, we will start pilot programs for local energy saving, emission reduction and sustainable development so as to provide scientific and technological back-up for regional balanced development.
The core issue in innovation-based development is the close integration of science and technology with the economy and the key path lies in systems and mechanisms. In order to establish science and technology management systems suitable to the development of industries so that science and technology gets involved into economic development and the economy relies on scientific and technological development, we will continue to make attempts with the following four systems and mechanisms.
First, we will make attempts with a technological innovation system where enterprises play the key role and make joint efforts with higher learning institutions and research institutes. We will implement technological innovation projects, and step up the development of innovation-based enterprises and the construction of Enterprise-University-Research-Institute alliances. We will optimize and specialize incubators for technology enterprises as well as university technology parks, and build professional technical service platforms.
Second, we will make attempts with an investment and financing system for high-tech enterprises’ development. We will continue to sponsor the matching meetings between high-tech enterprises and venture capitals. We will also reinforce measures in relation to introduction of venture investment, pilot programs of banking branches for science and technology, insurance and guarantee for technology enterprises, security transactions and government subsidies, which are summarized as multiple actions of “investment, credit, guarantee, security and subsidy”. We will extend financial channels for small and medium enterprises and promote the local transformation of high-tech outcomes.
Third, we will make attempts with a mechanism where industries for military use and for civilian use are combined and civilian production is incorporated into military industries. We will make use of advantages in science and technology resources in Sichuan that are under direct management of the central government as well as defense-related industrial strategic resources, develop and expand competitive industrial clusters in nuclear power, aerospace and aviation and defense-related electronics. We will reinforce technological cooperation between the army and localities and between academies and localities, initiate the formulation of the Ten-year Development Planning for China (Mianyang) Science and Technology Town, and accelerate the execution of military-for-civilian program in Guangyuan. We will also build the China (Mianyang) Central Platform for Military and Civilian Technological Exchanges.
Fourth, we will make attempts with a science and technology macro-management mechanism. We will keep on the reforms of the administration system for science and technology planning, strengthen macro administration, process administration, expenditure administration and supervision administration. We will also reinforce the integration of scientific and technological institutions, and integrate and optimize resource allocation for scientific and technological institutions with focus on competitive industries.
The past 60 years were magnificent years surging with vigorous development momentum. Looking back, we have made remarkable achievements; looking ahead, we are confronted with heavy tasks and a long journey. Sichuan province will stick to the Scientific Outlook on Development, devote our efforts on innovation-based development throughout the province, draw advanced productivity out of science and technology, and make new and greater contributions for quickened, scientific, sound and fast development of Sichuan province.