Sci-tech Advances
China's sci-tech research achievements 'overwhelming'
2017-10-20    

The achievements of China's science and technology research have been "absolutely magnificent" in the past five years, said the president of the Australian Academy of Science (AAS).

"It's overwhelming to those of us who observe it from outside," Andrew Holmes told Xinhua in an interview here on Thursday.

"I believe the Chinese expenditure on research and development is the second highest in value terms now in the world. That investment is being delivered in the result we see," said Holmes.

From his work as an associate editor of a chemistry journal, Holmes says he sees an increase in the number of authors from China.

"Many of us are looking towards our Chinese colleagues for the next big breakthrough, and we're hoping to be part of the collaboration because of that," he said.

Holmes said he and his Australian colleagues are aware that apart from taking the lead in producing an anti-malaria drug, which was awarded the Nobel prize, China is also strong in areas such as advanced materials and synthetic biology, among others.

"These are just some recent examples," he said.

Holmes said 10 years ago, there was little research coming from China, with most Chinese scientists having carried out their work outside the country. But in recent years, many Chinese researchers have chosen to go back home.

"These are very experienced people from the previous appointments outside China, taking back their great strength," he said.

"So we've seen independence and creativity coming from works originating from those groups," said Holmes, adding that new hands being trained are equally promising.

In 10 to 15 years, the areas in scientific research where China lags behind other countries will become fewer and fewer, he said.

"It won't be long before we see a very strong domination," said Holmes.

There are areas Chinese researchers identify themselves as at the developmental and not the lead stage, "but if we look at the histories of other nations, which invested in science like China is investing, one can predict that in the long term, we will see Nobel prizes being awarded to Chinese scientists for work done in China," he said.

Delivering a report to the opening of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on Wednesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, called on all countries to work together for a clean and beautiful world and tackle climate change through cooperation.

Holmes said it's a good thing that China and Australia are in full agreement that "we have a challenge as citizens of the world to reduce man-made carbon dioxide emissions and to mitigate the consequence of climate change."

"Anything we can do as citizens of the world to improve the chances of our natural beauty and resources being maintained, not being eliminated, through our man-made behavior is very important," Holmes said. "I think we are united in those goals."

(From Xinhua, October 20, 2017)