Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the China Association for Science and Technology (CAST) has been actively performing its role as a bridge and bond for the Party and the government to engage with science and technology workers. Committed to building an open organization as a hub and platform, CAST has rallied the science and technology workers closely around the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, building confidence in innovation, striving to be a leader in innovation, and contributing to the ambitious goal of building a world powerhouse in science and technology.
Ten years on, there is an ever-growing recognition of the spirit of scientists. General Secretary Xi Jinping stresses the need to vigorously promote the spirit of scientists and cultivate a rigorous academic style. Together with the Department of Organization of the CPC Central Committee and ten other ministries and agencies, CAST has launched a project on the collection of historical data of scientists’ academic life, which has resulted in the collection of data on 622 modern and contemporary scientists and scientist groups, the archiving of 141,301 letters, manuscripts and other physical data, 338,963 digital materials, 468,985 minutes of video recording, and 556,063 minutes of audio recording, as well as the publication of 146 biographies. It is the largest, most comprehensive and wide-ranging project of its kind. Thanks to the attention of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, the National Museum for Modern Chinese Scientists will open soon. It will be the first museum in the world focusing on scientists and will surely become a cultural bond and source of inspiration for science and technology workers in China. CAST joined the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Science and Technology and five other ministries and agencies in the certification of 140 education bases on the spirit of scientists. Under a project to advocate the spirit of scientists, initiated by CAST together with the Ministry of Education and the Central Committee of the Communist Youth League, the students of 17 universities produced 18 stage plays on the theme of scientists, and gave more than 400 performances, attracting tens of millions of views online. To promote a rigorous academic style, we have created two IPs, “Scholarly Studio” and “Community for Rigorous Academic Style”, and compiled more than 5,000 works on the cultivation of academic style, reaching out to nearly 400 million viewers on Weibo, Bilibili and Douyin. Meanwhile, we have made vigorous efforts to promote the spirit of scientists and volunteerism, with 56,000 registered volunteer S&T service organizations, and 2.45 million registered S&T volunteers, honoring the commitment of harnessing science and technology for the people.
Ten years on, notable progress has been made in the development of first-class societies with Chinese characteristics. With a clear focus on priority tasks and the pursuit of reform and open development, China’s national societies have enhanced their organizational cohesiveness, academic leadership, and public credibility. During the past decade, the number of individual members of the CAST national societies has increased by 47.1%, totaling 6.37 million, including more than 5,000 foreign members, and the number of group members has increased to 74,000. CAST’s steering role in various academic sectors continues to improve. 129 awards of the CAST societies, such as the Liang Sicheng Architecture Prize organized by the Architectural Society of China, have been put on the List of Social Science and Technology Awards. More than 30 high-profile international academic exchange events, such as the World Robot Contest and the World New Energy Vehicle Congress, have been established. CAST’s capacity to provide science and technology services has continuously enhanced. With the release of over 3,600 group standards, a mechanism for developing group standards in line with national and international standards has been put in place. New progress has been made in the reform on the governance of societies. In 2020, the national societies recorded an income of 3.63 billion yuan, an increase of 72.3% compared with 2012; and more than 4,000 employees, an increase of 24.3% compared with 2012. The development of first-class societies with Chinese characteristics has produced fruitful results, with a total of 17 national societies entering the ranks of 5A-level social organizations and 22 societies winning the honorary title of “National Advanced Social Organization” at the third and fourth award ceremonies.
Ten years on, the progress in the development of world-class journals has boosted China’s confidence in innovation. General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out that: scientific and technological journals are the vehicle for inheriting human civilization and leading the development of science and technology. They represent a country’s science and technology competitiveness and cultural soft power. The academic leadership and global influence of China’s scientific and technical journals have notably enhanced. The number of Chinese scientific and technical journals included in major international journal databases has increased from 152 to 257, and the average impact factor of included journals has risen from 1.13 to 4.42, up by 2.9 times, or an average of 18.9% per year. The number of journals in the top 25% of international rankings of their respective disciplines has increased from 7 to 96. Twenty-five journals have made into the top 5% of international rankings, 20 journals in the top three, and 7 journals have ranked the first in their disciplines, including Journal of Magnesium and Alloys, Horticulture Research and Journal of Advanced Ceramics (English version). Three journals, i.e. Cell Research, Electrochemical Energy Reviews and Information Materials, have scored over 20 in impact factor, entering the top 100 in the world. The authors of Chinese scientific and technical journals included in important international databases come from 4697 scientific research institutions of 122 countries and regions, and the sources of citation cover 9608 scientific research institutions of 124 countries, all of which have seen significant growth compared with ten years ago.
Ten years on, the “Innovation China” program has lent strong impetus to the country’s pursuit of innovation-driven development. Under the “Innovation China” program, CAST has rallied and encouraged the science and technology workers to serve the high-quality development of regional economies by building platforms, solving problems, promoting transformation and supporting entrepreneurship. Pooling high quality resources, we have opened up efficient channels for science and technology workers to put their research outcomes into application. We have selected 65 pilot cities (parks) nationwide, set up over 400 sci-tech service teams, mobilized some 30,000 science and technology workers, and built the platform for industry-university-research cooperation to facilitate the transformation of scientific and technological achievements into real productivity. CAST has built a digital service platform to improve the efficiency of matching science and technology resources, created an “Innovation China” public technology service and trading platform, bringing together over 1.43 million pieces of information in the forms of “problem banks” and “project banks”, built more than 130 collaborative stations with vertical and horizontal linkages, introduced the mechanisms of technology roadshows, open competitions, and recommendations, and helped nearly 4000 enterprises at the grassroots overcome difficulties and upgrade their businesses. We have pursued innovations in organization models, promoted deep integration of industrial, academic, research and financial institutions, set up the “Innovation China” consortium and advisory committee, built more than 200 new organization carriers with differentiated features in various places, enhanced the institutionalized cooperation and systematic integration among various innovation and entrepreneurship entities, and facilitated the alliance across the industrial chain and the collaboration among large, medium and small enterprises.
Ten years on, high-quality science popularization services have benefited a wider population. General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out that science, technology and innovation (STI) and science popularization serve as the two wings for innovation-driven development, and science popularization should be put in an equally important position as STI. Following a people-centered approach, CAST has put in place a high-quality science popularization services system focusing on brand, platform, mechanism, team, reform and venue.
On enhancing brands-building, we have launched the brand program “China Science Communication” based on the high-quality science popularization resources of the CAST system, with resources of 53Tb in total, 41.6 billion views, and 2.7 billion views on the rumor-busting platform.
On building platforms, we have held the National Science Popularization Day event for 18 consecutive years, participated by about 281 million people in 2021; the two lectures of the Tiangong Class attracted over 4 billion views in total. We have fully mobilized public resources, bringing together 715 communication channels and working with 2,189 professional institutions and teams through the “China Science Communication” platform.
On establishing mechanisms, we have deepened the joint collaboration mechanism for the implementation of the Outline of the National Scheme for Scientific Literacy, set up the China Alliance for Science Literacy joined by 125 well-known organizations, issued a joint initiative of science popularization by 22 Chinese enterprises for public good titled “Building up Strength in Science and Technology by Empowering Science Literacy”, and supported 16 institutions and social organizations in setting up a Chinese alliance for popular science education and cultural venues.
On bringing together teams, we have mobilized the initiative of sci-tech professionals to participate in science popularization. We now have nearly 10 million science popularization officers; a nationwide team of science and technology volunteers with 2.13 million volunteers registered; 25,000 rural special technology associations at the grassroots, and 339 science and technology backyards (STB) of the China Rural Special Technology Association.
On advancing reform, we have pushed forward reform on the supply side of science popularization with the integration of content, channels and teams to expand effective supply. We have deepened reform on sci-tech education for teenagers. Over the past decade, nearly 100 million people have participated in the youth STI competition and other activities, and the Talent Program and college science camps have trained more than 7,000 outstanding secondary school students and provided opportunities of research practices for over 100,000 senior high school students.
On securing venues, we have achieved notable progress in building the modern sci-tech museum system, which includes 408 physical sci-tech museums, 339 sci-tech museums accessible to the public for free, and an accumulation of 4,944 sci-tech tours of mobile museums. The science popularization caravans have toured a total mileage of over 50 million kilometers, a total of 1112 sci-tech museums have been built in rural secondary schools, and the digital sci-tech museum now has 17.05 TB resources and 15.12 million users in total. According to initial statistics, the physical museums under the modern sci-tech museum system have recorded more than 850 million visits, and sci-tech museums are the most frequently visited museums among all kinds nationwide. We have encouraged local science associations, national societies, enterprises, research institutes and other stakeholders to participate in science popularization. This year, we have certified 800 science education bases for 2021-2025, bringing the total to over 2100 institutions; we have also designated 53 national demonstration counties on science popularization and 515 candidates of the demonstration counties for 2021-2025.
Ten years on, people-to-people cooperation and exchanges in science and technology have become more vibrant. Acting on the important instructions of General Secretary Xi Jinping that CAST should embrace the world, look toward the future, and enhance openness, trust and cooperation with the international science community, we have hosted over 280 global summits in China in cooperation with major international organizations. President Xi Jinping has sent congratulatory messages or delivered video addresses at the World Conference on Science Literacy (2018), the World Science and Technology Development Forum (2019), the World Young Scientist Summit (2019), the World New Energy Vehicle Congress (2019), the 3rd World Laureates Forum (2020), and the 32nd Congress of the International Council of the Aeronautical Sciences (2021). We have supported Chinese scientists in proposing for the establishment of international scientific and technological organizations, and have got the approval by the State Council for the establishment of the International Hydrogen Fuel Cell Association. By the end of 2021, CAST and its affiliated national societies had joined a total of 372 international scientific and technological organizations, and 399 personnel recommended by the CAST system have served in positions above the level of executive committee member in these organizations, including 170 chairmen or vice chairmen. The program of international collaboration platform for science and technology organizations in “Belt and Road” countries has attracted the participation of more than 200 international organizations and more than 1,000 national organizations, involving 150 countries. We have promoted the mutual recognition of engineering capability standards and engineer qualifications with Myanmar and Pakistan. We have taken multiple measures to attract overseas science and technology workers to pursue their career in China, and built 108 national overseas talent work bases, 24 national offshore innovation and entrepreneurship bases for overseas talents, and 6 overseas innovation and entrepreneurship bases.