Nobel laureates gather in Beijing as China reaches out to top scientists

By Li Xuanmin and Deng Xiaoci Source:Global Times Published: 2018/8/12 18:48:12

The World Forum on Science and Technological Innovation was held in Beijing from Friday to Sunday, with some 20 Nobel laureates in the fields of physics, chemistry and medicine and over 1,000 high-tech company executives attending the forum to discuss global technological innovations and industrialization. 

Chinese observers hailed the event which came on the heels of an escalation in the US-ignited trade war, as a manifestation of China's adherence to its pledge to further open up, especially in the science and technology sector, and that the country has grown more attractive to the world's most intelligent minds.

Hosted by Caijing magazine and research firm Houyi Holding, the forum shares cutting-edged findings in areas including artificial intelligence, new materials, cloud computation, bio-tech, climate change and space.

The forum highlighted China's commitment to opening up its high-tech sector and actively communicating with scientists in the world to contribute to the common good of humanity, Zhang Yandong, president of Caijing Think Tank, said in a keynote speech at the forum. 

"This is particularly challenging against the backdrop of escalating trade tensions between China and the US," he said. Such opening-up would enhance China's industrial chain on the global market, he noted. 

Cui Wei, founder of Houyi Holding, also stressed at the forum that cooperation with top foreign scientists will help translate research findings into practical applications which Chinese companies, now shifting from quantity to quality growth, could exploit and use to improve their productivity.

"China is now opening up more to the world," Michael Levitt, who received the 2013 Nobel Prize in chemistry for the development of multi-scale models for complex chemical systems, told the Global Times.

Levitt noted that China has already attracted foreign scientists to conduct research in the country and there has been no barrier to such scientific cooperation. 

Levitt himself, for example, has been made an honorary professor of Fudan University in Shanghai. 

"China has developed good infrastructure in scientific research," Levitt said. "This has even prompted some US scientists to come to China, and there will be even more in the future."

Top scientists 

"China's confidence in science and technological cooperation with the world stems from its innate advantage, including its world-beating domestic market and manufacturing support capability," Xiang Ligang, chief executive of telecom industry news site, told the Global Times on Sunday. 

Xiang also said the country's robust development in science and technology and increasing awareness and management capability with regard to intellectual property rights in recent decades has also drawn more top scientists -- including Nobel laureates -- to the country.

In the most recent case on Saturday, Nobel prize physics-winning professors Robert Betts Laughlin, George Fitzgerald Smoot III of the US and Russian-British Konstantin Novoselov were honored as "distinguished consultants" by North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region government for development of its energy sector, Inner Mongolia Daily reported. 

A team dedicated to research into a medical cure for Alzheimer's disease led by Shuji Nakamura, a Japanese-born American engineer who won the Nobel Prize in physics in 2006, and Yoshinori Ohsumi, awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine in 2016, has also registered and established their base facility in Kaihou national high-tech zone, in South China's Hainan Province, according to the Haikou city government website on Sunday. 

"China has never resisted high-tech products or cooperation in the science and technology sector, or pursued a technological populism," Xiang said.

Apart from insisting on independent research and development of core technologies to avoid a blockade on techniques by some countries, Chinese scientists and firms are increasingly enhancing cooperation with the rest of the world to drive further development, Xiang noted. 


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