Shanghai proves sci-tech strength with top national awards
Recipients of the 2019 International Science and Technology Cooperation Award, China's highest scientific honor for foreign scientists, attend the National Science and Technology Award Conference in Beijing on Jan 10. [Photo by Yan Yan/Xinhua]
Fifty projects led by or involving Shanghai scientists or organizations were honored at the 2019 National Science and Technology Award Conference in Beijing on Jan 10, accounting for 16.9 percent of the total projects to receive top Chinese sci-tech awards.
This is the fourth year in a row that over 15 percent of awarded projects were Shanghai projects. It is also the first year since 2002 that a project from Shanghai has won one of the three special prizes of the National Science and Technology Progress Award.
In addition, three projects from Shanghai won the first-place prizes of National Science and Technology Progress Award, the highest number in six years.
Among the 10 recipients of the 2019 International Science and Technology Cooperation Award – the nation's highest scientific honor for foreign scientists – two are partnered with universities in Shanghai.
They are Herbert Mang from Austria, a civil engineer who worked with Tongji University, and Raymond Charles Stevens from the United States, a structural biologist who worked with ShanghaiTech University.
The list of winners suggested that Shanghai has made significant progress in building itself into a hub for scientific innovation with global influence. The city has seen an increasing number of breakthroughs in the development of advanced core technologies as well as an increase in international cooperation, according to the Shanghai Municipal Center for Science and Technology Awards.
Major award-winning scientific achievements from Shanghai
The project from Shanghai that won the special prize of the National Science and Technology Progress Award involved the independent R&D and industrialization of dredgers, a type of high-tech equipment used to keep waterways navigable.
The Marine Design & Research Institute of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, which led the project, has been working to tackle difficulties in developing key technoloy involved in making dredgers since 2000.
To date, the institute has developed more than 60 dredgers and helped form an independent industrial chain for the production of dredgers, giving China the strongest dredging capacity of any country.
A project involving the manufacture of ARJ21 airplanes, China's first indigenously developed regional passenger jetliner, won the first-place prize of the National Science and Technology Progress Award.
The ARJ21 project team from COMAC (the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China), established in Shanghai, said the project was launched when China lacked the proper talent and know-how in the field of civil aircraft.
Through more than a decade of independent innovation, the team managed to complete the entire process, including designing, manufacturing, testing, mass production, delivery, and operation, finally managing to bring the aircraft to the sky.
Six-year high in number of awards for basic research
The number of National Natural Science Awards a province or city wins is regarded as a testament to its level of basic research. This year, eight projects from Shanghai won second-place prizes of the National Natural Science Award, accounting for 17.4 percent of the total and second only to Beijing.
"This is the most awards Shanghai has won in the past six years," said Lu Chao, associate professor at the School of Management of Shanghai University, "and the eight awards are mainly relating to physics, chemistry, mathematics and astronomy. Fudan University is the biggest winner with three awards."
In addition, 11 Shanghai projects were awarded in the "life and health" category, more than any other category. Distinguished areas of research also included electronic information and metallic materials.
Increasing cooperation shows Shanghai's openness
Two International Science and Technology Cooperation Awards went to foreign scientists recommended by their partner universities in Shanghai, suggesting that Shanghai has successfully expanded international cooperation.
Some of the awarded projects were carried out via cross–province and cross-city cooperation. For example, Shanghai collaborated with Beijing on 14 projects and with cities in the Yangtze River Delta on 14 projects.
Universities in Shanghai carry out most awarded projects
Universities in Shanghai had a strong presence on the list of winners, demonstrating their importance to scientific innovation in the city.
Lu said that more enterprises in Shanghai had participated in awarded projects this year, and that scientific institutes are also an important driving force behind sci-tech development.