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李文忠
中国科学技术大学

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policymaking for s&t in China(滥竽充数)

作者:   分类:综合发展研究     浏览:16071次   回复:2次  
发表时间:2008-08-29 10:39:58

 

1. Overview
According to the widely accepted and cited OECD definition (1963, 1971), science and technology policy means the collective measures taken by a government in order to encourage the development of scientific and technical research (policy for science and technology) and to exploit the results for general political objectives (policy through science and technology). The establishment of science and technology as a national asset, and the direct intervention of governments in the direction and range of R&D activities, marked a new and irreversible turning point in the relations between science and technology, and the state (Salomon, 1977).
Science and technology policy originated accompanying the foundation of P.R.C. But because of complex political, cultural, and societal conditions, policymaking and implementation in China zigzag between traditional Soviet styled policy system and a western model. Aiming at the existing problems Chinese leaders appealed to put forward the reform of science and technology system since 1978. From then on China’s R&D system had undergone significant changes, which will be deeply discussed in section 5.
China’s political system is not founded on the bases of separation of powers as its western counterpart. Science and technology policies are mainly initiated and implemented by the executive branch (the State Council as well as its constituent ministries and agencies) with the central committee of CPC overseeing, and NPC checking, the whole process. So to a considerable extent, the State Council is the focus of much interest and attention relating to national R&D administration. NPC, CPPCC and institutions outside the executive branch (including universities, independent research institutes, industrial firms, think tanks, etc.) also play vital roles in the science and technology policy process.
From the perspective of science policy machinery China’s government R&D system is a combination of a centralist and a pluralist one. Now about one third of China’s national R&D activities are funded by national and local government and thus is subject to public science and technology policies and procedures. With the establishment of a socialist market system, industrial enterprises now support more than 60% of national R&D activities. The discussion of industry funded R&D, as well as R&D funded by provincial and local government and other non-governmental institutions, is beyond the scope of this paper. This paper is mainly concerned with policymaking for central government-funded R&D in China.
 
 
2 Current S&T policymaking in China
The main elements of China’s government R&D system are demonstrated in figure 1.
 
Source: compiled by author
Figure 1 Main Elements of China Central Government’s R&D system
2.1The role of the State Council and its constituent ministries
China central government currently invests more than US$10 billion annually in R&D related activities. Central government-funded R&D programs are mainly administered by the agencies of the State Council. This section describes in broad terms how the State Council as well as its constituent ministries and agencies is organized for the conduct of R&D programs, and how they participate in the formulation and implementation of science and technology policy. Based on the constitution, the State Council is responsible for the development of China’s science and technology enterprise. In principle, the State Council is structured in a hierarchical manner, with the Premier at the top. But in practice, the Premier’s power to control the activities of all the agencies, while substantial, is less than absolute because of the sheer size of the government. The Premier exercises a considerable amount of central policymaking authority and policy coordination over the agencies mentioned above through the State Science and Education Steering Group. Virtually almost all agencies of the State Council are involved in science and technology. But about ten ministries and agencies account for majority of the whole R&D budget: MOST, MOE, MOA, MOCE, CAS, NNSF, etc.
 
The State Science and Education Steering Group
The state science and technology steering group, founded by Zhu Rongji administration in 1998, serves as an inter-ministry coordination institution. It is chaired by the Premier of the State Council and co-chaired by a State Councellor, with senior department and agency officials as its members. This steering group is the principal means for the Premier to coordinate science and technology policy across the State Council. For example, to meet new challenges and demands after China’s WTO accession, and cater to domestic strategic economic restructuring, with the approval of the 10th session of the State Science and Education Steering Group, MOST organized and implemented 12 mega-projects of science research based on the 863 Program and the National Key Technologies R&D Program. But influence of the steering group is limited because few conferences were held. Most agencies and departments have far better ways of influencing policy process than working through the steering group.
Ministries and agencies of the State Council
Nominally, the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), under the leadership of the Premier, is responsible for the administration of China’s R&D system. MOST makes and promotes national R&D plans (i.e. 863 program, 973 program,Key Technologies Research and Development Program) and is empowered to coordinate with other relevant ministries. Several other ministries and agencies, such as Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Education (MOE), State Council of Development and Reform (SCDR), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), National Natural Sciences Foundation of China (NSFC), to name but a few, play some pivotal roles in national R&D affairs. For example, the NSFC was founded in February 1986 with the approval of the State Council. It is an institution for the management of the National Natural Science Fund, aimed at promoting and financing basic research and some applied research in China. All the involved ministries and agencies promote R&D related to their substantive missions through their national institutes and through grants to universities and contracts with state-owned or private corporations. Unlike some of its counterparts in developed countries, MOST has no national research institutions as its operating arms, which greatly limited its power bases as a coordination body because of the lack of expertise.
There is still no a unified central government R&D budget process. Each ministry and agency negotiates its overall budget including R&D budget with the Ministry of Finance. Then the budgets are insulated into one whole of the State Council budget and will be approved by the NPC in March each year. Each of the principal R&D related ministry or agency funds and administrate their R&D activities individually with very few coordination. For example, NSFC, MOE, and MOST all fund basic research, so duplication of investment cannot be avoided. Basic research activities are mainly awarded competitively and subject to peer reviews.
In China, the largest share of central government-funded R&D activities are carried out by government-owned research institutes and some well-known research universities under grants, with but a few carried out by industrial firms. So the innovative capacities of industrial firms are still weak. Contracts are still not widely used except for some applied research and development missions. Universities and CAS are preeminent in the area of basic research, performing majority of the nation’s total.
It is surprising that almost no institutionalized advisory systems in the executive branch agencies, both at the cabinet level and within each ministry and agency. So the administration of R&D and the implementation of science and technology policy are almost always subject to the discretion of rigid, bureaucratic system. In the reform process, China government has set up to cope with this problem and to establish a systemic advice and consultation system.
 
2.2The role of NPC and CPPCC
The National People’s Congress, which has the constitutional authority to review and approve the State Council’s annual budget, play a relatively not so vital role in formulating and overseeing the implementation of China central government’s science and technology policies. Part of the work of NPC is conducted through special commitees. The Commitee of Education, S&T, Culture and Hygiene is the main institution, which is responsible for this task in NPC. But NPC’s expertise in science and technology is very modest. Institutionalized arrangements like that of its counterpart of the United States (OTA, CRS, GAO, and CBO) as well as other developed countries is still absent.
NPC shapes China government’s science and technology enterprise in several ways. Most fundamentally, NPC is responsible for appropriating funds for the operation of the government. Superficially, it has the power of life or death over most national R&D activities. But because of limited expertise and ambiguity of its responsibilities, it cannot shape national R&D system effectively. NPC’s influence over R&D in the private sector is less direct, mainly through tax and regulations.
The Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) was established on September 21, 1949. The CPPCC is a Chinese people's patriotic united front organization. It is an important institution of multiparty cooperation and political consultation led by the CPC. It is an important way to promote socialist democracy in China's political life. The basic structure of China's political system is that of the unification of the system of people's congresses, the system of multiparty cooperation and political consultation, and the system of regional ethnic autonomy under the leadership of the CPC. To meet the demands of the work, the National Committee has several special committees and other working bodies. The special committees operate under the direction of the Standing Committee and the Chair's Council and organize members to carry out regular activities. Each special committee is constituted of a chairman, and several vice chairmen and members. The Committee of Education, Science, Culture, Health and Sports, with many well-known scientists and intellectuals as its members, is the main committee which plays a pivotal role in influencing science and technology policymaking.
2.3 The limited role of some quasi-governmental institutions as advisory institutions
Chinese Academy of Sciences and Chinese Academy of Engineering
CAS was founded in Beijing on 1st November 1949 on the basis of the former Academia Sinica (Central Academy of Sciences) and Peiping Academy of Sciences. CAS is a leading academic institution and comprehensive research and development center in natural sciences, technological science and high-tech innovation in China. Catering to the national strategic demands and aiming at the world science frontiers, efforts will be made to promote original innovation in scientific research and the innovation and integration of key technologies, so as to scale the heights of world science and technology, and make fundamental, strategic and forward-looking contributions to China's economic reconstruction, national security and sustainable development. CAS set its mission to undertake nationwide integrated surveys on natural resources and ecological environment, to provide the country with scientific data and advice for governmental decision-making, and to undertake government-assigned projects with regard to key S&T problems in the process of social and economic development.
Since the establishment of CAE in 1994, entrusted by the relevant government ministries and commissions, the Academy has offered consultancy to the State on major programs, planning, guidelines, and policies. With the incitation by various ministries of the central government as well as local governments, the Academy has organized its members to make surveys on the forefront, and to put forward strategic opinions and proposals. The objective and missions of the entrusted study and advisory items are to maximize the collective wisdom and trans-disciplinary, trans-departmental and trans-regional superiority of CAE’s members as a team, to actively carry out studies and put forward opinions and suggestions on the State’s development strategy and policies of S&T and economy, as well as on key issues related to major engineering technologies. These entrusted projects have played an important role in maximizing the participation of the members in the macro decision-making of the State. In the meantime, the members, based on their own experiences and perspectives accumulated in a long term and in combination with international trends of the development of engineering science and technology, have regularly and actively put forward their opinions and suggestions.
CAS and CAE influence science and technology in a number of ways. For example, they provide authoritative advice and policy guidance, sometimes on controversial issues, sometimes on more routine operations. They also conduct studies and reports, which bring new issues and problems to the attention of central government agencies, sometimes forcing them to take actions they might not otherwise have taken. They also serve to review and report on progress and needs in disciplines of basic research, in high technology, as well as in engineering sciences.
 
Chinese Association for Science and Technology
CAST is an umbrella organization in science and technology of China. It is composed of various academic and professional societies, and acts as an important driving force for the development of the nation’s science and technology. CAST, over nearly 50 years since founding, through uniting China’s scientific and technological personnel, has made important contributions to the progress of science and technology, as well as the economic and social development in China. As a national organization of China’s scientific and technological personnel, CAST is now leading its affiliated organizations and members to render better service to the nation’s economic and social development, to the improvement of all Chinese scientific literacy, and to the scientific and technological personnel. CAST also strives to organize the scientific and technological personnel to participate in the formulation of policies and regulations on science and technology and in other state affairs.
 
Research universities, trade associations and other organizations also influence policymaking to some extent, but usually through informal measures and behind the scenes.
3. The development of science and technology policymaking in China
In general, before late 1970s the policymaking and implementation process in China has long been peculiarly marked by the language and atmosphere of crisis. In the pre-reform period, confronted with the threats first from USA, then from both USA and USSR, China’s R&D centered on defense and heavy industry under a highly centralist system. Following a Soviet Union styled model, China established a complex R&D system with a large network of research institutes (mainly that of CAS) combined with comprehensive and specialist universities. Universities were mainly involved in education and training, carrying out less research. Almost all the state-owned enterprises only conduct production under the direction of government agencies, few R&D institutes were established within. The majority of R&D activities were mainly carried out by government-owned specialized research institutes, and funded by appropriations.
Ever since 1978, Chinese S&T policy has passed through several different phases, responding to changing national development objectives and strategy. China government set up an incremental systemic reform of its S&T system. There are different perspectives about the periodization of science and technology policymaking in China. A widely accepted and cited one is that the periodization could be marked by several documents issued by the central committee of CPC and the State Council.
1985 resolution—all-around reform of science and technology system initiated
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, one of the most important characteristics of China’s science and technology development strategy has been to promote the import of foreign technology and advanced facilities. During the same period, China government went at reforming its science and technology administrative structure. In 1985, the central committee of CPC and the State Council approved the “Resolution on the reform of the S&T system”. Its main objective is to reform the appropriation of R&D grants and to loose the administration and regulation of research institutes. At the same time, the ‘resolution’ encourages universities and applied research institutes to strengthen their links with enterprises. Soon after that, regulations and laws concerning patent and technology transfer were issued. Industrial policy was directed to expanding technology-intensive industry, such as machinery and electronics. NSFC was founded in 1986. With the funding of NSF and the later founded 973 Program, 211 project, and 985 project, universities gradually became the significant base for basic research and knowledge generation. Now universities account for about 40% national basic research and more than 30% that of applied research. In 1988, the first national high-tech develop zone was established in Beijing with 52 others followed, which were supported by the Torch Program.
1995 resolution—to establish a China style National Innovation System
In 1995, central committee of CPC and the State Council issued the “Resolution on the Acceleration of Progress in Science and Technology”. The “Resolution” set the goal to attain China’s R&D spending equivalent to 1.5% of GDP by the year 2000 and called for an administration reform to meet the needs of the socialist market economy. In general, all the major reform measures from 1995 to around 2000 were directed to the establishment of a China style national innovation system (NIS), which was inspired by the NIS literature (Freeman, 1987; Lundvall, 1992; and Nelson, 1993) and successful experiences of some OECD countries. Since 1999, China had begun to transform most government-owned applied research-oriented institutes into enterprises, or had them incorporated into state-owned enterprises, so as to strengthen the innovative capacity of industry firms. Two hundred and forty two research institutes once affiliated to former State Commission for Economy and Trade were transformed into enterprises by the end of 2001. Inspired by this successful transformation, about 5000 local government-owned applied research institutes were also transformed into enterprises, which evidently strengthened related regional innovation systems. Now enterprises account for more than 60% overall R&D funds, a quarter of applied research, and more than 75% development. The institutional mechanism for adapting imported technology has been greatly improved. So from the perspective of investment, enterprises have become principal part of innovation.
2006 resolution—building an Innovation-oriented Country/Nation
The Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao administration was strongly characterized by its recognition of the importance of indigenous innovative capacity. On the Fourth National Conference on Science and Technology, which was held on January 9, 2006, President Hu and Premier Wen had both appealed to push forward the reform of China’s R&D system to build an innovation-oriented country. Premier Wen appealed to better implement the National Outline for Medium and Long-term Science and Technology Development Planning (2006-2020) (NOMLSTDP). Reform of the country's scientific and technological system must be vigorously pushed forward. Strategies on how to make innovations should be stipulated and implemented. Investment in scientific and technological sections must be increased and the training of scientific and technological personnel should be strengthened.
On February 9, 2006, the Resolution of the Central Committee of CPC and the State Council on the Implementation of the NOMLSTDP and enhancement of Indigenous Innovative Capacity , as well as the full text of the plan, was presented to the whole world. These two documents are a new milestone of science and technology policymaking in China.
The fifteen-year plan is the first one both in the new century and since China’s becoming a member of WTO, and also since President Hu and the Prime Minister Wen came to power in 2003. It indicates that China government will increase R&D expenditure significantly, domestic/indigenous/independent innovative capacity will be greatly strengthened, and dependence on foreign technology will be reduced. As to R&D expenditure, two key goals for 2020 are to increase it to 2.5% of GDP (current level is 1.4%) and to quadruple GDP using 2000 as a baseline. Based on the reflection on the dependence on foreign technology and the problems brought on, the plan appeals to strengthen “independent” or “indigenous” innovation, so as to avoid the dominance of foreign corporations in strategic areas and to pay high licensing fees. The plan identifies eleven key areas and interrelated priority subjects. The plan also lists sixteen key projects to be launched. The need to increase investments in basic research is also emphasized. Following the presentation of the plan, in June 2006, the State Council presented the first batch of 99 supporting policies for the implementation of the plan which clarified the supporting policy assignments, lead departments and leaders.
4.The science and technology policy machinery and its transition in China
To some extent, science and technology machinery is the other side of a coin with one side being administrative structure. Briefly speaking, science and technology policy machinery is the organizational systems a government adopted from time to time to co-ordinate and control research and development activities, which reflects the currently adopted views on the relationship between science, technology and society (Ronayne, 1984). In science and technology literature, it is widely accepted that there are four types of science and technology policy machineries, which are pluralist, co-ordination, concerted action, and centralist system. The four systems were loosely typed in order of the increasing relative co-ordination of a government’s R&D activities.
China’s science policy machinery resembles that of a centralist system. But because of nation special conditions and path dependence, a combination of concerted-action science policy machinery and a centralist one, like that of South Korea, is more suitable for China.
In order to construct an innovation-oriented country, China’s R&D system should be deeply reorganized or reinvented, so as to establish effective science and technology machinery. First, a national science and technology council (NSTC) chaired by the Premier or the authorized state councilor is to be established, with ministers of R&D related departments and some experts from academics and industry as its cabinet and executive members. Its role is to steer, not to row. The cabinet-level National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) should be the principal means within the executive branch to coordinate science and technology policy across the diverse entities that make up the national research and development enterprise. The Council will prepare research and development strategies that are coordinated across national agencies to form investment packages aimed at accomplishing multiple national goals. The work of the NSTC can be organized under several committees. Each of these committees oversees subcommittees and working groups focused on different aspects of science and technology and working to coordinate across the national government. Second, the role of MOST should be elevated to enhance the coordination of national R&D programs. It will also serve as secretariat of the NSTC and provide S&T policy services to other ministries. MOST should also establish its own in-house research institutes which will focus on its special missions, because according to power and politics organization theory, (French & Raven, 1959), expertise is one of the most important bases of an organization’s social power. Third, a high level national advisory council for science and technology (NACST) should also be established, a chief science advisor could be appointed by the prime minister whose office could be located in MOST. Each agency with R&D missions should also establish advisory institutions to guide their R&D activities. And fourth, research councils respectively related to basic research, industrial R&D, and public science and technology should also be established which will serve to set priorities in related fields.
Much still remains to be learned by NPC from its western counterparts to exercise its check over the executive branch on R&D budget and program evaluation. This will be a long process of institutional learning and organizational learning.
5. Summary and discussion
The reform in 1980s and 1990s had achieved a lot. But some deep-seated problems still exist in China’s R&D system. First, a state level coordination mechanism is still to be established. Second, institutionalized science policy advisory system is still to be established. Third, there should be a unified and carefully coordinated R&D budget. And at the last, a more effective budget accountability system should be established, especially for the government funded R&D activities.

Although the science and technology policymaking mechanism of China has gradually converged with western developed countries, we cannot simply imitate the OECD countries’ science and technology policy machinery and treat LDCs and OECD countries homogenously. As a social technology or institutional system, the development of science and technology policy is a very complex process. It is not only dependent on rational adjustment and considerations, but also on more complex social and institutional processes. Science and technology policy also has to be related to both national contexts and to global change. And also the relationship between science, technology, and government should be reexamined because of the dramatic impact of science and technology on environment, energy, and social life. The policy-making patterns must include new forms of public participation. As a less developed country, China must construct its science and technology policy machinery and plan their R&D activities more carefully in the new social and institutional setting, so as to make better use of science and technology policies to help solve the problems emerging in a rapidly changing world.


[评论人:李文忠] 评论时间:2008-08-29 10:49:29
去年写的东东,有点惨不忍睹
[评论人:朱星华] 评论时间:2008-08-29 12:41:57
还好,读起来费劲,与众不同,