China has budgeted over USD two billion for major research and development programmes this year, state media reported today. The 13 billion yuan (USD two billion) programmes consist of 40 special projects and over 600 minor projects, covering four major fields including social development, high-tech research, agricultural science and technology, and fundamental research, the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) said. China, which is reconfiguring its economy by curbing excessive manufacturing, has stepped Research and Development (R&D) budgets in key technologies. China is investing heavily in modern technologies including internet of things and Artificial Intelligence (AI). China has topped globally in 2016 with a record 1.3 million patent applications followed by 605,571 by the US and 318,381 by Japan, according to the official. According to a guideline on patent budgets soon to be released by MOST, social development will receive the most funds, with 41.7 per cent of the total projects and 34.8 per cent of the budget. Risk control in public security and technical equipment for emergencies were the two areas with the most funds under social development, according to the guideline.
Medical research is also set to get a big chunk of the budget, with five special projects receiving 1.2 billion yuan in total. From 2016 to 2018, medical research received 30 per cent of the budget for social development. Another 25.2 per cent of the overall projects are in high-tech, a much lower percentage than for social development projects, yet they will receive 4.4 billion yuan — close to the amount for social development. New energy automobiles and additive and laser manufacturing are the top two high-tech subjects in terms of budget, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Li Hongjun, researcher at the China Agricultural University, said the budget allocation for research programs reflects the country’s emphasis on certain industries. From 2016 to 2018, the budgets for research on air pollution control and causes, as well as for deep-sea technology and equipment, reached 2.2 billion yuan, showing that the country has paid more attention to people’s health and becoming a strong sea power, Li said.