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OECD report on innovation in China

As part of its new programme of country reviews of innovation policy; the OECD presented the main findings of the Chinese national innovation system (NIS) and policy. The review was requested by the Chinese authorities, represented by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), and was carried out as a joint OECD-MOST project under the auspices of the OECD Committee for Scientific and Technological Policy (CSTP). The review shows that China has made great progress in promoting scientific and technological innovation but must do more to succeed in building a modern, advanced economy. OECD’s recommendations highlight that new developments should focus on: better protection of patents and other intellectual property, more cooperation between the government and the private sector and reforms to foster competitive markets.

For higher education and university research, the Chinese government policy has aimed at concentrating funding on the universities that were considered to have the greatest potential for developing a world-class research environment and performance. Whereas many OECD countries have struggled for many years to make their universities more interested in research with a practical use, the problem for the Chinese government has been the reverse.

The review concludes that universities in China are key knowledge infrastructures and the central pillar of the industry-science relationships. According to the report, the Chinese government's objective should be now to build a number of world-class universities that would be less involved in the business sector and provide scientific roots to the innovation systems. The report finds that there has been considerable progress in raising China’s capabilities in science and technology.  China’s integration in the global innovation system will be beneficial not only to China but to the world at large.

Executive summary