At the end of September a small delegation of CBS researchers (the RIO group – Research, Innovation and Organization group) visited some of the most prominent think tanks and university researchers in Beijing working on China’s Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) policy. In the highly relevant meetings we met with Chinese colleagues who explained about their research projects, and about their current work advising the Chinese government.
An important take away from the trip has been the understanding that the Chinese government is currently preparing its mid-term plan 2035. It will be guided by a holistic approach, focusing on three dimensions: supporting innovation to achieve not only economic development, but also social and environmental development. These two latter dimensions are strongly visible in the topics that our fellow Chinese colleagues’ are currently working with. Yet, whereas China is in a leading position in innovation of some renewable energies (wind power and solar energy in particular), and is making significant advances rolling out electric vehicles in the streets, the issue of making innovation more socially inclusive, addressing pressing social problems (like a rapidly ageing society) is more challenging.
Another relevant take away is that the Chinese government is making enormous investments in scientific infrastructures. The Huairou Science City in Northeast Beijing that we visited, is a long-term ambitious plan to build a world-class research and innovation hub, attracting top-level talent. Likewise, we had the opportunity to discuss green investment approaches to the large-scale project of Belt and Road Initiative, popularly known as the new silk road. Green Finance is key for achieving an environmental sustainable development in China. One key instrument in this regard is green innovation public procurement, but other green finance instruments are in their early steps.
All in all, a highly impressive and enlightening visit.