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Wednesday, February 25, 2015, 16:48

Push to make inventions commercially viable

By Xinhua

 Push to make inventions commercially viable
In a picture taken on June 23, 2010 Professor Shi Yigong, who walked away from a top research position in the United States to become the dean of life sciences at Beijing's prestigious Tsinghua University in 2008, poses beside bottles of bacterial culture in a university lab in Beijing. (AFP PHOTO/ Frederic J. BROWN)

BEIJING - China's top legislature on Wednesday reviewed a draft law amendment that aims to facilitate commercial development of inventions made in research institutes and universities.

The bill, on revising the Law on Promoting the Transformation of Scientific and Technological Achievements, was tabled at the bi-monthly session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, which runs from Wednesday to Friday.

"Although the law, which took effect in 1996, has helped propel sci-tech achievements into production, many provisions no longer fit with China's deepening reform and pursuit of innovation-driven development," Minister of Science and Technology Wan Gang told lawmakers.

The revision aims to introduce incentive mechanisms that motivate research establishments and scientists, and ensure enterprises play a leading role in the process of making academic inventions more market-oriented, Wan said.

Among the major revisions, the bill empowers state-owned research institutes and universities to transfer or license use of their achievements or invest in them as a trade-in.

Instead of turning over gains to the central treasury, the draft allows these research establishments to retain all income from the transaction for awarding meritorious scientists and future research projects.

Apart from setting the bottom line of no less than 20 percent of the transfer or license income for awarding scientists with contributions, the draft stipulates that research establishments may fix means and amount of rewards with their staff.

"By doing so, the bill has left space for augmented award for sci-tech personnel," Wan said.

To redress an over emphasis on theoretical achievements over their application in the academic circle at present, the bill asked research establishments and their supervisory government organs, to set up appraisal systems, which could promote applications of new academic achievements.

In addition, the bill added new regulations to give enterprises more say in prospective research projects.

Advice from related industry or enterprises should be taken when setting down research projects using fiscal funding or the drawing up of sci-tech plans, according to the bill.

Also, government agencies should enable enterprises play a leading role in the choice of research direction, project implementation and application of research results in funded projects that have clear market prospects or industrial goals, it says.

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