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Academicians advance learning about China

2018/8/17 16:18:36   source:China Daily

Global event also aims to promote scientific, technological exchanges, cooperation

The second Overseas Academicians' Qingdao Tour and Qingdao International Academicians Forum, taking place at the city's international conference center is helping overseas academicians to learn more about China and is also promoting international scientific and technological exchanges and cooperation, according to the organizers.

The three-day event - organized by Qingdao International Academician Park and hosted by the Western Returned Scholars Association and the Qingdao government from Aug 16-18 - is attracting nearly 100 academicians from 23 countries and regions.

They will carry out discussions in the city, in East China's Shandong province, under the theme of "implementing new thoughts, nurturing new economic growth drivers and promoting new development".

"This year's conference highlights the number of invited overseas academicians, who together account for over 90 percent of all the participating academicians," said Ji Mingtao, a member of Licang district's Party committee and head of the administrative office of Licang district - one of the central areas in Qingdao - which is home to the international academician park.

"Their research directions are mainly centered on biomedicines, new-generation information technologies, high-end equipment manufacturing and new energy and new materials, which are in line with the industrial development goals of the international academician park," Ji added.

Attendees of the gathering also include representatives from universities, research institutes, high-tech companies and investment institutions.

Ji said they hoped to help more universities, institutes and corporations establish close relationships with academicians through the conference to achieve "win-win or multi-win outcomes".

According to the conference agenda, all participants on Friday are visiting innovation centers and industrial zones in Qingdao, including the international academician park, the Belt & Road Collaborative Innovation Center, the Qingdao-Amazon AWS Joint Innovation Center and a saltwater-tolerant rice research and test zone.

The conference's keynote speeches - as well as four seminars centering on big data, big health industrial development trends, opportunities for new energy and new materials, and the future of smart manufacturing and artificial intelligence - will be held on Saturday.

"This year is a remarkable and significant year for Qingdao, as the fame of the city soared after it hosted the 18th Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in June," Ji said.

"The success of the SCO summit also showed that Qingdao has been recognized as an international metropolis."

During the conference, Licang district plans to introduce more top academicians and advanced technologies to its international academician park, and further consolidate and broaden its channels in attracting talented personnel to help improve the structure of high-end human resources and the innovation environment in Qingdao. It will also explore new forms of cooperation between the park and companies, and between academicians and universities.

Wang Xijing, Party secretary of Licang, said: "The ultimate goal is to build Licang into a gathering of high-end human resources and an industrialized platform for academician-led high-tech and innovative projects, with Qingdao International Academician Park as its core".

The first international academician conference was held in July last year, during which the district signed work contracts with 33 academicians, 31 from abroad, and reached cooperation agreements with four scientific and research institutes.

Since then, the park's international reputation and influence have largely increased, as more than 60 foreign academicians have paid visits and 133 universities, companies and research institutes have discussed cooperation with the park.

Launched in June 2016, the international academician park is close to the site of the 2014 World Horticultural Exposition and benefits from a host of partnerships formed with the Ocean University of China, Shandong University (Qingdao) and Qingdao National Laboratory of Marine Science and Technology.

It currently serves as an important venue for nurturing new growth drivers and is part of a major effort to motivate the regional economy by attracting world-class academicians to carry out high-end scientific research and helping commercialize their research results.

According to official statistics, the park had introduced 108 academicians by July, 81 from abroad.

It always takes the industrialization of scientific achievements as a priority and provides up to 100 million yuan ($14.5 million) to help its academicians start projects. As of July, 16 academician-led projects had been commercialized, resulting in 25 kinds of products, with output value reaching nearly 5 billion yuan.

In May, the park held an investment promotion fair at the city's Shangri-La hotel, presenting around 100 new products and research achievements developed by 19 academicians and their teams to investors from home and abroad. Deals for 10 projects were secured, with contract amounts totaling nearly 3 billion yuan.

Experts showcasing their cutting-edge projects included Wang Yutian from the Academy of Science of the Royal Society of Canada, Jacques Rougerie from the French Academy of Fine Arts and Yuan Longping from the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

Chinese agronomist Yuan, who is also known as the "father of hybrid rice" in China, for example, displayed his saline-alkali tolerant rice. Yuan established a saltwater rice research and development center at the park in 2016, aiming to develop it into a key national lab in this field.

The center in May conducted experiments on rice in five areas with different saline-alkali soils across the country, including Shaanxi province, the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region and Qingdao, in a bid to test the yields and quality of the rice in different environments.

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