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Guideline calls for better management of central budgetary research funding

Updated: Aug 13,2021 17:18

China has rolled out measures to reform and refine the management of central budgetary research funding to motivate researchers in generating more high-quality research outcomes and beef up self-reliance in science and technology, according to a guideline released by the General Office of the State Council on Aug 13.

Greater discretion will be given to researchers in fund use with streamlined budget compilation, according to the guideline. The items subject to budget accounting will be merged into three categories - equipment costs, operating expenses and labor costs.

The power over budget reassignments regarding equipment costs and others will all be delegated to institutes undertaking research projects, with approval no longer needed from departments governing the projects.

The creation of ceilings in funding that enable the retention of unused funds will cover a larger scope and be promoted in talent-related programs and basic research projects, which are no longer subject to budget compilations, according to the guideline.

It was also stressed that the fund allocation mechanism should be refined, with funds channeled to projects at a faster pace.

Measures were laid out to give researchers greater incentives, such as increasing the proportion of indirect funding in research projects and expanding trial experiments in drawing rewards from research expenditures.

To ease the administrative burden on researchers, the document suggested research projects become equipped with financial assistants to provide professional services.

Also stressed were new formats of budgetary research funding support via pilot programs in which continuous and stable research funding support is provided to lead scientists from fields strategically important to the country and in cutting-edge scientific and technological domains. The lead scientists will be given the discretion to decide what to study, how to build teams and how to use funds in line with the priorities and scopes on the country’s agenda.

A "budget plus negative list" management model will be implemented in new types of research and development institutes.

Additionally, management of performance-based expenditure will also be enhanced with strengthened supervision and check of research fund use.