Science center in Shanghai to move ideas quickly from lab to market

Updated:2016-01-28By Wang Hongyi (China Daily )

A comprehensive national science center will be established in Shanghai by 2020, offering the city an important asset as it seeks to build itself into a science and innovation center with global influence.

The science center is being developed to integrate resources from the government, universities, research institutes and businesses in an effort to promote scientific innovation. Favorable government policies and the creation of supporting systems also are expected to facilitate the speed at which products move from the laboratory to the market.

Key scientific and technology projects are already being developed at the center in the core of the Zhangjiang National Innovation Demonstration Zone. These include the second phase of the Shanghai Synchrotron Radiation Facility, the National Protein Science Center, ShanghaiTech University and the Shanghai Supercomputer Center.

The establishment of the national science center will greatly improve the level and efficiency of scientific and technological research and development, and also improve the country's status in the global innovation network, according to the innovation promotion division of the zone's administration commission.

The zone is a gathering point for Shanghai's scientific resources. With 22 branch zones and 124 industrial and high-tech parks across the city, the zone has more than 1,400 development and research facilities and about 70,000 businesses, including more than 2,800 high-tech enterprises.

A large amount of the city's innovation is occurring in the zone. More than 32,000 inventions and patents were recorded in the zone as of 2014.

As Shanghai nurtures its goal of becoming a global science and innovation center, the demonstration zone is working to build itself into a major innovator by offering policy support, financial aid and facilities that attract entrepreneurs and create a favorable business environment.

Earlier this year, the demonstration zone released its development plan for 2015-20. The plan outlines a series of steps to promote scientific innovation in the city, including the establishment of bases focusing on key areas, industries and enterprises.

According to a recent research report on Shanghai's economic development released by the Economic Research Institute at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, bottlenecks remain for Shanghai's full development of the science and innovation center. These include a lack of resources, an incomplete system for transforming scientific results into products and not enough openness to cooperation, the report said.

Zhangjiang seeks to create a good environment for innovation and entrepreneurship - for example by continually improving facilities and services. Platforms for emerging industries, including smart robots, 3-D printing and biopharmaceuticals, have been established, reducing the research and development cost for entrepreneurs.

Additionally, a new model allowing incubators and innovative enterprises to grow and share benefits has been formed. Private enterprises, angel investors, venture capital institutions and multinational companies are encouraged to participate in the development of a high-level incubator.