General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out that science and technology constitute the primary productive forces while innovation is the primary driving force leading development, and talent is the primary resource. The strategic plan of completing the building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, basically realizing socialist modernization and building China into a great modern socialist country in an all-round way has provided a fundamental guideline and pointed the direction for the innovation and development of associations for science and technology in the new era.
The China Association of Science and Technology (CAST) is a public organization under the leadership of the Party, an important part of the national innovation system, and a public organization of scientific and technological workers in China. Over 60 years since its establishment, CAST has always adhered to taking the Party’s leadership as the core and played the role of sci-tech associations in linking the Party and the government to scientific and technological workers. It has upheld the mission of serving scientific and technological workers, always focused on scientific and technological workers, and given full play to the role of associations for science and technology as a “home” for scientific and technological workers. It has insisted on taking the promotion of academic exchanges as its central task and given full play to its irreplaceable role in leading academic innovation. It has adhered to taking the popularization of science as a basis and given full play to its indispensable role in the improvement of public science literacy. It has taken the scientific and technological decision-making consultation as an important responsibility, and gives full play to the role of a scientific and technological think tank. It insists on taking non-governmental international scientific and technological exchanges and cooperation as an important task, and gives full play to its unique and irreplaceable role. In the course of China’s development from advancing to science to welcoming the rapid development of science, from the strategy of “rejuvenating the country through science and education” and “strengthening the country with talents” to building an innovative country and a world leader in science and technology, CAST has always been active in uniting and leading all scientific and technological workers in their joint struggle, and has constantly made contributions to national development, people’s wellbeing and scientific and technological innovation.
Since the beginning of the 21st century, the global scientific and technological innovation has become unprecedentedly vibrant. A new round of scientific and technological revolution and industrial transformation is reshaping the global innovation landscape and the global economic structure, and accelerating the development of multi-polarization in the world. Science and technology have never exerted such a profound impact on the future of a country as well as the wellbeing of the people as they do today. To be strong and achieve rejuvenation, China must vigorously develop science and technology and strive to become the world’s major scientific center and innovation highland. In recent years, especially since the 18th CPC National Congress, China’s scientific and technological undertakings have made intensive efforts and accelerated development, realizing historic, comprehensive and significant achievements. China is now closer to the goal of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation than at any time in history, and needs to build a world leader in science and technology more than any time. However, we are also soberly aware that, compared with the world’s scientific and technological powers, China still faces prominent problems. Its basic scientific research remains weak, and it still lacks major original and disruptive technological achievements in scientific and technological innovation. Its efforts to contrive scientific and technological opening and cooperation from a global perspective remain insufficient, and its transformation ability of scientific and technological achievements is not strong. The system and mechanism of talent development are not perfect, the incentive mechanism to stimulate talent innovation and creativity still needs to be improved, and top talents and teams are lacking. The integration of science and technology innovation policy with economic and industrial policies, and the integrated development between science and technology & economy, science and technology &society, science & technology innovation and science popularization are not enough. The scientific evaluation orientation is deviated; the publicity of scientific spirit is insufficient, and the mechanism and environment for the whole society to encourage innovation and tolerate innovation shall be optimized. Meanwhile, in view of their new mission in building China into a world leader in science and technology, associations for science and technology are more like administrative organs, deviating from the demand of scientific and technological workers. Their contact with scientific and technological workers is not close and tight enough, and they fail to properly play their role in political guidance and incorporation and bridging scientific and technological workers. The cohesion is not strong, the organization is loose, and grassroots associations are not equipped with sufficient authorized personnel, funds, office space and staff. There are also some other outstanding problems, such as insufficient organizational vitality, weak professional service ability, weak innovation leading ability, and insufficient organization “connection” function.
The direction of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era has been clearly defined, and the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation is on the way. The pressing situations, challenges and missions require associations for science and technology to grasp the general trend; seize the opportunities and flourish the science culture; start a new journey of shaping the spirit of scientists and build a new, flexible platform for uniting leading talents in scientific and technological innovation; nurture a new ecology that empower scientific and technological innovators with wisdom; expand a new channel to forge ahead towards the center of the world stage of science and technology, and build CAST into a spiritual home, a home of values, and a home of development that inspire scientific and technological workers to unite together to make contributions to the nation with hard work, and a place for scientists committed to excellence, devotion and innovation to fulfill their dreams and achieve success. We will further create a scientific and cultural atmosphere of advocating science, respecting knowledge and talents, encouraging creativity and promoting the spirit of self-discipline, devoting to research and being indifferent to fame and fortune, and strive to build China into a world leader in science and technology and a strong, modern socialist country in an all-round way.