On 20 March 2019, the Shanghai People’s Government released the Opinions on Further Deepening Sci-Tech Institutional Reforms to Strengthen the Sustainability of Shanghai’s Sci-Tech Development. These consist of a set of measures that the local administration plans to implement over the medium-long period in order to support the establishment of Shanghai as a globally-leading hub for science, technology and innovation, and specifically to reach the following goals:
- By 2020: R&D expenditure should account to over 4% of the total city’s revenue in key industries and sectors, with the proportion of basic research increasing steadily. The capacities and level of innovation governance should increase significantly, leading Shanghai to play a major key role in the global innovation network.
- By 2035: Shanghai should be home to a batch of world-leading R&D structures, innovation platforms and enterprises, which should generate a series of original scientific results. By then, Shanghai should have become an key hub of the global innovation network.
The Opinions consist of 25 specific measures grouped into six main areas:
- Boosting the innovation development of local actors – regardless of their nature: universities, research institutes and medical structures will be granted more autonomy when hiring of human resources, deciding salaries and remunerations, launching research projects, and procuring equipment. Enterprises, especially high-tech ones, will be increasingly supported to implement government-funded projects, and at least 30% of annual government procurement budget will be dedicated to micro, small and medium-sized tech enterprises.
- Stimulating the vitality of sci-tech innovation talents: in addition to larger support to young talents, the local administration will make additional efforts to increase the proportion of foreign talents, students and entrepreneurs (as well as returnees) working, studying or starting a business in Shanghai, also by allowing them to hold director positions in local universities, research structures and enterprises, or (those with permanent residence permits) to be legal representatives of R&D centres and PIs of major government projects.
- Promoting the transfer and conversion of technology results: a pilot reform to allow scientific researchers to own IP rights or utilisation rights will be launched, together with a system granting cash or equity compensations to researchers selling or transferring their results.
- Reforming and optimising the management of scientific research: including establishing more solid and frequent communication channels with the local academic, industry and finance sci-tech community, increasingly involving them in each major decision. Project application guidelines for government S&T projects will be formulated following active consultations with local stakeholders.
- Integrating into global innovation networks: local entities will be actively supported to establish overseas R&D centres, and to lead or participate in major international sci-tech projects especially in biosciences, environment, physics and information sciences. Foreign investors will be supported to establish laboratories, R&D centres, innovation centres, enterprise technology centres and post doc stations in Shanghai, or to upgrade their current facilities in Shanghai into regional or global ones, not only through preferential policies (in terms of tax and subsidies) but also by involving them in the implementation of government-funded projects.
- Pushing forward the creation of an innovation culture: particularly by continuing to organise major international sci-tech innovation events – such as the China International Import Expo, the Pujiang Innovation Forum, the World AI Conference, etc. – and by shaping a favourable environment especially in terms of IPR protection and dispute settlement.