In a speech at the opening session of the annual National People’s Congress, China’s Premier, Wen Jiabao, lauded science and technology as key drivers of economic growth and individual prosperity, and backed up the rhetoric with hard cash. This year, central-government expenditure on science and technology is set to rise to 228.5 billion renminbi (US$36.1 billion), a 12.4% increase on last year’s spending, which slightly trails the country’s overall projected budget increase of 13.7%. Of that science budget, 32.5 billion renminbi will go towards basic research, a 10.1% increase on the 29.5 billion renminbi spent in 2011. Wen also stressed the government’s continuing commitment to improving agriculture, promising an additional 10.1 billion renminbi — a 53% rise on last year — for developing new agricultural technologies and modernizing China’s seed industry. Further details of funding allocations will emerge in the coming months, but sources close to government say that other areas likely to receive increased support include information technology, drug discovery, regenerative medicine, renewable energy and the exploitation of mineral and fuel resources.
In 2009, it overtook Japan to become the world’s second-largest investor in R and D after the United States.
2. Vladimir Putin has promised to pump funding into basic science and innovation as part of his plan to modernize and diversify Russia’s stagnating economy, which is heavily dependent on energy exports
Russian science is undergoing a crisis that runs deeper than money: the country’s publication output has declined in the past decade despite a slight recovery of the still-meagre public science budgets. More than 20 years after the end of the Soviet Union, Russia’s large research community is fundamentally divided over how it would like the domestic science funding system to operate.