Strengthen Basic Research Imperative For Self Reliance In Sci & Tech

The ASPI discovered that for a select few fields, all of the top 10 research institutions worldwide are in China.

Strengthen Basic Research Imperative For Self Reliance In Sci & Tech

The independent think tank Australian Strategic Policy Institute, or ASPI, based in Canberra, claims that China has a “stunning lead” over the US in high-impact research across critical and emerging technologies.

The ASPI said in its report released on Thursday that China, the second-largest economy in the world, is outpacing the US in terms of its research into 37 of 44 crucial and emerging technologies across the defence, space, energy, and biotechnology sectors. This includes work on advanced aircraft engines, drones, and electric batteries. The study was financed in part by the US State Department.

The ASPI discovered that for a select few fields, all of the top 10 research institutions worldwide are in China, and they produce nine times as many high-impact research papers as the second-placed nation, which is frequently the US.

According to the ASPI, China has a particular advantage in technologies relating to defence and space. Western democracies are falling behind in the race for scientific and technological advances, according to the report, which was authored by senior analyst Jamie Gaida for the institute.

The ASPI claimed that President Xi Jinping’s administration and those that came before it “deliberately designed and long-term policy planning” to produce China’s lead. The report’s authors issued a warning that democratic countries might suffer as a result of China’s hegemony in certain strategic fields of research.

The lead could, in the short term, give China “a stranglehold on the global supply of certain critical technologies.” Long-term, according to the ASPI, China’s dominant position could help it succeed in nearly every industry, including technologies that don’t yet exist.

“Unchecked, this could shift not just technological development and control but also global power and influence to an authoritarian state where the development, testing, and application of emerging, critical, and military technologies are not open and transparent and where they cannot be inspected by independent civil society and media,” the think-tank warned.

The ASPI exhorts governments all over the world to work together and increase research spending in order to catch up to China.

It also suggested steps to prevent “illegal technology transfers” to China, like visa screening for visitors to research facilities, and advised governments to consider “narrow limits” on the movement of researchers who are experts in crucial fields.

The ASPI declared that hiring individuals to direct research programmes in, say, defence-relevant technologies in adversarial states presents a clear threat to a nation’s national security. It also stated that before any restrictions on movement are put in place, significant risks to national security must be identified and balanced against an individual’s right to freedom of movement.

At a planned press conference on Friday, Mao Ning, a spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry, asserted that China’s scientific and technological development contributes to global technological advancement.

An official transcript quotes Mao as saying, “We oppose hegemony in science, decoupling, and breaking of industrial and supply chains. The interests of the entire world are harmed by politicizing scientific and technological issues, using them as weapons in ideological conflict, and mending cliques.