Science and technology have always played a role in driving society forward. Nations have contributed various innovations to mankind throughout history. Historically, China offered the world the Four Great Inventions, the compass, gunpowder, paper-making, and printing. China’s dominance in technology waned for centuries; however, along with China’s current growing presence on the world stage, its scientific endeavours have also grown in prominence. China invests more into research and development relative to the European Union, and produces more research publications than any other country besides the United States. Many of the nation’s scientific endeavours have made international news, ranging from the Fast radio telescope to implementation of CRISPR edited white blood cells in cancer patients. Historically a scientific powerhouse, China is on track to reclaiming its edge on scientific innovation.
However, China’s emergence into to global scientific community is not without fault. China notably lacks international cooperation and pressure for scientists to publish has lowered the quality of published material in certain cases. Researchers in China lack certain tools researchers in other countries take for granted, such as Google Scholar. While China’s president, Xi Jinping, has called for freedom for scientists to research their own topics, it is yet to be seen whether the Chinese government’s favour towards translational research eases back to allow researchers greater flexibility. While China’s increased scientific capabilities certainly grants greater research to be conducted inside the country, enhanced international cooperation may enable it to utilize global talent in addition to its own.
Enhanced international cooperation may prove beneficial to China as it seeks to become a leader in the scientific community. From an international relations perspective, international scientific collaboration has historically been proven to strengthen ties between countries as seen in the European Union. Furthermore, international cooperation enables scientist to access technology and data not available in their own country, allowing nations to strategically invest scientific funding. Prominent Chinese scientists are calling for expanded international cooperation. For instance, Professor Wang Yifang, director of the Institute of High Energy Physics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, stated, “I think for all the disciplines, international collaboration is always very important,” and “If they are less open to an international community, I think they have less chance to be the leader.” International scientific cooperation offers many possibilities to China, however, China must look inward and determine whether the State wants to offer its scientists the independence and freedom to do so.
CLS Digest 2017
Find here selected essays from the Duke-UNC CLS 2017 applications written by delegates!