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China to Boost Science Spending

The Chinese government is poised to increase science spending as part of its 13th five-year plan, ScienceInsider reports.

"Innovation is the primary driving force for development and must occupy a central place in China's development strategy," Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said in a speech at the opening of the two-week National People's Congress.

China's new plan calls for increasing spending on science this year by 9.1 percent to 271 billion yuans ($41 billion) and for R&D investment to reach 2.5 percent of the country's gross domestic product by 2020, ScienceInsider says.

According to Li, high-priority projects include neuroscience and genetic research, big data applications, and cloud computing along with deep-space exploration, cyber security, and gas turbine engines.

"We will implement the strategy of innovation-driven development, see that science and technology become more deeply embedded in the economy, and improve the overall quality and competitiveness of the real economy," Li said.

But some Chinese researchers are cautious. "The government always has big plans, but it's an uncertain time for the economy so we have to watch what happens next. Implementation is crucial," Wang Tao from the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy in Beijing tells ScienceInsider.

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