China has recently unveiled the first group of talents selected for an ambitious programme, which aims to financially support Chinese scientists’ bids for the Nobel Prize, while boosting innovation and development in both natural and social sciences.
The National Special Support Programme for High-level Talents, also dubbed the “Ten Thousand Talents Programme,” was launched in 2012. It will support 10,000 people in the fields of natural sciences, engineering, philosophy, social sciences and higher education over the next decade.
The programme has three tiers, including top 100 “outstanding talents” who have the potential to become world-class scientists and win the Nobel Prize. Another 8,000 “leading talents” will be pioneers needed in China’s scientific fields and 2,000 “young talents” who are under 35. The programme will help “outstanding talents” set up their own lab and provide financial assistance to their research. The 8,000 “leading talents” will receive 1 million yuan ($164,292) each for research, training and team building.
The plan has also aroused some controversy. One of shortlisted scientist Zhou Zhonghe from China Academy of Sciences says that he disagrees with the notion of selecting “people with the potential and chance at Nobel Prizes”. Zhou says China should encourage more people to explore science and support their efforts instead of grouping them into a category where one of them may win a Nobel Prize.