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January 10, 2017

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National awards for top scientists

TWO Chinese scientists, physicist Zhao Zhongxian and pharmacologist Tu Youyou, won the nation’s top science award yesterday for their outstanding contributions to scientific and technological innovation.

President Xi Jinping presented them with certificates and offered his congratulations at an annual ceremony held to honor distinguished scientists and research achievements.

Zhao is a leading scientist in the field of superconductivity, while Tu won the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for her discovery of artemisinin to treat malaria.

Addressing the ceremony for the State Scientific and Technological Awards, Premier Li Keqiang pledged better services and policies to boost reform and innovation in science and technology.

China will advance key projects in cutting-edge technology targeting future needs, improve infrastructure, enhance basic research and innovation, and establish mechanisms to support workers in the sector.

Scientific research institutions, universities and people taking the lead in innovation will be entitled to more power in doing their job, Li said.

Distribution policies must be better implemented to honor and reward innovators, he said, adding that the country is willing to offer opportunities for talented individuals from home or abroad to fulfill their ambitions in China.

Presiding over the ceremony, Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli called on those involved in science and technology to follow the example set by the prize winners and contribute to the country’s drive to become a major power in the sector.

The ceremony, attended by around 3,300 representatives from the Communist Party of China, state and military organs and science and technology circles, honored 279 projects, seven scientists and one international organization with national prizes.

The international cooperation prizes were awarded to five scientists from the United States, Germany and France, and the Mexico-headquartered International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center.

Shanghai excelled at the ceremony with 52 projects and scientists honored.

French scientist Jean-Raymond Abrial, who has been working with local scientists on system and software engineering, won the international science and technology cooperation award.

Shanghai-based chip designer Spreadtrum won in the technology progress category for its contribution to the development of TD-LTE (time division-long term evolution), the China-developed 4G standard for phones.

Tongji University was Shanghai’s biggest success story with seven programs developed by its staff winning one first prize and six seconds.

A team led by Tong Xiaohua, a professor at its College of Surveying and Geo-Informatics, won first prize for an invention that improves the accuracy of information collected by remote sensors, thus providing important support for aerospace projects, such as improving imaging quality of Chinese laser sensors for finding safe landing sites

“When satellites and other aerospace facilities are flying high in the space, they may have jitter vibration and face other challenges that will disturb them from taking precise images and data,” Tong said. “Our technology by image analysis can detect and estimate the influence of the disturbances, and thus improve geo-positioning accuracy of high-resolution images together with ground geometric calibration.”

The achievement came after 10 years of cooperation with the Shanghai Institute of Technical Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Development Research Center of the China Geological Survey.

Another team led by Zhu Hehua, a professor at Tongji’s College of Civil Engineering, won a second prize for developing a series of key technologies for underground construction in urban areas.

A major health award went to Dr Jing Zaiping of Changhai Hospital for his research into minimally invasive endovascular surgery. His work on aortic dissection and aneurysms made once fatal diseases treatable.


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