Shanghai claims record number of science and tech awards

Ke Jiayun
Shanghai scientific institutes and individuals received 58 national science and technology awards, for the first time exceeding 20% of the total number of awards given.
Ke Jiayun

Shanghai scientific institutes and individuals received 58 national science and technology awards, the top science award in China, for the year 2017 at the National Science and Technology award ceremony held in Beijing this morning.

It's the first time that the proportion of awards heading to Shanghai exceeds 20 percent of the total number, the Shanghai Science and Technology Commission said.

According to the data it compiled, the awards won by Shanghai last year was six more than the year 2016, covering the natural sciences award, technical invention award, science and technology progress award, and the international science and technological cooperation award.

The institutes affiliated to the Shanghai branch of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) received seven of the Natural Sciences awards and Technical Invention awards, one first prize and six second prizes.

The project that received first prize for Natural Sciences is a rice variety designing project in which three institutes — the Center for Excellence in Molecular Plant Sciences, Shanghai Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology and CAS — joined forces. 

Combining genetics, molecular biology and genomics, it studies the molecular mechanism of ideal, high-yielding rice varieties and works on breeding rice based on their findings. The results may have the possibility to tackle problems like starvation.

Another Technical Invention second prize project was led by Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica researcher Yang Yushe, who presented his new medicine, Antofloxacin Hydrochloride. 

The medicine, with almost no phototoxicity and much less cardiotoxicity than similar medicines, helps to treat various diseases related to bacterial infection. It's China's first new medicine with independent intellectual property rights since 1993.

The clinical research found that the efficacy of this medicine reached 98.8 percent, with only 1.2 percent of patients showing side effects in IV phase clinical trials, much lower than its counterparts. By the end of 2016, the medicine had entered 150 hospitals and medical institutions in 22 provinces and municipalities and was included in the medical insurance medicine list in more than ten of these areas.

Hu Lili and her team from the Shanghai Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics also won a second prize for Technical Invention with their mass production technology of neodymium doped laser glass.

Neodymium-doped phosphate glass is a special glass that is used in high powered laser devices. Hu's technology helps lift the yearly average production of large-size, high-performance neodymium doped laser glass nearly ten times — from 150 to 1,200 pieces. The mass-produced N31 laser glass is already in use at China Shenguang laser facilities and the Shanghai Superintense-Ultrafast Lasers Facility.

The other three projects conducted by local CAS teams who won prizes are led by Dong Shaoming and Huang Fuqiang, both from Shanghai Institute of Ceramics, and You Shuli from Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry. They worked on space remote sensing facility production technology, solar energy photoelectric material, and aromatic compounds.

Fudan University and East China Electric Power Design Institute respectively participated in an infectious disease prevention and treatment project and a super high voltage direct current project, which are two of the three special prize winners of the National Science and Technology Progress Award.

The SINOPEC Shanghai Research Institute of Petrochemical Technology received first prize with its S-MTO technology using methanol — a kind of bulk raw material — to produce alkene, an unsaturated hydrocarbon often used in the chemicals industry. Its yield of alkenes was significantly improved with the new technology.

American professor Polichronis-Thomas Spanos offered support in the establishment of Tongji University's international research center of stochastic mechanics, and Yang Shi, a Chinese American Harvard Medical School professor, helped in the founding of Fudan University's Institute of Biomedical Sciences and its epigenetics research center. They shared the International Science and Technological Cooperation award with five other expats.

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