Shanghai shares scientific research infrastructure

Li Qian
China's massive Tianma telescope is expected to become the latest piece of major equipment open for access to the global science community.
Li Qian

China's Tianma telescope is expected to open to the world, according to an international forum on science now being held in Shanghai.

The Group of Senior Officials (GSO) on global research infrastructures was initiated in 2008 at the first G8 Science Ministers’ meeting to promote transnational access to global research infrastructures. Members include G7 countries, BRICS countries, Australia, Mexico and the European Commission.

The GSO 14 forum kicked off in Shanghai on Monday and will last to Wednesday. Officials and experts discussed the further opening of global research infrastructure. This is the first time the event is being held in Asia.

The Tianma Telescope is expected to be listed as China’s open and shared research infrastructure for GSO and BRICS countries, Zhang Quan, director of Shanghai Science and Technology Commission, said at the forum.

Tianma, which is as large as eight basketball courts, with a diameter of 65 meters and a height of 70 meters, stands at the foot of Sheshan Hill in Songjiang District. It now ranks No. 1 in Asia and No. 3 in the world in terms of overall performance.

Li Jiahong, deputy director of the National Science and Technology Infrastructure Center, said: “The forum offers specific standards in building mega science infrastructure and thus China’s big science facilities were designed as shared international platforms.”

“Openness and sharing, embracing the world, has always been a characteristic of Shanghai. The same goes for the city’s scientific community too. We’re willing to share Shanghai's scientific facilities and various innovation resources with research institutions and scientists worldwide,” Zhang said.

“In recent years, we have increased the layout and construction of a number of major scientific infrastructures, focusing on fields like photonics, life sciences and integrated circuits, which laid a solid foundation for Shanghai to accelerate the construction of an innovation hub,” he said.

A comprehensive and functional photon science facilities cluster has taken shape in Zhangjiang, Zhang said.

In the field of life science, the National Facility for Protein Science in Shanghai, National Research Center for Translational Medicine (Shanghai), and Living Cell Structure and Function Imaging Line Station have been put into use.

By the end of October 2019, the Protein (Shanghai) facility has served more than 980 research groups from 240 institutions, providing more than 560,000 hours of machine time for users, who, in return, made major breakthroughs in cutting-edge research fields.

“Those scientific research facilities are not for domestic users only, but also for the entire scientific communities globally,” Zhang said.

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