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Top Talent Plan to boost basic research turns 15

By Zhao Yimeng | China Daily | Updated: 2024-07-11 09:04

More than 30,000 outstanding students have engaged in basic disciplines in China since a talent cultivation plan was launched in 2009 and many graduates have achieved major research breakthroughs, the Ministry of Education has said.

China has established 288 cultivation bases for the training of top students in basic disciplines at 77 premium research universities through the plan, ministry officials said at a meeting in Beijing on Tuesday marking the 15th year of the implementation of the plan.

The Top Talent Plan was launched by the ministry to attract the most outstanding students to engage in basic disciplines and help them grow into leading figures in their fields.

In 2018, six government departments jointly issued an opinion on implementing the Top Talent Plan 2.0, seeking to accelerate the cultivation of future natural, medical and social scientists, the ministry said.

China's ability to independently cultivate top talent has been significantly enhanced, and the plan has built a strong force in basic research, a ministry official said.

Among 17,000 undergraduates under the plan, 86 percent have pursued further education in basic disciplines, while 87 percent of doctoral graduates have engaged in basic research work at universities and research institutions.

Several graduates of the plan have made significant contributions in their fields, achieving important research breakthroughs, the ministry said.

In the field of chemistry, Cheng Yuhao, who was admitted by Nanjing University as an undergraduate in 2012, published a paper as the first author in Nature Communications journal, proposing a self-supplying oxygen photodynamic therapy, which significantly enhanced the effectiveness of traditional photodynamic drugs in treating cancer.

The plan has also contributed to building a high-caliber team of teachers. Over 1,600 top-tier scholars have delivered 52,000 hours of lectures a year at the bases for cultivating top talent since the plan was initiated.

It has also involved leading talent cultivation projects such as the "Yao Class", which was established by and named after world-renowned computer scientist Andrew Chi-Chih Yao in 2005 at Tsinghua University to nurture promising undergraduate students in computer science.

More efforts will be made to nurture outstanding talent in basic disciplines to meet new opportunities in technologies such as artificial intelligence, the official said.


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