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People’s Daily rumors reveal the truth:Where has trillions of scientific research funds gone?

People’s Daily rumors reveal the truth:Where has trillions of scientific research funds gone?

“Not long ago, a report entitled “Where 60%of the trillions of scientific research funds used for meetings and business trips” stated:“In recent years, a number of scientific research units such as the Guangzhou Science and Technology and Information Bureau System have frequently been corrupted, leading to All parties have paid close attention to the investment of science and technology funds. In fact, in the past few years, only about 40%of the national research funding was actually used for scientific research and development, and 60%was used for meetings, business trips, etc.” Is this really the case? The reporter conducted an in-depth investigation a few days ago.

In financially supported research projects, conference fees and travel expenses generally do not exceed 10%of total expenditure
Regarding my country’s annual investment in science and technology, the National Bureau of Statistics, the Ministry of Science and Technology, and the Ministry of Finance each publish an annual statistical bulletin.

Take the”2014 National Science and Technology Expenditure Statistical Bulletin” as an example. The bulletin shows that in 2014, a total of 130.156 billion yuan was invested in research and experimental development in China, of which enterprises, government-owned research institutions, and colleges and universities accounted for 77.3%of the expenditure.%, 14.8%and 6.9%.

“That is to say, in this trillion yuan of funds, corporate expenditures accounted for more than 70%, and government financial support accounted for the small head.” Xie Xin, Deputy Inspector of the Department of Resource Allocation and Management of the Ministry of Science and Technology said.

So, what is the actual proportion of government-supported scientific research funding for meetings and business trips?

Statistics on the expenditure structure of major science and technology projects supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology’s Science and Technology Fund Supervision Service Center in the past three years (each type of science and technology program includes many specific scientific research topics) show that the largest expenditure is the cost of materials, accounting for nearly the total 30%of the expenditure; the sum of the conference and travel expenses generally does not exceed 10%of the total expenditure.

“According to our statistics, in 2012-2014 in the original”863″973″Science and Technology Support Plan” three major national science and technology plans in the research project expenditure situation, the top three are the material cost, equipment cost and testing Processing fee.” Liu Dongjin, deputy director of the Science and Technology Fund Supervision and Service Center of the Ministry of Science and Technology, told reporters that taking the support plan as an example, in the budget subject, the material cost ranked first, accounting for 28.1%of the total expenditure; followed by equipment cost expenditure , Accounting for 15.31%; testing and processing costs ranked third, accounting for 13.07%. However, the conference fees, which are highly concerned by the society, only account for 2.82%, and the travel expenses account for 8.53%.

“Because there are more units involved in the support plan, travel expenses will be slightly higher than those in other science and technology plans.” Liu Dongjin said that the Ministry of Science and Technology mainly supports scientific research projects in the natural sciences. Some projects require field operations and some projects need to go out. Inspection, so both conference and travel expenses are necessary and should not be considered wasteful.

Among the R&D projects supported by enterprises, the related statement of”60%” is even more untenable
Xie Xin believes that enterprises currently account for the bulk of my country’s research and experimental development funds, accounting for more than 76%. In other words, more than 76%of the trillions of dollars in funding is for companies to invest in R&D activities.
Xie Xin told reporters that there are generally two forms for companies to invest in R&D:one is for the company’s R&D personnel to do it themselves, and the other is for the research institute or university to do it.
Xie Xin said:”Enterprises use their own money to do scientific research, and they will be very concerned about the input-output ratio and the efficiency of the use of funds. Whether they are entrusted to others or do it themselves, how can they spend the ‘60%’ of money on business trips and meetings? ?”
In addition, Xie Xin said that there is another concept that needs to be clarified:from a larger perspective, the scientific research funding we cover includes two categories, one is natural science and the other is social science.
“The major expenditures in the natural sciences are mostly’hard expenditures’ such as material costs and equipment costs. For example, in the field of biotechnology, its large expenditures are the purchase of experimental materials and the development of testing and laboratory work. Therefore, it is not difficult to see In natural science research, it is impossible to spend 60%of research funding on meetings and travel. The meetings and travel in natural science research are mainly academic exchanges and field visits between research groups, The cost is generally very small.” Xie Xin said.

Where did the data for”60%” and”40%” come from?
Recently,”60%of scientific research funding is lost” has become a hotspot of public opinion. Then, where did the data like”60%” and”40%” come from?
By searching on the Internet, the reporter found that the earliest source was a report entitled”How many riches are born from scientific research funds” on August 31, 2011. It is mentioned in the article,”A survey by the China Association for Science and Technology gave more intuitive data:scientific research funds only accounted for about 40%of the project itself, and a large amount of research funding was lost outside the project.”
After this report was published, it caused great repercussions and was reprinted by many media. Although the China Association for Science and Technology solemnly stated at the time that this was an”unreported report,” the”40%” claim was still being quoted and mentioned in the following years.

So, what is the”investigation” of the China Association for Science and Technology?
The reporter went to the Chinese Association for Science and Technology to verify. Luo Hui, president of the China Academy of Science and Technology Innovation Strategy Institute, told reporters that the report’s interpretation of this set of data is seriously untrue. On September 8, 2011, the China Association for Science and Technology made a public statement to clarify the false report.

Luo Hui said that in accordance with relevant regulations, research funding is divided into direct and indirect funding. Among them, direct funds refer to funds directly used for scientific research projects, including equipment, travel, consulting, labor services and other expenses, and indirect funds refer to funds used indirectly for scientific research projects, such as depreciation and use allowances for buildings and equipment and equipment Expenses such as renovation costs, management costs, and exception costs.

The Chinese Association for Science and Technology organized the first national survey of the status of science and technology workers in 2003, and published the National Survey Report on the Status of Science and Technology Workers in 2004. The report stated in the section”Proportion of funds directly used for scientific research projects”, the original text reads:”The survey results show that the proportion of funds used for the project itself is about 40%nationwide.””.

“Used in the project itself refers to the part of direct funding, excluding indirect funding, and there is no so-called”scientific research funding loss” statement. The above report does not clarify the composition of scientific research funding, and other costs other than direct costs are regarded as scientific research funding Lost, and came to the conclusion that”a large amount of scientific research funds are lost outside the project.” Afterwards, some media reproduced and quoted in the absence of investigations, to a certain extent, misleading the public’s understanding of the use of scientific research funds in China.”

Luo Hui said that from an international perspective, the funds directly used for scientific research projects account for about 40%, which is generally in line with the actual situation of scientific research funds. In particular, universities and research institutions with high-level scientific research infrastructure have a relatively higher proportion of indirect funding. Of course, different projects have different characteristics, and this ratio may change to a certain extent. A specific ratio is also difficult to be a standard for measuring the reasonable use of funds for a scientific research project.

“Some recent reports further extend that they directly say that 60%is used for business trips and meetings. The lack of data foundation and factual basis lies in the fact that we do not have a good understanding of the use of scientific research funds in China. This point is necessary for us to spread to the society.” Xie Xin said .

Illegal use of funds is a case and should be dealt with seriously, but should not

An untrue report five years ago continues to ferment until now, which also reflects that all sectors of society expect more innovative results from scientific research and are very concerned about the use of funds. So, how do relevant departments strengthen supervision of funds? How to deal with the violation of rules and disciplines?

“There are currently two ways to strengthen fund supervision, one is to cover all topics of financial acceptance and audit work, which is also necessary to complete all projects; the other is to select projects for random inspections and special audits Work.” Jin Xiaojuan, deputy director of the Science and Technology Fund Supervision Center of the Ministry of Science and Technology, told reporters.

According to her, since the”Twelfth Five-Year Plan”, the Ministry of Science and Technology has conducted financial audits and financial acceptances on 12,492 completed topics, and has selected more than 200 accounting firms nationwide to undertake scientific research funding audits and implemented closed topics. 100%coverage of project financial audit and acceptance.

Relevant units have seriously rectified and dealt with the problems found in the audit. While strengthening the responsibility of the scientific research project to assume the responsibility of the unit’s legal person, financial acceptance is regarded as the key link in the conclusion of the project, and the”one-vote veto” system is implemented.

“The inspection work focuses on finding problems. Whether it is a train ticket as small as a hundred yuan, or as much as a million yuan in equipment costs, financial experts will carefully check.” A person in charge of an accounting firm told reporters to prevent fraud The financial experts of the inspection team only informed the inspected unit and specific spot-checking items on the day of spot-checking.
“At the same time, we have also strengthened the connection between the various tasks of supervision and inspection, and conducted’key verification’ of some problem clues.” Liu Dongjin said that through strict supervision and inspection, the use of scientific research funds in violation of regulations will be in accordance with”zero tolerance””Principle is taken seriously.

“Finally, it should be noted that, because there are cases of illegal use of funds, the scientific and technical personnel of the whole country should be blackened by partiality.” Liu Dongjin said.
Source of this article:People’s Daily, Invasion

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