China is keen to develop its prowess in cutting-edge research and development in sectors such as drug development, nanotechnology and agricultural biotechnology.
Last month, the government unveiled a 15-year science plan and a massive cash boost that could change the country's scientific landscape beyond recognition.
Research funding will rise from 236 billion yuan (US$30 billion) in 2005 to 900 billion yuan (US$113 billion) in 2020 (see China unveils plans for science-based development).
In this article, Hao Xin and Gong Yidong report on the long-awaited plan, which took three years and US$10 million to complete.
Critics point to the plan's emphasis on big projects, saying the need for consensus among many scientists will stifle innovation and invite poor accountability.
Others say the plan's narrow focus on fields considered important now could make it harder to change its course in the future.