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[BEIJING] Building and maintaining a developing country's capacity for innovation requires stronger science communication, not just more research funding, a senior Chinese science official has said.

Hu Qiheng, vice-president of the China Association for Science and Technology, made the comments at the 21st Century Forum for Sustainable Development, held in Beijing on 5-7 September.

Hu said science communication was particularly important in developing countries, such as China, which are latecomers to the world's economic and research arenas. This, she said, was because relying on increased investment alone to expand research is not sustainable given its high cost and the limited funds available.  

"Through effective science communication, limited research programmes can be enjoyed by as many people as possible, allowing the growth in spending to be curbed," said Hu, a former vice-president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Hu said that improving science communication required both highly creative talent and a system that encourages the free flow of scientific information. Governments must play a part in this, she added.

Hu has highlighted an important but often neglected aspect of science innovation, says Zhu Xiaoming, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences's Institute of Policy and Management.

"While science institutes have to spread science themselves, it is very important to also communicate science to the public in China through the media," says Zhu.

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