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State Science and Technology Commission

The State Science and Technology Commission, a ministeriallevel organ of the State Council, had responsibility for overseeing the work of civilian research institutes subordinate to the various industrial ministries, such as the Ministry of Electronics Industry and the Ministry of Coal Industry, or to provincial-level, prefectural, or municipal bureaus. More than 80 percent of China's 10,000 research institutes fell in this category, and their range of quality was considerable. Central planners and administrators considered the proliferation of low-quality research institutes a waste of scarce research funds, but as of mid-1987 they had not been able to overrule powerful ministries or local governments. Such institutes, which employed the majority of China's scientists and engineers, were expected to devote themselves to the application of science and to useful innovations and improvements to industrial processes and products. They had little direct contact with factories, and they reported their research results up the chain of command of their department or ministry, which was responsible for passing them on to factories. The scientists and engineers had little opportunity for interchanges with research institutes that were doing similar work but that were subordinate to a different ministry or commission.

The State Science and Technology Commission also has primary responsibility for coordinating science policy with the State's planning and budgeting operations working in coordination with the State Planning Commission, the State Economic Commission, and the Ministry of Finance. The importance of science and science policy was indicated by the high state and party rank of the ministers and vice ministers placed in charge of the State Science and Technology Commission. Provincial-level units, responsible for budgeting, planning, and coordinating across administrative hierarchies, had their own science and technology commissions. The demarcation between the responsibilities of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the State Science and Technology Commission in policy formulation and consultation was not entirely clear, and there was probably a certain degree of ambiguity and contention in their dealings with each other. The commission was apprised of the research being done at the academy institutes and approved the academy budget as a whole, but it could not direct the allocation of funds within the academy.

Data as of July 1987