China will focus on using science and innovation to boost the national economy and improve people's livelihoods in 2018, a senior official said on Tuesday.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up, and is a crucial year for reaching the goal of building a moderately prosperous society by 2020, said Wan Gang, minister of science and technology.
"China will strengthen its scientific research and innovation capabilities this year and turn research into products to help boost the economy," he said.
"At the same time, we will find more scientific solutions to important social issues, such as poverty relief, pollution control, disaster prediction, health and city management, so that more people can benefit from the fruits of China's scientific development."
For poverty alleviation, the country will focus on upgrading farms with new technologies and advanced breeding methods. It will also combine the modern food-processing industry, smart agriculture and big data to facilitate the growth of new, innovative firms and the commercialization of agricultural research, Wan said.
At the same time, villages and townships will install modern management tools to help officials govern more effectively. More workers in scientific fields will visit rural regions to promote science education and services.
For ecological protection, China will focus on combating smog by creating a regional joint surveillance and control system for air pollution.
"The number of days with smog in Beijing this winter has declined significantly compared with previous years thanks to human efforts and favorable weather conditions," Wan said. "However, the battle for a blue sky is still a very tough challenge and requires great effort from all facets of society."
China also will create protection zones in environmentally fragile areas, test new water conservation methods in pilot cities, properly manage mineral resources, and dispose of waste using more scientific methods, he said.
For public health, China will expand its research into cancer, cardiovascular diseases and other illnesses.
More Chinese hospitals will be equipped with domestically made, high-end medical equipment, from surgical robots to computed tomography, or CT, scanners.
As for public services, the country aims to become a smart society by integrating new technologies into city management, social security, law and other public services. It also will improve its natural disaster warning and response protocols, and build an online food safety monitoring platform.
Wan said China will press forward with 10 major high-tech projects with the aim of completing them by 2030.
These projects are aircraft engines, national internet security, deep-space exploration, clean coal, a smart grid, integrated information networks, big data, smart manufacturing and robotics, advanced materials, and artificial intelligence.
"Many of these cutting-edge fields are closely related to the nation's security and long-term prosperity," Wan said.