context: The state launched sci-tech funding reforms in 2014 to improve returns on investment. The thrust of reforms is a new category of national key R&D projects (NKP), which integrates a number of ministerial, provincial and local funds under central supervision, with management measures to ensure their transparency and academic independence.

Ministry of Finance (MoF) has earmarked 1 bn for six new NKPs, reports Xinhua. This brings the total number of NKPs to 68, up from 46 in 2016. MoF budgeted 45 bn for all NKPs, says the report.

So far Ministry of Sci-Tech (MoST) has issued calls for research proposals for 55 NKPs in 2018, reports Ruidongwang, a website on sci-tech funding run by Sci-Tech Daily.

Note: the table below shows a total budget of 15.96 bn for 44 projects, much lower than could be expected on the basis of the overall number of 45 bn for 68 projects. Similar to October 2017 numbers, they suggest a budget cut of over 20 percent per project compared to 2017 numbers, possibly to compensate for a 48 percent rise in the total number of NKPs.

NKP proposals wanted total budget (millions ) stage
new energy vehicles 24-48 900 initial evaluation
strategic advance electronic materials 12-24 177 initial evaluation
high performance computing 5-10 50 initial evaluation
earth observation and navigation 13-26 586 initial evaluation
clean and efficient coal use and energy-saving technology 20-40 423 initial evaluation
cloud computing and big data 20-40 625 initial evaluation
additive and laser manufacturing 30-60 700 initial evaluation
advanced rail transportation 2-4 113 initial evaluation
material base engineering key technology and support platforms 11-22 220 open for applications
cyberspace security 6-12 153 open for applications
smart grid technology and equipment 19-38 463 open for applications
stem cell and conversion research pilots 8 630 initial evaluation
quantum control and information 5 300 initial evaluation
nano sci-tech 7 220 initial evaluation
protein machines and life process regulation 11 310 initial evaluation
large sci-tech equipment 7 314 initial evaluation
global change and responses 5 210 initial evaluation
national basic quality measurement tech 10-20 400 initial evaluation
chemical fertilisers and pesticide reduction 15-30 688 initial evaluation
increasing food production 13-26 411 initial evaluation
agricultural land supply and heavy metal soil pollution prevention and remediation 9-18 130 initial evaluation
seven key agricultural crops 10-20 183 initial evaluation
modern food processing and food storage and transport technology and equipment 12-24 256 initial evaluation
prevention and control of major diseases of livestock and poultry and efficient and safe breeding 20-40 266 initial evaluation
forestry resource cultivation and efficient use 4-8 99 initial evaluation
smart agricultural equipment 11-22 123 initial evaluation
cause and control of air pollution 15 300 initial evaluation
efficient use of water resources 20 320 initial evaluation
restoring and protecting typical and fragile ecologies 7 65 initial evaluation
deep resources exploration and exploitation 14 480 initial evaluation
deep sea key technology and equipment 40 600 initial evaluation
ocean environment security 21 370 initial evaluation
public safety risk prevention and emergency technology and equipment 37 100 initial evaluation
green buildings and building industrialisation 18 320 initial evaluation
biosafety 5 125 initial evaluation
biomedical materials, replacement tissue and organ repair 19 300 initial evaluation
digital diagnosis and treatment 24 230 initial evaluation
prevention and control of major chronic noncommunicable disease 36 450 initial evaluation
prevention and control of reproductive health and major birth defects 4 90 initial evaluation
precision medicine 6 130 initial evaluation
natural disaster monitoring, early warning and prevention 65 1200 call for comment
solid waste recycling 40 950 call for comment
on-site soil pollution causes and treatment 35 matching local government support call for comment
modernisation of traditional Chinese medicine 75 600 call for comment
‘ocean granary’ 20-40 call for comment
key economic crops 33-66 call for comment
developmental programming and its metabolic regulation call for comment
synthetic biology call for comment
food safety key technology 24-48 call for comment
Renewable energy and hydrogen energy call for comment
Nuclear safety and advanced nuclear technology call for comment
Comprehensive transportation and smart transportation call for comment
Manufacturing infrastructure and key components call for comment
Modern services key public technology 23 375 call for comment