Chinese Academy of Sciences

The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS; Chinese: 中国科学院), with historical origins in the Academia Sinica during the Republican era and formerly also known by that name, is the national academy for the natural sciences of the People's Republic of China (PRC). Collectively known as the "Two Academies (两院)" along with the Chinese Academy of Engineering, it is an institution of China, functioning as the national scientific think tank and academic governing body, providing advisory and appraisal services on issues stemming from the national economy, social development, and science and technology progress. It is headquartered in Xicheng District, Beijing,[1] with branch institutes all over mainland China. It has also created hundreds of commercial enterprises, Lenovo being one of the most famous.

It is the world's largest research organisation, comprising around 60,000 researchers working in 114 institutes,[2][3] and has been consistently ranked among the top research organisations around the world.[4][5][6]

The Chinese Academy of Sciences was ranked the No. 1 research institute in the world by Nature Publishing Index 2017, by Nature Publishing Group.[7]

Chinese Academy of Sciences
CAS logo 2
Agency overview
Agency executive
Parent agencyState Council of China
Chinese Academy of Sciences
Simplified Chinese中国科学院
Traditional Chinese中國科學院
Standard Mandarin
Hanyu PinyinZhōngguó Kēxuéyuàn
Wade–GilesChungkuo K'ehsüehyüan
Yale RomanizationJung1 gwo2 ke1 swye2 ywan4
Yue: Cantonese
JyutpingZung1 gwok3 fo1 hok6 jyun2


The Chinese Academy originated in the Academia Sinica founded, in 1928, by the Guomindang Nationalist Government. After the Communist Party took control of mainland China, the Academia Sinica was renamed Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

The Chinese Academy of Sciences has six academic divisions:

The CAS has thirteen regional branches, in Beijing, Shenyang, Changchun, Shanghai, Nanjing, Wuhan, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Kunming, Xi'an, Lanzhou, Hefei and Xinjiang. It has over one hundred institutes and two universities (the University of Science and Technology of China at Hefei, Anhui and the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing). Backed by the institutes of CAS, UCAS is headquartered in Beijing, with graduate education bases in Shanghai, Chengdu, [Wuhan, Guangzhou and Lanzhou, four Science Libraries of Chinese Academy of Sciences, three technology support centers and two news and publishing units. These CAS branches and offices are located in 20 provinces and municipalities throughout China. CAS has invested in or created over 430 science- and technology-based enterprises in eleven industries including eight companies listed on stock exchanges.

Being granted a Fellowship of the Academy represents the highest level of national honor for Chinese scientists. The CAS membership system includes Academicians (院士), Emeritus Academicians (荣誉院士) and Foreign Academicians (外籍院士).

Research reputation and ranking

Based on the number of papers published in Nature and/or other research journals published by the Nature Publishing Group (NPG), the Chinese Academy of Science has ranked 1st among research institutions in the world according to the Nature Publishing Index elaborated by NPG in 2014 [4] and 2015.[5]

List of presidents

Academy members

Membership of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (also known by the title Academician (CAS), Chinese: 中国科学院院士) is a lifelong honour given to Chinese scientists who have made significant achievements in various fields. According to Bylaws for Members of the Chinese Academy of Sciences adopted in 1992 and recently amended in 2014, it is the highest academic title in China. A formal CAS member must hold Chinese citizenship, although foreigners can be elected as foreign members of CAS. Members older than 80 are designated as "senior members", and may no longer hold leading positions in the organization.[8] Academicians of the Chinese Academy of Sciences carry an obligation to advance science and technology, to advocate and uphold scientific spirit, to develop a scientific and technological workforce, to attend member meetings and receive consultation and evaluation tasks, and to promote international exchanges and cooperation. Academicians can give suggestions and influence Chinese state policy related to science and technology.[9]



Chinese Academy of Sciences headquarters (20170613183619)
Chinese Academy of Sciences headquarters

In 2015, the Academy employed a staff of 60,000 and counted 104 research institutes. It operates on a budget of roughly RMB 42 billion (circa US$6.8 billion), just under half of which comes from the government. The academy is struggling with a number of challenges. It is in direct competition with other Chinese institutions of learning for funding and talent. Underpaid scientists from the Academy have to apply constantly for grants to supplement their income, a widespread phenomenon in the entire research and higher education sector, which may have resulted in underperformance.[3]

Although the Chinese Academy of Sciences hosts the world's largest graduate school in terms of the number of postgraduate degrees awarded each year, which include 5,000 PhDs, the Academy has been finding it difficult in recent years to attract the best and brightest students. This has spurred the Academy to found two affiliated universities in Beijing and Shanghai, both of which opened their doors to a couple of hundred undergraduates in 2014.[3]

The Academy has seen its work duplicated on a large scale by its own institutes, which tend not to collaborate with each other. There is also a lack of interest among the Academy's scientists in seeking opportunities to apply their research to the economy, although this should not be its core mission.[3]

The Academy is also encumbered by the breadth of its mandate, which ranges from research, talent training, strategic high-tech development, commercialization of research results and local engagement to the provision of policy advice as a think tank and through its elite academicians; this makes it extremely difficult for the Academy to manage and evaluate institutes and individual scientists.[3]

Political context

Since 2013, China's political leadership has placed science, technology and innovation at the core of the reform of its economic system, as innovation can help not only with restructuring and transforming the economy but also with solving other challenges that China faces – from inclusive, harmonious and green development to an ageing society and the "middle income trap". New initiatives have been launched to reform the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the centrally financed national science and technology programmes, in order to increase China's chances of becoming an innovation-oriented, modern nation by 2020. This is the goal of the National Medium- and Long-Term plan for the Development of Science and Technology (2006–2020).[3]:32

Soon after being made General Secretary of the Communist Party of China and State President, Xi Jinping paid a visit to the Chinese Academy of Sciences in July 2013. General Secretary Xi urged the Academy to be 'a pioneer in four areas' (sige shuaixian): in leapfrogging to the frontier of scientific research, in enhancing the nation's innovative talent pool, in establishing the nation's high-level think tank in science and technology and in becoming a world-class research institution.[3]

Reclassification of the Academy's institutes

Since 2013, the Chinese Academy of Sciences has 'come under enormous pressure from the political leadership to produce visible achievements'. The loss of independence of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the successor to the Soviet Academy of Sciences on which the Chinese Academy of Sciences was modelled, in a top-down reform in 2013 sent a chilling signal: if the Chinese Academy of Sciences does not reform itself, others will. This realization prompted Academy President Bai Chunli to take advantage of Xi’s call for the Academy to become 'a pioneer in four areas' to propose a sweeping reform of the academy through a new Pioneering Action Initiative (shuaixian xingdong jihua). The aim of this initiative is to orient the academy towards the international frontier of science, major national demands and the battleground for the national economy by re-organizing existing institutes into four categories:[3]

  • centres of excellence (zhuoyue chuangxin zhongxin) focused on basic science, especially in those areas where China has a strong advantage;
  • innovation academies (chuangxin yanjiuyuan) targeting areas with underdeveloped commercial potential;
  • centres of big science (dakexue yanjiu zhongxin) built around large-scale facilities to promote domestic and international facilities to promote domestic and international collaboration; and
  • institutes with special characteristics (tese yanjiusuo) devoted to initiatives that foster local development and sustainability.

The reclassification of the Academy's institutes and their scientists was still under way in 2015. The Academy seems to be resting on its past achievements, with little consideration for whether this new initiative may be good for the nation or the Academy. This explains why some are sceptical about the necessity of maintaining such a gigantic organization, a model not found anywhere else in the world.[3]

Many of the goals that Academy President Bai Chunli proposed for the Pioneering Action Initiative are identical to those of his predecessor, Lu Yongxiang, through his own Knowledge Innovation Programme. There is no guarantee that these goals will be fulfilled through the reform undertaken in 2013. The Pioneering Action Initiative is pivoting institutions into a new matrix so as to boost collaboration within the Academy and concentrate on tackling key research questions. Implementation will be tough, though, since many institutes do not fit easily into any of the four categories defined above.[3]

Another worry is that the initiative may not necessarily encourage collaboration with scientists external to the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The danger is that the Academy may actually become even more hermetic and isolated than before. The timing of the reform may also complicate matters. The reform at the Academy coincides with the nationwide reform of public institutions (shiye danwei) launched in 2011.[3]

In general, the country's 1.26 million public institutions of education, research, culture and health care, which have more than 40 million employees, fall into two types. Institutes within the Chinese Academy of Sciences that fall into Type 1 are to be fully financed from the public purse and will be expected to fulfil only the tasks set by the state. Type II institutes of the Academy, on the other hand, will be allowed to supplement partial public funding with income earned through other activities, including through government procurement of their research projects, technology transfer and entrepreneurship.[3]

The reform will thus have implications both for the institutes and for individual scientists, in terms of the amount of stable funding they receive and the level of salaries, as well as the scope and importance of the executed projects. It is also likely that some institutes will be corporatized, as this is what has happened to China's application-oriented research institutes since 1999. Consequently, the Chinese Academy of Sciences will need to become a leaner institution, as the state may not always be willing or able to finance such a costly body.[3]

Previous reforms

The question of the Academy's place in China's national innovation system was first raised at the time of the Academy's inception, immediately after the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949. At the time, research and training were separated at universities and industrial research institutes focused on specific problems in their particular sectors. The academy contributed, in particular, to the success of China's strategic weapons programmes through a mission-oriented disciplinary development strategy.[3]

The high visibility of the Chinese Academy of Sciences attracted keen attention from the political leadership. In the mid-1980s, when China began reforming its science and technology system, the Academy was forced to adopt a 'one academy, two systems' approach. This strategy consisted in concentrating a small number of scientists on basic research and following the global trend in high technology, while encouraging the majority of its staff to engage in the commercialization of research results and projects of direct relevance to the economy. The overall quality of research suffered, as did the Academy's ability to tackle basic research.[3]

In 1998, the president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lu Yongxiang, initiated the Knowledge Innovation Programme to improve the academy's vitality. Initially, the Academy hoped to satisfy the Chinese leadership by making the staff of its institutes more nimble and mobile. The Academy's very existence was threatened, however, after it was downsized to compensate for the government's efforts to strengthen the research capability of universities and the national defence sector, the very sector that had historically absorbed Academy personnel or depended upon the Academy to take on major research projects.[3]

In reaction, the Academy not only reversed its early approach but even significantly expanded its reach. It established application-focused research institutes in new scientific disciplines and new cities and formed alliances with provincial and local governments and industries. The Suzhou Institute of Nanotech and Nanobionics is one such establishment; it was created jointly by the Academy and the Jiangsu provincial and Suzhou municipal governments in 2008. Some of these new institutes are not fully supported by the public purse; in order to survive, they have to compete with existing institutes and engage in activities that bear little relation to the Academy's mission as the national academy.[3]

Research institutes

Zhejiang Ningbo CAS NIMTE entrance
Main entrance to Ningbo Institute of Industrial Technology, CAS, in Ningbo, Zhejiang
Institute of Computing Technology Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing

Scientific integrity

On 26 February 2007, CAS published a Declaration of Scientific Ideology and set up a commission for scientific integrity to promote transparency, autonomy and accountability of scientific research in the country. The Ministry of Science and Technology had at the same time also initiated measures to address misconduct in state-funded programs.[12]


Science China
Standard abbreviations
Sci. China

Together with the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the academy publishes the peer-reviewed academic journal, Science China (also known as Science in China). Science China comprises seven series:[13]

  • A: Mathematics
  • B: Chemistry
  • C: Life Sciences
  • D: Earth Sciences
  • E: Technological Sciences
  • F: Information Sciences
  • G: Physics, Mechanics & Astronomy


Since 1999 the CAS has issued the annual State Preeminent Science and Technology Award, presented by the President of China to the recipient.[14]

See also



  1. ^ "Contact." Chinese Academy of Sciences. Retrieved on May 31, 2018. "Add: 52 Sanlihe Rd., Xicheng District, Beijing, China Postcode: 100864" - Address in Chinese: "地址:北京市三里河路52号 邮政编码:100864"
  2. ^ "Ten institutions that dominated science in 2015".
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Cao, Cong (2015). UNESCO Science Report (PDF). Paris: UNESCO. pp. 621–641. ISBN 978-92-3-100129-1.
  4. ^ a b "Nature Global Institutions Ranking, 2013–2014". Nature. 522 (7556): S34–S44. 2015. doi:10.1038/522S34a. ISSN 0028-0836.
  5. ^ a b "Nature Global Institutions Ranking, 2016 tables".
  6. ^ "Nature Index".
  7. ^ "2017 Tables: Institutions".
  8. ^ "中国科学院院士章程 [Bylaws for Members of the Chinese Academy of Sciences]". Chinese Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 16 September 2014.
  9. ^ "Obligations and Rights of a CAS Member". Academic Divisions of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 16 September 2014.
  10. ^ Cyranoski, David (January 24, 2018). "First monkeys cloned with technique that made Dolly the sheep". Nature. Nature. 553 (7689): 387–388. doi:10.1038/d41586-018-01027-z. ISSN 0028-0836. “This paper really marks the beginning of a new era for biomedical research,” says Xiong Zhi-Qi, a neuroscientist who studies brain disease at the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Neuroscience (ION) in Shanghai.
  11. ^ "Director's Introduction". Institute of Neuroscience. Retrieved January 25, 2018. As part of a major drive for excellence in basic research in the new millennium, the Chinese Academy of Sciences founded the Institute of Neuroscience (ION) on November 27, 1999.
  12. ^ "Reforming research in China". The Lancet. 369 (9565). 17 March 2007. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(07)60419-X.
  13. ^ "Science in China Press".
  14. ^ "China in Brief – Science and Technology – Awards". China Internet Information Center (State Council Information Office and the China International Publishing Group). Retrieved 21 November 2012.


External links

BPL (time service)

BPL is the call sign of the official long-wave time signal service of the People's Republic of China, operated by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, broadcasting on 100 kHz from CAS's National Time Service Center in Pucheng County, Shaanxi at 34°56′54″N 109°32′34″E, roughly 70 km northeast of Lintong, along with NTSC's short-wave time signal BPM on 2.5, 5.0, 10.0, and 15.0 MHz.

BPL broadcasts LORAN-C compatible format signal from 5:30 to 13:30 UTC, using an 800 kW transmitter covering a radius up to 3000 km.

Dark Matter Particle Explorer

The Dark Matter Particle Explorer, or DAMPE (also known as Wukong), is a Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) satellite which launched on 17 December 2015. The satellite was launched on a Long March 2D rocket from Launch Pad 603 at the LC-43 complex, also known as the South Launch Site, at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. It is China's first ever space observatory.

DAMPE is a space telescope used for the detection of high energy gamma rays, electrons and cosmic ray ions, to aid in the search for dark matter. It was designed to look for the indirect decay signal of a hypothetical dark matter candidate called weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs).The project is the result of a collaboration among research institutions and universities in Italy, Switzerland and China under the leadership of the Purple Mountain Observatory (PMO) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

Feng Duan

Feng Duan (Chinese: 冯端; June 11, 1923 -) is a physicist of China, an expert in solid-state physics. He is a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Fu Jiamo

JiaMo Fu (傅家谟, July, 1935 – June 11, 2015) was an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and professor of environmental and architectural engineering in Shanghai University. He wrote about recycling electronic waste.

Gu Binglin

Gu Binglin (Chinese: 顾秉林, born October 8, 1945 in Dehui, Jilin, China) is a Chinese physicist and material scientist. He is the 17th President of Tsinghua University and a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Hu Haichang

Hu Haichang (Chinese: 胡海昌; pinyin: Hú Hǎichāng; April 25, 1928 – February 21, 2011) was a Chinese mechanical and aerospace engineer. He was in charge of the early phase development for the Dong Fang Hong I, China's first artificial satellite. Hu was an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Jin Guozhang

Jin Guozhang (simplified Chinese: 金国章; traditional Chinese: 金國章; born 1927) is a Chinese pharmacologist, psychopathologist and educator. He is considered as a pioneer of modernizing traditional Chinese medicine.

Li Yinyuan

Li Yinyuan (Chinese: 李荫远; pinyin: Lǐ Yìnyuǎn; 22 June 1919 – 22 August 2016) was a Chinese physicist and an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

Li Zhensheng (geneticist)

Li Zhensheng (Chinese: 李振声; Pinyin: Lǐ Zhènshēng; born February 25, 1931) is a Chinese geneticist. He mainly focuses on genetics of wheat. He is also an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

List of members of the Chinese Academy of Sciences

At the Chinese Academy of Sciences, new members are elected biennially. Before 2014 only a maximum of 60 members could be inducted each time, but this restriction has since been removed by new bylaws. The candidates are nominated by current members or academic groups, although foreign members and senior members cannot nominate new candidates. Self nomination is also not allowed.

Available candidates are approved by presidiums of academic divisions. Elections are held by secret ballots, and about 20% of the candidates are elected.

The membership system has been criticized as highly bureaucratic. Academicians receive government benefits equivalent to those enjoyed by vice-ministerial level officials. Additionally, academicians can receive numerous subsidies from the local governments in addition to statutory subsidies. Their opinions may carry more weight, which sometimes leads to academic monopolization.As of September 2014, there are 738 living academicians across different divisions. 141 members constitute the Division of Mathematics and Physics, 126 in the Division of Chemistry, 136 in the Division of Life Sciences and Medicine, 122 in the Division of Earth Sciences, 86 in the Division of Information Technical Sciences, and 131 in the Division of Technological Sciences. 507 former members are deceased. 94% of the members are male, and 6% are female.

Liu Gaolian

Gaolian Liu (Chinese: 刘高联; pinyin: Líu Gāolián, born July, 1932) is a scientist of Engineering Thermal Physics and Hydrodynamics, a professor of Shanghai University, and an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

University of Science and Technology of China

The University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) is a national research university in Hefei, Anhui, China, under the direct leadership of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). It is a member of the C9 League, China's equivalent of the Ivy League. It is also a Chinese Ministry of Education Class A Double First Class University.

Founded in Beijing by the CAS in September 1958, it was moved to Hefei in the beginning of 1970 during the Cultural Revolution.USTC was founded with the mission of addressing urgent needs to improve China's economy, defense infrastructure, and science and technology education. Its core strength is scientific and technological research, and more recently has expanded into humanities and management with a strong scientific and engineering emphasis. USTC has 12 schools, 30 departments, the Special Class for the Gifted Young, the Experimental Class for Teaching Reform, Graduate Schools (Hefei, Shanghai, Suzhou), a Software School, a School of Network Education, and a School of Continuing Education. In 2012 the Institute of Advanced Technology, University of Science and Technology of China was founded.

University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences

The University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (UCAS) (Chinese: 中国科学院大学), is a higher education institution focusing on graduate education, under the direct leadership of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). The predecessor of UCAS was the Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (GUCAS) and the Graduate School of University of Science and Technology of China (USTC), which was founded in 1978 as the first graduate school in China by approval of the State Council. UCAS graduated the first doctoral student in science, first doctoral student in engineering, first female doctoral student and first student with double doctoral degrees in China. In 2014, UCAS began to recruit undergraduates. It is a Chinese Ministry of Education Double First Class Discipline University, with Double First Class status in certain disciplines.UCAS is ranked 189th in CWUR World University Rankings 2018-2019, which is No. 6 in China.

Xu Zhihong

Xu Zhihong (simplified Chinese: 许智宏; traditional Chinese: 許智宏, born 1942) is a botanist and former President of Peking University. He is a former Vice-President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Yang Fuyu

Yang Fuyu (Traditional Chinese: 楊福愉, Simplified Chinese: 杨福愉) (1927-), a Chinese biochemist and biophysicist, is the main founder of biomembrane study in China. He is the current chief of the National Laboratory of Biomacromolecules, Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Yuan Chengye

Yuan Chengye (Chinese: 袁承業; pinyin: Yuán Chéngyè; Wade–Giles: Yüan Ch'eng-yeh) was a Chinese organic chemist.

Yuan was born in Shangyu, Zhejiang province in 1924. Graduated from National College of Pharmacy (now China Pharmaceutical University) in 1948 and received Degree for Candidate for D.Sc from All-Union Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Moscow in 1955. He began to work at Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences after he returned to China. He led a research team for nuclear fuel extractants since 1958. In 1997, he was elected as an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He died on 9 January 2018.

Zhang Jie (scientist)

Zhang Jie (Chinese: 张杰; born January 31, 1958) served as the President of Shanghai Jiao Tong University from November 2006 until February 2017. He is a physicist and a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences since 2003. He was elected to the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina on March 28, 2007. He was elected as foreign associate of the US National Academy of Sciences in 2012.Zhang Jie was born in 1958. He received both his bachelor's degree and master's degree from Inner Mongolia University, China, and his Ph.D. degree from Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in 1988. From 1988 to 1998, he was a visiting scholar at the Max Planck Society in Germany and at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in the United Kingdom. In 1999, he returned to China and served as a research scientist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He was appointed head of Bureau of Fundamental Science at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2003. On November 27, 2006, Zhang Jie took place of the former President Xie Shengwu and became the new President of Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

Zhang Jie has published more than 100 papers, 15 of which were on Science, Physical Review Letters and other journals with an impact factor above 7.2. He has received numerous awards in his life.

Zhang Jie is a member of the Board of Trustees of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).Zhang Jie was an alternate member of the 17th CPC Central Committee, and an alternate member of the 18th Central Committee.

Zhang Zhongjun

Zhang Zhongjun (Chinese: 张仲俊; 1913–1995), also known as Tsun-Tsing Chang or T.T. Chang, was a Chinese electrical engineer and a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Zhou Guozhi

Zhou Guozhi (Chinese: 周国治; born March 1937) is a Chinese material scientist and physical chemist. He is an academician with the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), and a professor of material science and engineering in Shanghai University.

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