Jun 22, 2018 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

As China looks to continue its path towards technological innovation, it will invest about $17.2 billion by 2020 to assist the nation's top 42 universities in becoming world-class institutions. They'll also create 137 universities with first-class rankings in specific fields.

According to China Today, at the 20th annual meeting of the China Association of Science and Technology in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, which opened last month, Wan Gang, the association's president, said that China needs to become "self-sufficient in the core technologies of advanced scientific fields, including space, telecommunications, medical equipment, and robotics."

Wan said, "Without a strong ability to innovate, our industries are stuck producing mid-to low-tier products." He added, "This is a hurdle that we must overcome if China wants to become an innovative nation and a world-class science and technology powerhouse."

Minister of Science and Technology Wang Zhigang said China wants and needs to focus on building talent in burgeoning technology that can lead to industrial and economic growth. 

Wang explained that China has four main challenges: solving key problems in core technologies; a lack of research direction in frontier sciences; a lack of mechanisms to organize innovation resources from companies and the public sector; and a lack of globally influential industrial standards set by China.

Wang added that the multi-billion dollar investment will help to create "consistent and lasting strategic planning, policy and legal services for science workers; help nurture influential scientists and world-class research institutions, and create a favorable institutional and social environment for scientific thought and innovation."

Stephen Welby, president of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, an international science organization said, "The Chinese Academy of Sciences, as well as other Chinese research institutions, have been a driving force for significant technological advancement in the world. These achievements will continue to expand our understanding of technologies and how to use them for the benefit of humanity."

Learn more about studying in China. 

Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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