Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said Tuesday that innovation should play a bigger role in facilitating structural transformation of the country’s economy.

During an inspection of the Ministry of Science and Technology, Li said the “torch of innovation shall be passed on in all sectors of society, and the benefits of innovation shall be shared by all.”

He said China has witnessed some breakthroughs in sci-tech innovation over the past five years.

Innovation has since played a key role in supporting a steady economy with a positive outlook, shifting the country’s growth momentum, and expanding employment, he said.

The premier said efforts should be made to implement new development concepts and advance supply-side structural reform, to tap into China’s massive talent resources, improve its overall innovation capacity, and build China into an innovative country and a world-leading sci-tech power.

He said the Internet and big data are platforms on which science and technology could be integrated with the economy, while asking for alignment of sci-tech innovation with market needs to allow science and technology to contribute more to economic growth.

More enterprises should be encouraged to conduct research in basic sciences, whereas institutional and regional barriers for innovative collaboration between institutions, universities, enterprises and makers must be torn down, Li said.

The premier went on to instruct government departments to fully implement policies supporting sci-tech innovation, and give research institutions and universities more say in terms of research project set-up and fund management.

Government departments must also work to allow sci-tech innovation to play a bigger role in guiding economic and social development, promoting medium-high speed economic growth, and developing the economy, Li said.

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