This article examines the backgrounds, experiences and attitudes of China's rising scientific elite and explores how this new generation thinks about the conditions necessary for scientific distinction. It focuses on scientists who have received the Distinguished Young Scientist (DYS) award from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), the country's main funding source for basic and "oriented-basic" (ying-yong jichu) research. Because NSFC is independent of the institutions of the awardees, the evaluation process for DYS recipients is freer from personal connections (guanxi), and is more robust and fairer than are institution-initiated programmes. This year, a one-month period was set for public challenges - on scientific merit - to a candidacy for an award. The results of this national programme have been impressive; the DYS award is highly acclaimed and the awardees can thus be thought of as representing the best of China's young scientists and the core of the new scientific elite.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Political Science and International Relations