To push for the nation's economic transition and industrial upgrading, Chinese leaders pledged on Monday greater commitment to the research and application of science and technology.
In a show of unprecedented importance, both President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang addressed an event combining three top-level science conferences attended by 4,000 scientists and science officials.
Xi said the central government's commitment is aimed at making China a leading power in science and technology by the middle of the century, or around the 100th anniversary of the People's Republic of China.
Xi stressed the role of science and technology as a bedrock that "the country relies on for its power, enterprises rely on for victories, and people rely on for a better life".
"Great scientific and technological capacity is a must for China to be strong and for people's lives to improve," he said, calling for new ideas, designs and strategies in science and technology.
Premier Li told the event that China's overall research and development input will keep rising to account for 2.5 percent of its GDP in 2020, from the current 2.1 percent.
Wang Zhigang, vice-minister of science and technology, said innovation is the focus of global competition and is also crucial for China to achieve sustainable development.
Zhu Baoliang, a specialist in economic forecasting with the National Information Center, said China cannot continue to rely on human input for growth considering such demographic challenges as a rapidly aging society and a looming labor shortage.
In the past 30 years, about 30 percent of China's economic growth has been obtained from innovations, Zhu said.
By contrast, developed countries derive 70 percent of their growth from innovations.
He called for more policy reforms to provide incentives for the talent needed in research and innovation.