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Analysis of the Difficulties in Implementing the "Release Service" in the Scientific Research Field

Source: China Business News Release time: 2019-09-12

China has continuously strengthened the "decentralization of service" in the scientific research field, but the problem of difficult implementation of policies is widespread. The main reasons are that the responsibility for decentralization has not been put in place, the concept of management has not changed, and the sense of service has not improved.

Han Fengqin Shi Wei

In recent years, China's research and development field has continued to strengthen its "decentralization of service." At present, the funding autonomy of China's scientific research workers has been greater than that of foreign scientists to some extent. However, due to the failure of many policies, some researchers feel that their "gain" is still not strong. The author believes that the problem of difficult implementation of the "decentralization of service" policy in the scientific research field can be traced back to the root of the problem, or that the responsibility for decentralization has not yet been put in place, the concept of management has not changed, and the awareness of service has not been improved.

The subject of "decentralization" is not clear

■ At present, all loosening and decentralization policies must be undertaken and implemented by scientific research institutions. Only when universities and research institutions are truly empowered with corresponding responsibilities, can policies be truly activated.

At present, it is difficult to implement science and technology policies. A big sticking point is that the micro-subject of scientific research institutions has been ignored, and all policies of "decentralization and management" must ultimately be undertaken by this micro-subject. Various science and technology policies, talent policies, innovation policies, and evaluation policies are directly related to scientific research project management and scientific research personnel, but they lack a clear implementation body. The majority of scientific research personnel are affiliated with universities and research institutions, and most projects rely on scientific research institutions.

Although China's vast scientific research institutions are legal entities in name, they are actually subject to the administrative system of administrative institutions. Independent legal persons are not independent and have no autonomy in terms of finance, assets, and human resources. Management is also constrained by the functional departments of personnel, staffing, finance, education, science and technology, etc. to the management system of public institutions.

At present, all loosening and decentralization policies have to be undertaken and implemented by scientific research institutions, but there are no relevant laws and regulations that give them corresponding responsibilities. Under the heavy constraints of "articles" and "blocks", it is difficult for scientific research institutions to shoulder such responsibilities.

Due to the special nature of scientific research activities, the loosening and decentralization policies formulated by the central ministries and commissions are relatively macroscopic, decentralizing a large number of rights to organize scientific research and innovation activities. Local governments and scientific research institutions are required to formulate detailed rules based on the specific conditions of their own scientific research activities. In the specific implementation process, according to the laws of scientific research and the spirit of the central decentralization service to grasp the "degree", to ensure that the "relaxation and release of power" policy of scientific research management "acceptable and well placed."

Policies can only be activated if universities and research institutions are really given the corresponding responsibilities. However, under the current circumstances, many scientific research institutions are still waiting for the central ministries to issue detailed rules, and it is difficult to bear this responsibility. There is a "wait, rely, and demand" ideology.

Management thinking is not in place

■ "Unbundling authority" is not to not manage, but to change the management method, from micro management to macro management, from rigid management to flexible management, and to strengthen the construction of internal control.

For various government departments, "relaxing and delegating power" is not to avoid management, but to change management methods and integrate management and control. It is necessary to fully delegate power at the micro level so that scientific research institutions have the autonomy to be able to arrange scientific research work and use of funds in accordance with the rules of scientific research, and also change the government's management thinking.

The first is to change micro-management to macro-management, highlight macro-control functions, and reduce interference in micro- affairs . From a macro perspective, it is necessary to clarify the rights and responsibilities of all parties, adhere to the task orientation, and be connected with the overall national science and technology plan. This will help produce more results, quickly produce results, and avoid project duplication and equal allocation of funds. At present, although the scientific research management system is constantly being “decentralized”, the competent authorities are not yet able to change their management thinking. They are still strengthening the “management” at the micro level, and some rights are still being collected. Industry authorities are also strengthening management. The disciplinary inspection department is still assessing in accordance with administrative standards. In particular, scientific research institutions are of the same nature as public institutions, and are bound to be affected and restricted by public institution management systems and reforms. The managers of some local personnel departments report that it is difficult for them to bypass the management system of public institutions and issue documents to scientific research institutions alone, which also makes it difficult for the central policy to be implemented in a timely manner.

The second is to change rigid management to flexible management, so that rigidity and softness complement each other . In all aspects of management, we must be flexible and fully respect the characteristics and needs of scientific research. Where there is "discharge", there must be a matching "management", which can be managed by setting up a corresponding "negative list" or "red line". Only by defining the rights and responsibilities of all parties at the legal level can we avoid "disorder when one is released, and one who will die";

The third is to let go of power . The current principle of "trust as the premise" and "can be fully used" has created an unprecedented loose policy environment for scientific researchers. Needless to say, there are still many grey areas in the management of scientific research projects in China. In particular, due to the low wages of scientific research personnel in China, the phenomenon of "medium and low basic wages + high scientific research income" appears, which also brings difficulties to the implementation of policies. For a long time, in the process of formulating our policies, we have always found ways to stop leaks when facing problems, forming a "one person gets sick and everyone takes medicine", which has led to the tightening of various systems. At present, the "relaxation of authority" has transferred the power to formulate detailed rules to scientific research institutions. When college scientific research institutions face the same problem, it is inevitable to formulate tighter measures to avoid responsibilities, so that policy dividends are gradually reduced. Relevant departments should seize the crux of the problem, strengthen the construction of internal control mechanisms, and ensure that they are “susceptible and well managed”.

"Service" awareness is not strong

■ The management department should enhance service awareness and service level, take the initiative to serve scientific research, not only to optimize management processes, improve management methods, and improve efficiency, but also to actively solve problems for scientific researchers.

"Putting the tube" is an interconnected and supportive whole. To truly "put the tube" in place, we need to work hard to improve the service. The management department should enhance service awareness and service level, take the initiative to serve scientific research, not only to optimize management processes, improve management methods, improve work efficiency, but also to actively solve problems for scientific researchers. It is not possible to be a “hands-out shopkeeper” just because of “release”, so that the central spirit cannot be implemented at all levels.

In the current situation of "pressing the situation, challenging the challenge, and the mission", the time and energy of scientific researchers are especially precious, not only related to their personal scientific research achievements, but also to the lifeline of the country. R & D and innovation work must not be slow or slow. Work harder to continuously improve the service so that the time of scientific researchers is not wasted in filling out unnecessary reports, and is consumed in red tape.

At present, although the degree of loosening power has been continuously increased, it has reached the level of "can be released as much as possible", but the corresponding supporting measures have not yet kept up.

First of all, the relevant departments make their own efforts, and they may not consider the situation during the implementation of the policy. The functions of other departments may be overlapped, and the rules may conflict. A good policy often cannot be implemented as long as it encounters an uncoordinated regulation. In the specific work, the preparation, budget, and personnel work are interrelated and intertwined. Any one link cannot be unlocked, and other links cannot be unlocked. We must pay attention to multi-sectoral coordination and multi-in-one policy formulation.

Secondly, there are many types of scientific research work. Humanities, social sciences, science, technology, and engineering all have their own operating rules. There are also multiple sources of funding. In the implementation of the decentralized service policy, each rule must be followed. The nature of different funds must be followed. Further refine the classification and make specific regulations for scientific research activities of different natures. In reality, there are often cases where the difference in the cost ratio of different scientific research activities is not analyzed, and it is simply applied. The management of horizontal funds is often compared with the management of central financial research project funds.

Finally, the policies of the central ministries and commissions are generally relatively macro. They need to be docked by local and scientific research institutes, and details should be formulated according to their own circumstances.

(Author: Chinese Academy of Finance and Science Research Center)

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