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China: Research Institutes
Country Study > Chapter 9 > Science and Technology > Science and Technology in the 1980's > Research Institutes


In the late 1980s, most Chinese researchers worked in specialized research institutes rather than in academic or industrial enterprises. The research institutes, of which there were about 10,000 in 1985, were, like their Soviet exemplars, directed and funded by various central and regional government bodies. Their research tasks were, in theory, assigned by higher administrative levels as part of an overall research plan; the research plan was, in theory, coordinated with an overall economic plan. Research institutes were the basic units for the conduct of research and the employment of scientists, who were assigned to institutes by government personnel bureaus. Scientists usually spent their entire working careers within the same institute. Research institutes functioned as ordinary Chinese work units, with the usual features of lifetime employment, unit control of rewards and scarce goods, and limited contact with other units not in the same chain of command. Each research institute attempted to provide its own staff housing, transportation, laboratory space, and instruments and to stockpile equipment and personnel. The limited channels for exchanges of information with other institutes often led to duplication or repetition of research.

Data as of July 1987

Last Updated: July 1987

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for China was first published in 1987. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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