The following article describes China’s “National Security Academic Fund,” which supports the China Academy of Engineering Physics (CAEP), China’s nuclear weapons research, development, and testing laboratory. Notably, experts from hundreds of institutions in dozens of countries have co-authored research papers subsidized by this fund, research that presumably benefits CAEP.
The Chinese source text is available online at: https://www.nsfc.gov.cn/csc/20345/20348/pdf/2021/2021zk-103-109.pdf
An archived version of the Chinese source text is available online at: https://perma.cc/A6ZE-LTZA
U.S. $1 ≈ 6.9 Chinese Yuan Renminbi (RMB), as of April 3, 2023.
Twenty Years of the NSAF Joint Fund: Exploration and Practice of a New Model for Strengthening Requirement-Led Basic Scientific Research Collaboration and Innovation1
National security is an important cornerstone of peace and stability. Currently, the national security environment is undergoing deep and complex changes. China remains in an important period of strategic opportunity for its development. Only by selecting the right breakthroughs and achieving advanced arrangements, strengthening forward-looking, pioneering, and exploratory national security basic scientific research and new concept research, we may then proactively gain competitive advantages, offering strong support for solidifying the foundation of national security.
The China Academy of Engineering Physics (hereinafter referred to as “CAEP”) is the sole nuclear weapons research, development, and production unit of China under state planning. It is a comprehensive research institute embodying theory, experiment, design, and production, mainly aiming to develop cutting-edge national defense science and technology (S&T). CAEP was established in 1958. The older generation of CAEP researchers was indifferent to fame, and devoted themselves to their work, realizing the brilliant achievements of nuclear bombs and ballistic missiles2 under arduous conditions. With its special business and remote location, CAEP is chronically understaffed with basic research talent and finds it hard to attract new talent. To attract and coordinate the strengths of institutions of higher learning and scientific research institutes across the country to start basic research related to national security, discover new research directions, nurture high-tech national defense talent, and promote innovation at the source (源头创新) in national security-related fields, the National Natural Science Foundation of China (hereinafter referred to as “NSFC”) and CAEP started their pilot projects in 2000. In 2001, the two organizations signed a contract and officially established the National Security Academic Fund3 (referred to as the NSAF Fund or NSAF Joint Fund) jointly. NSAF is among the first batch of the Joint Fund pilot projects of NSFC. Up to now, an agreement for a total of 5 phases has been signed. It is the Joint Fund with the longest length of implementation. This article organizes and reviews the achievements of the NSAF Fund since its establishment and implementation, summarizes sponsorship and management of the Joint Fund, and predicts future developments.
2.1 Expenditures and Investments
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Download Full TranslationTwenty Years of the NSAF Joint Fund: Exploration and Practice of a New Model for Strengthening Requirement-Led Basic Scientific Research Collaboration and Innovation
- Translator’s note: The Chinese-language original version of this article supplies a different, less accurate English title: “A Review of the Fund Support and Management of NSAF for 20 Years.”
- Translator’s note: The Chinese here, 两弹, literally means “two bombs,” and is part of the abbreviation 两弹一星 “two bombs and one satellite,” which refers to China’s Mao Zedong-era accomplishments of building its own nuclear bombs (原子弹), ballistic missiles (导弹), and earth satellites (卫星). The term 两弹 is often misconstrued as “atomic and hydrogen bombs.” See William Hannas and Huey-Meei Chang, “China’s STI Operations: Monitoring Foreign Science and Technology Through Open Sources,” Center for Security and Emerging Technology, January 2021, p. 27, https://cset.georgetown.edu/publication/chinas-sti-operations.
- Translator’s note: The Chinese-language original version of this article supplies the English translation “National Safety Academic Fund” for the Chinese term 国家安全学术基金. This is probably an attempt by the authors to make the name of the fund sound benign to foreign audiences. While the Chinese word 安全 can be translated as either “security” or “safety” depending on context, the term 国家安全 unambiguously translates to “national security,” not “national safety.” This translation thus adopts the more accurate translation “National Security Academic Fund.”