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Companies crowdsourcing solutions for technical challenges

By Zhou Wenting in Shanghai | | Updated: 2017-11-06 17:01

A total of 73 technical challenges faced by enterprises in Shanghai were released to the public on Monday by a number of bodies, including the Science and Technology Commission of Shanghai Municipality, in a bid to solicit solutions from members of the public, universities and scientific research institutes.

Liu Yangang, director of the Advanced Industrial Technology Research Institute of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, said this is a novel approach to fostering greater levels of cooperation between industries and academic institutes.

"In the past, universities were the ones approaching companies for help. Today, it's the other way around," said Liu.

Ma Simin, a senior engineer from the Torch High Technology Industry Development Center under the Ministry of Science and Technology, also voiced support for the move to disclose the challenges in a public space.

"In light of the growing levels of entrepreneurship and innovation in society, such an approach will help connect enterprises that are looking to achieve breakthroughs in their core competitiveness. It will also help accelerate the innovation drive and encourage people to set up more local bases that specialize in innovation," said Ma.

The technical challenges published include the development of a precise climate forecasting system for maritime use, the construction of a traceability platform for the production process of traditional Chinese medicine, and the development of portable body composition testing equipment.

In November last year, 1,060 technical challenges from innovative enterprises in seven provinces and cities, including Hunan province, Beijing, Ningbo city in Zhejiang province and Xi'an city in Shaanxi province, were made known to the public for the first time by the Ministry of Science and Technology. Solutions to 623 of the challenges were created by research institutes and universities. Members of the public also helped solve 99 of the problems.

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