31 Oct,2019

Completing the last mile between innovation and industrialization

Source: Shanghai Daily
THE World Laureates Association concluded its first forum in Shanghai yesterday and laid plans for the WLA science community that was announced on Monday.

“The discoveries that have been made through the WLA will very likely lead to future applications of technology, and we hope we can assist in this area as an advisory board,” Michael Levitt, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2013, said at the closing ceremony of World Laureates Forum.

He was speaking on behalf of more than 30 top scientists who attended, including 26 Nobel laureates.

“We also laid plans for WLA science community that will facilitate the connection between the ‘last mile’ of innovation in basic science and the ‘last mile’ of industrialization,” he said.

Levitt added that scientists had agreed to emphasize the importance of basic scientific research, to call for international diversity and collaboration, as well as to support young scientists.

These were subject matters discussed at the three-day forum at Shanghai’s Lingang area, one of the city’s major incubators of science and technology in the Pudong New Area.

Over the course of the forum, top scientists shared their latest research on photonics, life science, new drug development, brain science and artificial intelligence, among other fields.

“All of my colleagues and myself have specially enjoyed the forum,” Roger Kornberg, the 2006 Nobel Prize winner in chemistry and chairman of World Laureates Association, told Shanghai Daily.

“Most scientific meetings are more narrow. They are usually about research in our own field. This is probably the first time that I participated in a meeting that ranged across all fields of science.”

He highly valued such diversity because the boundaries between different scientific fields have disappeared, and it has become a norm for scientists to “cross over.”

Levitt added: “Science is international. It depends completely on the free exchange of ideas and on collaborations between individuals, countries and cities. Diversity is incredibly important to science!”

Shi Guanghui, deputy mayor of Shanghai, echoed the scientists’ focus on basic science research, international collaboration and support for young scientists. He also vowed to accelerate the construction of the WLA community into a home for both established and young scientists.

“As China’s largest economic center, Shanghai is accelerating in becoming a hub for scientific innovation with global influence,” Shi said.

He added that the city will strive to become “a cradle for new academic ideas, new scientific discoveries, new technologic inventions and new industrial trends.”