How to run a National Laboratory
Issuing time:2020-02-14 00:00
The national laboratory is a "national team" with higher scientific research strength. With the implementation of innovation driven development strategy, China is actively and steadily promoting the construction of national laboratories. The proposal of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on formulating the 13th five year plan for national economic and social development puts forward that "a number of national laboratories should be set up in major innovation fields".
Today, we publish the information of a Chinese scholar in the National Laboratory of the United States. The national laboratory is a "national team" with higher scientific research strength. In China's scientific community, the construction of national laboratories has received special attention. Part of the reason is that since 2000, the Ministry of science and technology has started the exploration and practice of pilot national laboratories, and has approved the pilot construction of seven national laboratories. In addition, some national laboratories have entered the stage of preparation. However, more than ten years later, the word "preparation" has not been removed from these national laboratories, which can be called "preparation". In recent years, many people in the scientific community have put forward suggestions for the construction of national laboratories.
From January 2016 to now, as a postdoctoral jointly trained by Tsinghua University and Stanford University, I have entered the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory (LBL) in the United States to carry out research work, so as to observe the operation of this famous research institution in a short distance. Here, my specific work is to use advanced light source equipment to study the mechanism of energy storage battery materials.
In science, LBL is almost synonymous with "extraordinary". As one of the national laboratories of the United States, the related honors can Ruo stars: 13 scientists have won the Nobel Prize, 15 scientists have won the National Medal of science, one scientist has won the National Medal of technological innovation, and 70 scientists are academicians of the American Academy of Sciences
In a conversation with me, my co tutor, Professor of Stanford University and academician of the American Academy of Sciences Shen Zhixun mentioned that LBL's operation mode is more representative in the National Laboratory of the United States. His words made me pay special attention to the operation mode of the National Laboratory.
Is the National Laboratory a golden job
As we all know, the National Laboratory, as a popular form of scientific research base in the world, rose and developed around World War II, carrying out basic and strategic scientific research tasks around the national mission, and solving major scientific and technological problems related to national security and economic and social development through interdisciplinary assistance.
The national laboratory is an important part of the national innovation system. In 2003 and 2006, our government approved the establishment of 15 national laboratories, but they are still in preparation.
Until the national science and technology working conference in January this year, Wan Gang, Minister of the Ministry of science and technology, proposed that the establishment of a national laboratory in major innovation areas would be launched in 2017 in accordance with the principle of "mature one, start one". In my understanding, this means that China's national laboratory will be listed this year, and the word "raise" will be removed.
As a scientific researcher, I am concerned about how our national laboratory operates, how much money can we get every year, and whether we can use the National Laboratory?
Coincidentally, in March, my advanced light source (ALS) accepted the assessment of the U.S. Department of energy, and disclosed the report materials submitted by ALS to the U.S. Department of energy to all relevant laboratory personnel by email. Combined with my experience, I would like to talk about the operation mechanism of National Laboratory in my eyes.
Like many newcomers, I was confused about the relationship between LBL and the University of California, Berkeley. LBL belongs to the U.S. Department of energy, but interestingly, the U.S. Department of energy is not actually involved in the operation of the laboratory, but is managed by the University of California. The director of LBL is appointed by the board of directors of the University of California and reports to the president of the University of California. More than 20 employees of the Department of energy enter LBL to exercise federal supervision over LBL. This makes LBL in management, get rid of the excessive and even blind interference of administrative power, and carry out professional operation relatively independently according to academic norms.
This kind of management mode makes the University and the National Laboratory form an effective complementary relationship, and they can play their respective strengths to carry out cooperative research. In the University of California system, Berkeley is closely related to LBL. The geographical proximity of the two makes them closely related: according to the data in 2015, there are more than 200 LBL researchers serving as professors in Berkeley, and more than 500 Berkeley students conducting research in LBL. LBL has greatly improved the research level of Berkeley, and even some people say that LBL has achieved Berkeley today. This may seem exaggerated, but I don't think it's entirely unreasonable.
It is worth mentioning that, although LBL seems to be managed by the University of California as a "take it for granted" Rationality - historically, Ernest Lawrence, the founder of the laboratory and Nobel laureate, is a professor of Berkeley, and the two institutions are so close geographically - in terms of institutional design, there is a competition elimination mechanism: the U.S. Department of energy conducts an examination of the University of California every five years Evaluate the management level and output quality of LBL. To be exact, the reason why the University of California can manage LBL on its behalf is not only a historical or geographical factor, but also an effective management. Some national laboratories have had "unfortunate" changes of ownership in the past. For example, in 2006, Los Alamos National Laboratory was no longer managed by the University of California, but by Los Alamos National Laboratory