48 young scientists were awarded the 2023 Xplorer Prize at a ceremony in Shenzhen this weekend. They lead cutting-edge research in areas such as mathematics and physics, life science, astrology, advanced manufacturing and other frontier sectors. China spent 3.08 trillion yuan (roughly $420 billion) in R&D last year, however, only 2.5 percent went to basic research - the ratio lags behind major developed countries by a long stretch. Experts say China needs to diversify its methods of investments in basic science.
The Xplorer Prize was initiated by Chinese tech giant Tencent, offering some of the largest funding for scientists under the age of 45, who now make up the majority of China's R&D sector. Guangdong meanwhile is proposing a law that would require a third of its public R&D funding go towards basic research. It's hoped such initiatives will inspire more science funding across China.