WRI: 973 Program Funding by Strategic Focus

Complementing the 863 Program, which focuses on specific technologies, is the National Basic Research Program, also called the “973 Program.” Since its inception, core focuses of the 973 program have been energy, natural resources conservation, and environmental protection. From 1998 to 2008, the program supported 382 projects with a total funding level of 8.2 billion yuan ($1.3 billion), of which 28% went to energy, natural resources conservation and environmental protection.

During the 11th Five Year Plan period, the 973 Program’s energy focus and financing targets the following topics:

  • Basic research on the distribution and safe mining of deep coal resources and coal-bed methane.
  • Basic research on efficient and environmentally sound usage of coal.
  • New theories and methods on more efficient exploitation and utilization of oil and natural gas.
  • Major scientific issues related to China’s large grid system.
  • Key scientific programs related to large-scale and pollution-free production, storage and transmission of hydrogen fuel.
  • Exploration of utility-scale renewable energy and new energy development.
  • Exploration of large-scale nuclear fission and fusion development.
  • Key scientific issues related to energy efficiency improvement.