Baoshan Drives Regional Transformation with Sci-Tech Innovation
Source: Shanghaibaoshan Author: Public Time: 2024-06-11 13:38

Wusong, with the help of its unique geographical advantages in history, vigorously developed education and gave birth to eight colleges and universities including Fudan Public School, China Public School, Tongji University, and National Shanghai Medical College, becoming one of the earliest “university towns” in China. Baoshan in the new era, based on its profound historic traditions, takes on the new missions bravely and forges ahead with the Northern Transformation”, embarking on a new journey of creating “a district strong in sci-tech innovation”.

Since the 14th Five-Year Plan, centering on the positioning as “the main front of Shanghai Sci-tech Innovation Center” granted by Shanghai Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and Shanghai Municipal Peoples Government, the CPC Baoshan District Committee and Baoshan District Peoples Government have seized strategic opportunities to accelerate the incubation and commercialization of sci-tech achievements by tackling hard-nut problems and making inventions in cutting-edge technologies. The new quality productivity generated by new technologies, new methods and new models has helped promote the transformation and upgrading of industrial structure. By gathering the elements, stimulating the vitality, expanding the industry, and fostering the ecology of sci-tech innovation, the authorities in Baoshan have been paving the way for the construction of the main front of Shanghai Sci-tech Innovation Center.


Baoshan Riverfront [Photo by Liu Jiming]

Be proactive in action to support the development of major sci-tech infrastructure

Aiming at the core technologies of achievement commercialization, Baoshan District adopts a forward-looking approach to continuously inject new momentum to sci-tech innovation by strengthening the construction of new R&D institutions, introducing high-quality innovation platforms, improving the innovation capabilities of existing platforms, and carrying out proof of concept (POC) for initial achievements.


Shanghai Wusong Materials Laboratory

Shanghai Wusong Materials Laboratory, led by Academician Zhao Dongyuan of Fudan University, is an important part of the “3 + 4” system of national laboratories in Shanghai. It is built to conduct cross-region, cross-field and cross-discipline collaborative innovation and open cooperation centering on such fields as functional mesoporous materials, fibers and flexible materials, high-efficiency energy storage materials, and biomedical materials.

At the 2024 Baoshan Science and Technology Innovation Promotion Conference, two new carriersShanghai University-Wusong Materials Laboratory Joint Research Institute and Shanghai Wusong Fubao Materials Laboratory Co., Ltd.—were unveiled. The former aims to become an “AI R&D platform in the field of materials”, while the latter focuses on the batch commercialization of achievements, taking the lead in exploring the industry-university-research collaborative innovation mode for “enterprise R&D/OEM”. Not long ago, the Lab of Aqueous Battery, a facility for safe energy storage based on the mesoporous material technology led by Academician Zhao Dongyuan, entered Baoshan-Fudan Sci-tech Innovation Center. The Lab will work with Baoshan District Peoples Government to establish related companies and train professional managers to serve its commercialization of achievements and transfer of technologies. At the same time, the cooperation between Baoshan District and universities will be strengthened by setting up a larger scale pilot laboratory in Baoshan to directly start the production line.


The Lab led by the academician has ushered in frequent good news, showcasing Baoshan Districts determination to provide strong support for technologies, overcome difficulties facing key and core technology, and foster new industries by fully relying on the national strategic sci-tech strength. By supporting the development of major sci-tech infrastructure, Baoshan District has been working to promote the relaxation and innovation of systems and mechanisms. Based on the cooperation with laboratories led by academicians featuring strong scientific research strength, it has broken a number of theoretical bottlenecks facing key technologies, produced a series of major achievements targeting original technologies, and cultivated a group of first-class enterprises with core innovation capabilities.

POC includes technical validation and commercial validation, both of which are essential links for the commercialization of innovative achievements. The former focuses on “whether technical products can be put in place”, while the latter centers on “where the market is”. Focusing on the “first mile” of the commercialization of sci-tech achievements, instead of following the traditional mode of building Proof of Concept Centers (POCCs) inside colleges and universities in 2023, Baoshan encourages market entities such as university science parks, key sci-tech innovation platforms, characteristic industrial parks, and leading sci-tech enterprises in the district to cooperate with or rely on colleges and universities to build POCCs.


Baoshan has formulated the Measures for the Administration of POCCs at the district level, building a POC service system covering the whole process from concept (project) selection, validation and evaluation, financial support, business incubation to investment and financing. Aiming at allowing more entities to participate in this system to jointly explore the “seeds of sci-tech innovation”, the district has established a POC mentor team composed of technical experts, entrepreneurial mentors and service agencies to provide such services as technical validation, business sorting, industrial analysis, investment and financing matchmaking, and enterprise development.

In September 2023, the Shanghai University (SHU)-Circum-SHU Intelligent Manufacturing POC Center was the first to debut. The SHU Engineering Training Center is responsible for providing test equipment to ensure more accurate and reliable technical validation, while the Circum-SHU Science Park is responsible for transporting “technical brokers” with technical and market conversion capabilities to help scientific research teams predict and meet the market demand. When the “T3 Sci-tech Innovation Block” was completed in December last year, the Advanced Materials and Medical Technology POC Center was simultaneously settled in Baoshan. Focusing on the “six major industries”, Baoshan District has identified the first batch of seven POC centers, including the Circum-SHU Intelligent Manufacturing POC Center and the Shanghai Polytechnic University (SSPU) Carbon Neutrality POC Center, and accelerate efforts to put them into practice.


Baowu Carbon-Carbon Materials Research Institute (engineering center)

Form a new paradigm of sci-tech innovation empowerment with Baoshan characteristics

Sci-tech innovation covers the whole process from basic research to commercialization of achievements. During this process, all entities share risks in a reasonable manner, so that scientists dare to innovate, capitalists dare to invest, enterprises dare to break through, and governments dare to support. The innovative reform pilot of investment first followed by share holding” in Baoshan is committed to expediting the above four “dares” and achieving a win-win situation for all parties.

In July 2021, Baoshan District, as the only local government entity in Shanghai, unveiled the national tasks on the innovative reform pilot of “investment first followed by share holding” related to the commercialization of sci-tech achievements. In August 2022, the pilot program was officially released. After two months of project collection, selection and certification, and 13 review and discussion conferences attended by industry experts, the first batch of seven approved projects in the fields of biomedicine, robotics and intelligent manufacturing, new generation of information technology and new materials were selected from 48 declared projects, receiving nearly RMB30 million in financial support.

At the end of 2023, Baoshan District signed the Project Construction Cooperation Agreement with the persons in charge of the second batch of approved projects concerning “investment first followed by share holding”. Nine major projects on the commercialization of sci-tech achievements, including the advanced packaging acousto-optical assisted bonding device—ULAB, and the development and industrialization of application scenario-oriented enzyme engineering products, stood out from more than 70 declared projects. After signing the Agreement, Baoshan District also invited the leaders of the first batch of seven approved projects to share their experience in enterprise development with the responsible persons of the second batch of projects. With the help of the policy on “investment first followed by share holding”, the first batch of seven approved projects achieved self-accelerated development, and completed key tasks such as prototype (product) R&D, pilot line construction, and clinical trials. Shanghai Tongxingou Technology Co., Ltd. and Shanghai Tianyu Guanglian Communication Technology Co., Ltd. are among the first batch of projects to enter the share holding process, and have taken the lead in launching market-oriented financing.

After two years of practice, the pilot program of investment first followed by share holding” and the “Baoshan pattern” have become more mature. From plan drafting, collection starting to project selection, Baoshan has established a standardized work system, and worked with the National Innovation Center par Excellence (NICE) to explore the path to the joint support project featuring the combination of allocation and investment, thus becoming the first district in Shanghai to cooperate with the NICE to implement the combination of allocation and investment. After multi-tiered selection, 16 projects have been approved from nearly 120 ones, receiving more than RMB100 million of support fund. Based on the innovative practice of “investment first followed by share holding”, Baoshan has also expanded the service system for the commercialization of achievements by launching the modes of lease first followed by share holding” and services first followed by share holding”, so as to help projects grow rapidly from the early incubation stage in an all-round way, thereby forming a new paradigm of sci-tech innovation empowerment with Baoshan characteristics.

University scientific research teams specialize in technology, but they may lack expertise in finance, business management, and development strategy at first. How to evolve from a laboratory-based project team to a more professional commercial team? In terms of talent support, Shanghai Baoshan Technology Transfer Co., Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of University Science & Technology Park (Shanghai Baoshan Development Co., Ltd.), has gathered a group of professionals with comprehensive backgrounds in equity investment, finance, and digital marketing in the primary market. In addition to making headway with the post-investment management for approved projects, they will act as the prospective partners to continue to follow up on projects that have not been approved for the first time but have been selected as the candidates. The five-dimensional project management system they set up will evaluate the five major capabilities of these projects in business, team, compliance, marketing, and capital after they have been selected for incubation. At the same time, these professionals will improve the five-dimensional attributes of these projects in a targeted manner to shore up their weak links. The five-dimensional project service mechanism grows with enterprises centering on such aspects as the writing and revision of business plans, and the matchmaking of sci-tech innovation resources.



Build an innovation consortium mechanism covering multiple entities and the whole chain

Making breakthroughs in core technologies requires the joint efforts of different innovation entities such as enterprises, universities, and scientific research institutes, and building an innovation consortium is regarded as an effective way to break the bottlenecks. Innovation consortium is a new organizational form proposed under the national strategy of strengthening sci-tech strength to promote the industry-university-research cooperation and the commercialization of sci-tech innovation achievements.

In March 2023, Baoshan unveiled the pilot reform task of “innovation consortium mechanism covering multiple entities and the whole chain” launched by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), and took the lead in building a medical device innovation consortium in the district. Two months later, good news came from the consortium: the two projects of intracranial pressure monitoring and drug safety testing were successfully “hatched” from the hospital, and a member company of the consortium cooperated with Tsinghua University for order-oriented research.

According to the Guidelines on the Filing of Innovation Consortia in Baoshan District (hereinafter referred to as the Guidelines), leading enterprises play a leading role in breaking through core technologies. The person in charge of the Baoshan District Committee of Science and Technology said that as test developers”, leading enterprises are equipped with strong scientific research ability. However, making breakthroughs in core technologies often involves multiple fields, so that the interdisciplinary and mutual empowerment characteristics of scientific research are becoming increasingly prominent. This is also the reason why enterprises need to subdivide their technical needs and find the right “test takers to “answer questions” together. Meanwhile, the leading enterprises, as “implementers, have set clear commercial goals and application scenarios while investing in personnel, funds, and other aspects. Their urgent need for mastering core technologies can avoid the innovation consortia from “disagreeing” to a certain extent.

Take Baoshan medical device innovation consortium as an example. Fosun Diagnostics (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. (Fosun Diagnostics), as a leading enterprise, proposed to carry out the R&D project of the digital and intelligent biochemical, immunological and molecular laboratory system. It is expected that after completion, the system will fully meet the intelligent and digital needs of the clinical laboratory in future hospitals, quickly shore up the weak links of the Yangtze River Delta region in this regard, and thus provide world-leading comprehensive solutions for intelligent laboratories. To advance the project, Fosun Diagnostics worked with Shanghai University, Zhongshan Wusong Hospital, Taizhou Zecen Biotech Co., Ltd. and other member agencies to break through core technologies. Under the framework of the innovation consortium, all member agencies have signed the agreement on establishing a cooperation mechanism with clear responsibilities, transparent powers, and shared benefits, and identified the major projects to be tackled, the division of tasks, rights and obligations of concerned parties, etc., ensuring that risks and benefits are shared by all members.

While giving full play to the role of an “efficient market”, the “effective government” will play its part as well. The Guidelines specified the conditions and filing procedures for the establishment of innovation consortia in Baoshan, and encouraged the leading enterprise to cooperate with its member agencies to jointly develop a plan for the establishment of innovation consortia. The establishment plan should cover the significance and necessity, foundation and advantages, main ideas, expected goals, key tasks, organizational structure, operating mechanism, supporting measures, and schedules. The responsible person from the Baoshan District Committee of Science and Technology stressed: Rather than simply providing R&D funding, the government should focus more on strengthening the top-level design and improving the operating mechanism, so as to assist innovation consortia in figuring out the key tasks and ensure shared benefits of all concerned parties. The filing system will be open all year round, and I hope that enterprises can take the initiative in getting registered as appropriate.

In terms of supporting policies, besides the special funds for the cultivation of innovation consortia, the phased financial support for R&D breakthroughs, and the subsidy for milestone performance evaluation, registered innovation consortia can also enjoy subsidies stated in “30 Articles of Sci-tech Innovation”, “25 New Talent Policies”, and the Special Policy for Baoshan University Science Park. The purpose of the innovation consortium project is to accelerate the cultivation of local sci-tech leading enterprises and characteristic industrial clusters. To this end, Baoshan District will, based on market needs and characteristics of sub-industries, create service packages dedicated to the specific needs of each consortium. According to a head from Baoshan District Committee of Science and Technology, relevant government departments will send out commissioners to help specific innovation consortia coordinate cross-department and cross-field innovation resources, and thus form a full-chain and all-round policy service system.

In April 2024, innovation consortia in the fields of medical devices (in vitro diagnostics), synthetic biology (recombinant drugs), and advanced materials (carbon fiber) in Baoshan District released a joint plan to make breakthroughs, marking that Baoshan has entered the fast lane to build an innovation consortium mechanism covering multiple entities and the whole chain.


Shanghai Cherry Blossom Festival [Photo by Sun Zhiming]

Create a spatial pattern of industrial development around “Wusong Bay”

Considering the existing layout and industrial development status, Baoshan District is planning to create a spatial pattern of industrial development around “Wusong Bay”, that is, “one bay, two poles, and five parks”. Aiming at tackling hard-nut problems and making inventions in cutting-edge technologies, the district strives to accelerate the incubation and commercialization of sci-tech achievements and create clusters for innovation and entrepreneurship.

Vigorously create the “one bay” for original innovationBaoshan will build major sci-tech innovation platforms such as Wusong Materials Laboratory and Baowu Central Research Institute along Songnan Town, Wusong Street, and Youyi Road Street, so as to make breakthroughs in core technologies, resolve “bottleneck” problems, and create a cutting-edge R&D engine bay. Develop the “two poles” of achievement commercialization with great effortsFocusing on the core of circum-SHU sci-tech innovation in the western region and centering on such university science parks as Shanghai Peking University Science Park, Baoshan-Fudan Sci-tech Innovation Center, and Tongji University Science Park (Baoshan Park) in the eastern region, Baoshan is committed to building an acceleration pole for the commercialization of achievements, and actively undertakes the incubation of sci-tech achievements produced by colleges and universities. Cooperate with the “five parks” carrying various industries in an efficient wayRelying on the five municipal characteristic industrial parks of North Shanghai Biomedical Industrial Park, Super Science and Innovation Park (New Material), Shanghai Industrial Park of Robotics (SIPR), Digital and Intelligent Nanda Industrial Park, and Baowu (Shanghai) Carbon Neutrality Industrial Park, Baoshan will adopt a tailored approach to build an industrialization base for incubating mature sci-tech achievement commercialization projects, and promote the accelerated industrialization of sci-tech achievements and the gathering of sci-tech innovation enterprises.

With regard to the building of “Wusong Bay”, Baoshan District, starting from the most qualified and advantageous areas, is striving to strengthen the original sci-tech innovation and give full play to the leading role of high-end industries, so as to accelerate efforts to foster the new quality productivity. To break new ground better than others, Baoshan District pays close attention to the core links of the industrial chain by identifying the right track, building an ecology, and accelerating the momentum, ensuring that industrial chains and supply chains shall be supplemented, extended, and consolidated. For example, biomedicine has developed rapidly in recent years, with an average annual growth rate of more than 100% in its fixed asset investment, and the number of enterprises in this field has increased to nearly 400. Traditional advantageous fields such as the iron and steel industry have ushered in a new track of digital economy. At present, the trading volume of Baoshan Iron and Steel E-commerce Platforms accounts for 60% of the country’s total, and the rebar price index of Shanghai Ganglian E-Commerce Holdings Co., Ltd. has become an international settlement index for spot and derivatives.

Along the unique new track, Baoshan District will lay emphasis on future health, future materials, and future intelligence in line with the five future industries identified by Shanghai. For instance, focusing on sub-sectors, Baoshan will advance the development of key industries such as synthetic biology by adopting “one policy for one industry”. Not long ago, in accordance with the requirements of the one core and two wings layout stipulated in the Action Plan on Accelerating Synthetic Biology Innovations and Building a High-end Biomanufacturing Industry Cluster in Shanghai (2023-2025), Baoshan District worked with Shanghai Synthetic Biology Innovation Center to build a high-value molecular transformation platform covering molecular discovery, efficacy evaluation, strain construction, fermentation purification, inspection and testing, formulation development, and manufacturing. Baoshan High-tech Industrial Park, where the high-value molecular transformation platform is about to land, will add tens of thousands of square meters of carrier space this year through self-built factories and replacing old industries with new ones, which can effectively accommodate the infrastructure required for efficient chassis cell casting, automated biological process equipment, and industrial formulation development. In the future, Baoshan District and Shanghai Synthetic Biology Innovation Center will further co-build a special working group to coordinate the planning and implementation of platform infrastructure, industrial base construction, and platform operation.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of Shanghai International Sci-tech Innovation Center, and it is also the year when a new round of three-year action plan for the main front of the sci-tech innovation center in Baoshan District is launched. The development of sci-tech innovation is at an extraordinary time and in line with the trend of the times. Moving forward, Baoshan District will develop the whole chain of sci-tech innovation, unswervingly take a proactive approach, lay equal emphasis on talent introduction and cultivation, and build a new matrix of R&D institutions led by Wusong Materials Laboratory. In terms of POC and the construction of university science parks and high-quality incubators, Baoshan will take the initiative to raise the benchmark and strive to cultivate first-class industries, thereby effectively empowering the industrial chain. Meanwhile, it will optimize the whole process of sci-tech innovation, and accomplish its deeds with indomitable will to fight the battle against core technologies. Baoshan will establish an innovative mechanism where risks and benefits are shared by all parties, and implement targeted empowerment systems with Baoshan characteristics aiming at “investment first followed by share holding” lease first followed by share holding” and services first followed by share holding”. Also, Baoshan will deepen the development of innovation consortia, and build a joint tackling mode of “effective market + effective government”. Based on the element-oriented empowerment, it will fight the battle against systems by further optimizing the sci-tech innovation policy systems such as the “30 Articles of Sci-tech Innovation” and the policy of “investment first followed by share holding”. Besides, it will deepen cooperation with key platforms such as the National Innovation Center par Excellence and the National Eastern Tech-Transfer Center, build a collaborative innovation network and create a superior sci-tech innovation ecology. Baoshan will embark on a new path of regional transformation led by sci-tech innovation, make significant progress on the integrated development of technologies, industries and cities, and play a greater role and achieve greater development in the process of accelerating the construction of sci-tech innovation centers with global influence in Shanghai.

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