China's Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) in Guizhou province, seen in this aerial photo in March 2019, began officially operating at the start of last year. （Photo by Yang Xiaobo/For China Daily）
China has four major feats listed among this year's Global Top Ten Engineering Achievements, according to the journal Engineering, one of China's most prestigious scientific publications.
Experts said China will continue to be an active contributor to global engineering frontiers and make more breakthroughs in solving major engineering obstacles that are key for the sustainability and wellbeing of mankind.
The four projects spearheaded by Chinese engineers are the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope, hybrid rice, the Three Gorges Hydroelectric Power Station and the ultra-high voltage transmission project.
The telescope, located in southwestern China, became operational last year and is currently the world's largest and most sensitive single dish radio telescope. The entire Three Gorges project was completed last year after more than two decades of construction. It is the world's largest multipurpose hydraulic complex.
The third generation of hybrid rice created by Chinese scientists set a new annual yield record of 22.9 metric tons per hectare last year. In 2019, China launched the world's first 1,100-kilovolt ultra-high voltage direct current transmission network, making efficient, large-scale allocation of electricity across China possible.
The other achievements included AlphaGo and AlphaFold, which are artificial intelligence programs designed for specific tasks such as playing chess and predicting protein structure, and the development and use of the CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing technique.
Extreme ultraviolet lithography systems for high-end chipmaking, 5G mobile communication technology, NASA's InSight Mars Lander, public health epidemic prevention and the battle against COVID-19 also made the list.
The achievements on the list are major engineering projects or breakthroughs with global influence that have been completed in the past five years, the journal said. They represent the highest level of engineering science and technology in their respective fields.
The journal Engineering is a publication of the Chinese Academy of Engineering. The list's creation involved nominations and recommendations by engineers and technicians around the globe, numerous public surveys and final screening by the selection committee.
On Tuesday, the academy's Center for Strategic Studies and global analytical firm Clarivate published their Engineering Fronts 2021 report. The document, published annually since 2017, selected a total of 186 research and development frontier topics for nine broad engineering categories, ranging from agriculture to engineering management.
Zhong Zhihua, vice-president of the CAE, said engineering and technology is a major support for socioeconomic growth and mankind's pursuit of sustainable development.
"As our country enters a new developmental phase, we urgently need to accelerate our pace of innovation in engineering and technology and improve the quality of our innovation," he said, adding this will require scientific insight on new emerging engineering frontiers to guide future development.
Jeremy Lawson, senior vice-president of Clarivate, said all these fronts are essential to global social and economic development, and China is also at the forefront of many of these subjects.
Strategic collaboration with key global research organizations such as the CAE is central to advancing global scientific research and driving sustainable development, he added.
Yang Baofeng, an academician at the CAE, said the report tracks frontier engineering research that may yield new breakthroughs and innovations, and allow scientists, industries and policymakers to identify the latest engineering trends and adjust research and policy priorities accordingly.
Yang said this year's engineering frontiers had three main focuses: interdisciplinary research, the use of artificial intelligence in various engineering and industrial fields, and tackling major common issues such as the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change.