Initiated by Mr. Tsung-Dao Lee, a physicist and Professor of Columbia University in the USA, and with active support from Mr.Deng Xiaoping, the postdoctoral system in China was founded in 1985.Due to the successful adaptation of the overseas postdoctoral experience to the Chinese context, the system is now characterized by its well-planned cultivation of high profile young talent and its effectively coordinated administration system led by the government and contributed to by various stakeholders.
In1985, the State Council approved the establishment of the China Postdoctoral Science Fund to support young talented PhDs in conducting postdoctoral research, and to facilitate their rapid growth into high-level researchers. Mr. Tsung-Dao Lee has served as honorary chairman of China Postdoctoral Science Foundation since its establishment.
Deng Xiaoping talked with Mr. Tsung-Dao Lee, a famous physicist and professor of Columbia University in the U.S., appreciating his suggestion that China adopt a postdoctoral system. Later, he approved the establishment of the Postdoctoral Science Fund.
The Symposium on Postdoctoral Innovative Talents in China was held in Beijing, in 2015, to celebrate 30th anniversary of the establishment of the China Postdoctoral System. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met and communicated with the Symposium representatives.
By the year 2018, 3,009 postdoctoral research centers have been established in China's universities and institutes, as well as 3,727 postdoctoral research centers set up in companies. The total number of postdoctoral researchers admitted is approximately 200,000. The vast majority of postdoctoral researchers become the main force of science and technology studies as well as academic and technical leaders. According to the statistics, among those postdoctoral researchers, 96 have been elected as academicians in the Chinese Academy of Sciences or the Chinese Academy of Engineering.
2009-2017, the average number of papers published in core journals by postdoctoral researchers working in postdoctoral research centers is 1.9, each postdoctoral researcher undertakes 2 key research projects for 2 years on average, among which national projects accounting for 36.57%, and they have obtained 89998 invention patents and 22405 utility model patents.