Zhen Cao, the chief scientist for a new cosmic-ray observatory that made the cut, says that with the economy strong, “people are thinking this is the time for China to take responsibility for the development of basic science and technology.” The US and Europe, he notes, are both home to many large scientific experiments. “China is making major contributions to science too,” he says. “That is why China thinks we should have this concrete plan to build and grow as many big facilities as possible.”
Among the 16 selected projects, some are ready to go forward pending various permits, but others will be put up for bid. That’s the case, for example, for a user facility to study materials under extreme conditions. Proposals for such projects are due soon, and decisions are likely before the end of the year, says Yu."