Chinese tech giant Tencent Friday launched an award program with the country’s leading scientists to support research and development in life sciences, advanced manufacturing and other key science and technologies fields.

Tencent, Chinese scientists initiate award program to prompt sci-tech development

The Xplorer Prize will award 50 science professionals under 45 years old each year. Prize winners will receive 600,000 yuan (86,300 U.S. dollars) annually for five consecutive years to support their exploration in fundamental science and cutting-edge core technologies, according to a statement from Tencent Foundation, the company’s charitable platform.

The Tencent Foundation will offer one billion yuan as the initial fund for the award, which is open to registration in next January and will announce its first batch of winners in July.

The award will focus on supporting nine fields including mathematical physics, life sciences, astronomy and geosciences, new chemical materials, information electronics, energy and environmental protection, advanced manufacturing, transportation and construction technology and cutting-edge and cross-disciplinary technology.

China’s top leadership has called for enhanced efforts to facilitate fundamental science and cutting-edge technologies to boost the country’s innovative competitiveness.

Cutting-edge science and technologies are crucial to lifting China’s development to a higher level, and it’s important to support young science professionals, said Rao Yi, a life sciences professor with Peking University and one of the 14 Chinese scientists who co-initiated the award.

Tencent Chairman and CEO Pony Ma said it is natural for Tencent to contribute to advances in science and technologies by complementing the country’s support for sci-tech explorations.

The Shenzhen-based firm announced a major structural reorganization in late September to highlight the role of science and technologies in the company’s growth as Tencent celebrates the 20th anniversary of its establishment this year.

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