International Research and Training Center for Science and Technology Strategy (CISTRAT) was established in 2012 as the seventh UNESCO Category II Centre in China and the first UNESCO Category II Centre to focus on Science and Technology Policy.
The Centre’s mission is to carry out international cooperation, professional training and experience sharing in STI strategy and policy research by giving full scope to the experience and advantages of its hosting organization, CASTED, the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations, the purpose of UNESCO, i.e., “to contribute to peace and security by promoting collaboration among the nations through education, science and culture in order to further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion” and the focus on China’s prioritized areas of STI strategy and policy research.
CISTRAT is based in Chinese Academy of Science and Technology for Development (CASTED) which is a research institute directly affiliated to Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and one of the most significant think tanks in China. CASTED supports S&T policy-making by participating in top-level design of the national S&T innovation strategy, S&T system reform, S&T foresight and evaluation, S&T statistics, S&T input, industrial S&T development, regional S&T development, S&T and society, etc. CASTED attaches great importance to talent cultivation and international academic exchanges. It has built stable collaborative relations with international organizations including UNESCO, UNDP, UNIDO, OECD, WIPO, World Bank, etc.
CISTRAT leverages the research capacity of CASTED with the focus on the Millennium Development Goals and new goals of sustainable development of UNESCO. It is managed by an executive committee under the leadership of the governing board which is the decision-making organ. Besides these, it includes an Academic Council as its advisory organ, a Secretariat and a Financial Affairs Office.
To fulfill the Centre’s roles and research institute and provider of professional training, the governing board discusses yearly work plans which will be carried out by the academic council. The executive committee focuses on project and event planning, the secretariat focuses on daily communication and event management, while the financial office monitors the use of financial resources.
The most important annual event of CISTRAT is its international training workshop, which is offered for free to STI policy makers, researchers, teachers, etc., in developing countries. The workshop, enrolling around 15 international trainees at a time, lasts for three weeks during which the trainees could learn about China’s experience through lectures and field studies.
With the support of governments at various levels, CISTRAT organized field studies to many science parks and research institutes, including TusPark, Shanghai Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park, Wuhan East Lake High-Tech Development Zone, Hangzhou Qingshan Lake Science and Technology City, Suzhou Science and Technology Plaza, Guangzhou Tianhe Software Park, etc. The field studies were arranged to promote collaboration and knowledge dissemination among the government, the industry, and the academia, which is an essential part of the Centre’s functions.