The program, which was established in 2011, aims to attract about 1,000 high-end experts over a 10-year period. To be eligible, candidates require a doctorate from a university overseas, must have worked in China for three consecutive years and spent at least two months in the country in each of those years. Every expert accepted to the program is granted at least 1 million yuan, but the figure can rise as high as 5 million yuan.
Fraser Stoddart, one of two Nobel laureates elected to CAS this year, joined the program in 2013, and his membership was extended by three years in August. He is employed as a guest professor at Tianjin University's School of Pharmaceutical Science and Technology, where he trains young scientists.
"People in their '70s like me should be stepping back and encouraging young people to come forward and conduct research in a totally independent way. The academic environment for students in China is excellent and offers huge opportunities," the UK national said.
While China has made great efforts to attract and support talent from overseas, it still faces a number of challenges, such as the evaluation procedure for grant applications.
Chen, who has years of research experience in both Sweden and China, highlighted the differences between the two countries' systems. "Sweden uses more international experts as assessors, and the proposals are usually written in English with a just a summary in Swedish. The evaluation procedure in China is far more tortuous," he said.
Donald Grierson, a newly elected member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, has been professor of plant genetics at Zhejiang University since 2011. He was attracted by the "experience of academics in modern research methods" in China and "hardworking Chinese students".
However, his lack of familiarity with the domestic funding system and an inability to write in Chinese makes it difficult for him to obtain funding from local sources.
He is therefore dependent on help from the university, where he was registered as a full professor in April.