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Interview: Payload specialist selection significant to Macao’s science development

MACAO, Oct. 4 (Xinhua) — The payload specialist selection in China’s Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) for the country’s manned space program is of great significance to the development of science and related education in the SAR, said an education expert.

Joseph Hun-wei Lee, president of the Macao University of Science and Technology (MUST), told Xinhua Tuesday that the selection, held in Macao for the first time, is expected to inspire research in fundamental physics and education in related disciplines in the Macao SAR, thus laying solid foundation for nurturing the next generation of scientists.

“The move will also inspire young people in Macao to make greater efforts in the pursuit of knowledge and exploration of science,” Lee said. “The effect is limitless.”

On Monday, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Macao SAR announced the selection program. The target candidates are required to be healthy Chinese nationals aged between 30 and 45 who are permanent residents of the Macao SAR with a doctoral degree and have engaged themselves for at least three years in the research fields of medicine, biology, psychology, physics or chemistry, mechanical or electrical engineering, astronomy or other disciplines.

Hailing the selection as a historic opportunity for Macao, Lee said Macao should increase investments on science and research, further enhance cooperation with the Chinese mainland in this regard and better tap Macao’s advantages as an international platform to train more scientists and engineers.

“The development of space science and technology will bring about numerous exciting frontier scientific research,” Lee said, adding that the MUST hopes to engage in cross-disciplinary space research such as stem cell experiments, biological research of microgravity and research on materials.

As early as in 2005, the MUST started to participate in data analysis and research of China’s lunar exploration program, later carried out wide cooperation with top-notch national-level science and research institutes.

In 2018, the Ministry of Science and Technology approved the establishment of the State Key Laboratory of Lunar and Planetary Sciences in the MUST. It represented the first state key laboratory specializing in the field of astronomy and planetary sciences in China.

In recent years, the MUST has taken part in several major national deep space exploration projects, fostering a competitive team of young researchers.

Lee encouraged Macao’s young science workers to actively apply for the selection program. “Macao should seize this opportunity to take its science and technology development to a higher level.” ■

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