The award was initiated by the State Council in 1994. It is conferred on foreign individuals or organizations that have made important contribution to China's science and technology development.

The total number of recipients shall not exceed 10 each year. The award has no distinction in award grades. From 1995 to 2016, 106 scientists from 19 different countries, two international organizations and one foreign organization have received this award.

Nationality total number of recipients Nationality total number of recipients
United States of America 32 Canada 5
Germany 17 Brazil 2
Japan 12 Netherlands 3
United Kingdom 5 Switzerland 1
France 7 India 1
Italy 5 Singapore 1
Sweden 3 Australia 3
Russia 5 Cuba 1
Denmark 1 New Zealand 1
Thailand 1