Following a comprehensive review of higher education of Hong Kong, the University Grants Committee (UGC) advised the Government in a report published in October 1996 that Hong Kong would need world-class institutions with distinct areas of excellence in order to retain its leading economic position in the development of China and the Pacific Rim. The UGC recommended, and the Government agreed, that the UGC-funded institutions should build upon their existing strengths and develop them into Areas of Excellence (AoE).
Such Areas would be recognised internationally as of equal status to their peers in the same subject areas, and justify the additional investment in state-of-the-art facilities and activities which would maintain them among the world leaders. The UGC's report "Higher Education on Hong Kong" (October 1996) and more information about the concept of Areas of Excellence can be found in the publication "Higher Education in Hong Kong - Report by the University Grants Committee"
The AoE Scheme was launched by the UGC
in 1998. With effect from February 2012,
the AoE Scheme has been transferred to the
RGC. Seven rounds of AoE exercises had been
Prominent scholars of AoE projects have
been invited to introduce the achievements
of their projects to the public in RGC Public
Lectures. Further details and videos of
the lectures of AoE Schemes can be viewed
For the past seven
rounds, a total of HK$1.318 billion was
allocated to 21 AoE projects. A summary
position of the funded projects is listed