Application

Applications for research project grants are assessed by the relevant subject panel assisted by a number of external experts from all over the world. The RGC currently has a database of more than 16,000 experts whose services may be called upon to assess applications for research project grants.

The Guidance Notes [ECS2] are now available.

Applications for Early Career Scheme 2018/19 should reach the UGC Secretariat through the electronic system by 17 November 2017. Please click here for the call letter issued by the Secretary, RGC to the Heads of UGC funded institutions inviting applications.

To download the current forms, etc. please click here.

 

  • Eligibility

    The Principal Investigator (PI) of an Early Career Scheme (ECS) project grant must be an academic staff member of an UGC-funded institution with conditions of employment meeting all the following requirements:

    1. within three years of his / her full time1 academic job as an Assistant Professor or career equivalent involving teaching and research duties and in substantiation track / tenure track position in any university (local or overseas) at the time of the submission deadline of this funding exercise;

    2. being primarily engaged in and spending at least 80% of time in degree or higher degree work at the institution proper2; and

    3. salary being wholly funded3 by the institution proper.

    Cases of exceptional circumstances such as career break due to family or health reasons may be considered by the RGC on a case-by-case basis.

    The awardees of ECS cannot compete in the scheme again but those who failed will be allowed to re-submit applications within the eligible period.




    1 Excluding part-time staff and staff holding honorary appointments.
    2 Excluding schools / arms of continuing education and professional training and other analogous outfits.
    3 Excluding staff members who is receiving income from paid appointments outside the institution proper or who is supported by external research grants.
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  • Special Features of the ECS

    1. A maximum of 5-year project duration is allowed for applicants in their first year of full time academic job, a 4-year duration for applicants in the second year and a 3-year duration for applicants in their third year, if the proposed duration is deemed appropriate and necessary by the RGC.
    2. On top of the funding for undertaking independent research, a maximum amount of $100,000 per project will be provided to those awardees who have submitted a satisfactory Education Plan for undertaking activities including the training of undergraduate students at a monthly rate of $2,500 per undergraduate student helper. An applicant may budget for materials, stipends, travels etc. and other costs required for supporting the proposed educational activities under Section 13 of the application form.

    3. Applicants should not list any collaborator as the Co-Investigator.
    4. Peer review mechanism will be adopted and academic quality of the proposals will remain the overriding evaluation criterion. A special session will be organized in each panel meeting to consider exclusively the applications for the ECS to ensure that the junior academics will compete only among themselves but not with other GRF applicants.
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  • Criteria for Consideration of Competitive Bids

    The RGC's main objective is to fund as many worthy projects as possible across a broad front within the funds available. Nevertheless, projects of exceptional merit will be funded more fully than other projects.

    The following criteria should be used in considering competitive bids :

    1. academic quality / merit;

      - scientific and scholarly merit of the proposal;
      - qualifications and track record of the Principal Investigator;
      - originality;
      - feasibility within the time-scale of the proposal.

    2. institutional commitment;

    3. contribution to academic/professional development (where applicable);

    4. potential for social, cultural or economic application; and

    5. availability of, and potential for, non-RGC funding.

    Academic quality / merit is the overriding criterion in evaluating research projects when others are accorded equal weight. In considering grant applications, the RGC will also take cognizance of alternative sources of funding available because some subject area will attract more private funding than others.

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  • Levels of Awards

    In addition to the funding of research for undertaking independent research work, two levels of awards are provided under the ECS:

    1. Early Career Awards - an honorary title will be awarded plus an additional amount of $100,000 per project will be provided to those awardees who have submitted a satisfactory Education Plan for undertaking educational activities including the training of undergraduate students; and

    2. Early Career Grants - an additional amount of $50,000 per project will be provided to those awardees who have submitted a satisfactory Education Plan for undertaking educational activities including the training of undergraduate students.