FAQs

1. How can I determine if I am qualified for the scheme?

2. What is the major difference in eligibility between an applicant for teaching relief under the GRF and an applicant under the HSSPFS?

3. I was awarded a teaching relief grant under the GRF last year. Am I qualified to apply under the HSSPFS?

4. I am now holding some project grants awarded by the RGC and other funding agencies. Am I qualified to apply under the HSSPFS?

5. Do I need to propose a new research project for the proposed Fellowship?

6. I submit a GRF proposal for teaching relief grants this year. Later, my institution nominates me for the HSSPFS. Can I submit the same proposal under HSSPFS? Or should I withdraw from GRF?

7. May I submit one proposal to GRF (seeking funding support for teaching relief only) and a similar proposal to HSSPFS (seeking funding support for relief of teaching and administrative duties) in the same funding cycle?

8. May I submit one proposal to GRF (seeking project costs only) and a similar proposal to HSSPFS (seeking funding support for relief of teaching and administrative duties) in the same funding cycle?

9. May I submit one proposal to GRF (seeking project costs and teaching relief) and a similar proposal to HSSPFS (seeking funding support for relief of teaching and administrative duties) in the same funding cycle?

10. What should be included in the work plan?

11. What should be included in the dissemination plan?

12. What forms of outputs are allowed on completion of the Fellowship?

13. What are the commitments of the institutions?

14. What types of institutional support are expected?

15. What are the commitments of the applicants?

16. What are the ceilings for the salaries of relief teachers and relief administrative staff?

17. Am I allowed to commit less than 100% of my time to the Fellowship so that I can continue with some of my teaching and administrative duties in conjunction with the Fellowship?

18. Does the applicant need to submit the research details if he / she has already submitted his / her similar proposal under the GRF / PPR Funding Scheme in the same funding cycle?

19. Do I need to sign an undertaking with the institution to the effect that I have to continue my service for at least a year upon the completion of the Fellowship before I submit the application?

20. How will the HSSPFS applications be evaluated?

21. What would be the success rate for HSSPFS applications?

22. Will the RGC evaluate the Work Plan and the Dissemination Plan?

23. Would the RGC provide feedback on the unsuccessful applications?

24. When will I be informed of the results of the exercise?

25. What are the awards for HSSPFS awardees?

26. What are the reporting requirements?

27. What happens if I leave the academic appointment before the completion of the Fellowship?

28. Can the institutions seek the RGC's approval to change award holder?

29. Would my Fellowship be ceased if I leave the institution for another institution in Hong Kong before its completion?

 

 

Eligibility

1. How can I determine if I am qualified for the scheme?

The eligibility requirements are the same as that of the General Research Fund except that visiting scholars are not qualified for being nominated under the HSSPFS because of their short services in the institutions. As each institution has a quota of five nominations, you should check with your institution to see if there will be other internal requirements set for screening purposes.

2. What is the major difference in eligibility between an applicant for teaching relief under the GRF and an applicant under the HSSPFS?

The major difference lies in the level of support from the institutions. Under GRF, institutions are required to confirm their agreement to release the applicants from teaching duties for a duration proposed in the applications. Under HSSPFS, apart from the agreement to release the applicants from major teaching duties and all administrative duties (or the teaching and administrative duties other than those specified in the application form for those applicants who commit less than 100% of their time to the Fellowship), institutions are required to provide an institutional statement, outlining how the Fellowship can fit within relevant institutional research and career development of the applicants; and what support the institutions will continue to provide for the applicants' research during the Fellowship. Awardees under the HSSPFS are required to undertake their continual services in their respective institutions for at least one year upon the completion of the Fellowship.

3. I was awarded a teaching relief grant under the GRF last year. Am I qualified to apply under the HSSPFS?

Yes. As long as you are nominated by your institution, you are eligible to apply for the HSSPFS. However, awardees of the HSSPFS are not allowed to compete in PFS again.

4. I am now holding some project grants awarded by the RGC and other funding agencies. Am I qualified to apply under the HSSPFS?

Yes, provided that the grants are not in the form of fellowship and you are nominated by your institution. However, awardees of the HSSPFS are not allowed to compete in HSSPFS again.

Proposal Preparation

5.  Do I need to propose a new research project for the proposed Fellowship?

No.  HSSPFS is not only intended to provide time and supporting fund (travel, subsistence and dissemination costs) to develop a new research project but also to build on a research program that is already well defined and developed. HSSPFS can be used to support a wide range of research activities provided that these activities will lead to significant research or other outputs by the end of the Fellowship.  Awardees must ensure that financial support for their research work during the Fellowship is readily available or expected from other sources if the project requires project costs.

6.  I submit a GRF proposal for teaching relief grants this year. Later, my institution nominates me for the HSSPFS. Can I submit the same proposal under HSSPFS? Or should I withdraw from GRF?

You should not submit identical proposals and bid funding for identical items under two different funding schemes.  You can withdraw the same proposal from the GRF if you decide to compete under HSSPFS.

7.  May I submit one proposal to GRF (seeking funding support for teaching relief only) and a similar proposal to HSSPFS (seeking funding support for relief of teaching and administrative duties) in the same funding cycle?

RGC will not provide duplicate funding for activities funded.  We will only provide funding which complements the support you have obtained from other sources.  Usually, we expect that the scope of a proposal submitted under the HSSPFS should be larger than a similar proposal submitted under the GRF.  If you are an awardee of HSSPFS and are successful in securing teaching relief for an activity of different scope in GRF, you can begin the Fellowship until the expiration of teaching relief grants in GRF.  If the activity in GRF is of the same scope, you have to choose between GRF / HSSPFS for the source of funding you wish to pursue.  You must declare similarity in your application form. 

8.  May I submit one proposal to GRF (seeking project costs only) and a similar proposal to HSSPFS (seeking funding support for relief of teaching and administrative duties) in the same funding cycle?

Yes.  If a proposal submitted to HSSPFS is pending support from another funding scheme, since HSSPFS proposal will be evaluated independent of other funding schemes, such a proposal will be approved by the HSSPFS only if all components of the proposed project could still be carried out successfully, i.e. the institution should be prepared to provide project costs for the project when the proposal in GRF is not successful.  You must declare similarity in your application form.

9.  May I submit one proposal to GRF (seeking project costs and teaching relief) and a similar proposal to HSSPFS (seeking funding support for relief of teaching and administrative duties) in the same funding cycle?

RGC will not provide duplicate funding for activities funded.  We will only provide funding which complements the support you have obtained from other sources.  If you are an awardee of HSSPFS and are successful in securing both project costs and teaching relief grants in a GRF project, you are allowed to retain GRF’s funding support on project costs only (excluding travel, subsistence and output dissemination costs).  For the teaching relief grants, if the activity is of different scope, then you can begin the Fellowship until the expiration of teaching relief grants in GRF.  If they are of the same scope, you have to choose between GRF / HSSPFS for the source of funding you wish to pursue.  You must declare similarity in your application form.

10.  What should be included in the work plan?

You should give the timetable of the overall research work under your proposed Fellowship, your proposed duration of the Fellowship and the work to be undertaken during the period of the Fellowship.

11.  What should be included in the dissemination plan?

You may mention the outcomes of your research work and how you will manage them.  How will you archive your data?  Will you give others access to the data and other outputs produced in your research while preserving confidentiality, security, intellectual property and other rights?  Your plan should be appropriate and acceptable in your specific area of research.

12.  What forms of outputs are allowed on completion of the Fellowship?

Outputs can be of any form but should be of scholarly nature and not textbooks and straightforward translation.  For proposals concerning Creative Arts, applicants should ensure that the proposals should contain research elements which contribute to academic attainment.  A wide range of research outputs that will lead to significant advances in knowledge, insights of interest or value to the research community is allowed.  They can be publications or other outputs from research conducted prior to the start of the Fellowship.  Applicants should justify the value and appropriateness of the outputs in their applications.

13.  What are the commitments of the institutions?

Institutions are required to:

(a) confirm the eligibility of the nominees;

(b) provide an institutional statement outlining how the Fellowship can fit within relevant institutional research and career development of the applicants; what support the institutions has already provided and will continue to provide for development of the applicant's research programme and for the applicant's research during the Fellowship; and

(c) confirm its agreement to release the applicant from major teaching duties (supervision of postgraduate students are allowed) and all administrative duties or duties other than those stated by the applicants not committing 100% of their time to the Fellowship at paragraph (a) of Section 10 of Part II in the application form.

14.  What types of institutional support are expected?

The institutional support could include travel grants, conference grants, support for early stage development of the proposed research, funding of project costs / networking / communication activities, time-off, provision of additional mentoring or training or sabbatical leave etc.

15.  What are the commitments of the applicants?

Applicants are expected to undertake the continual services in their respective institutions for at least one year upon the completion of the Fellowship.

Budget Preparation

16.  What are the ceilings for the salaries of relief teachers and relief administrative staff?

It is not necessary to find a relief teacher with equivalent salary, status and experience as the applicant.  The applicants and the institutions should decide on the salaries for the replacement with reference to the level and amount of workload expected and justify them on the application forms.  Usually, the salaries for relief teachers taking up purely teaching duties should not exceed the salary of Staff Grade “G” (i.e. Lecturer (U)) of the institutions concerned.  A maximum amount of $1 million per award (covering salary costs for relief teachers and staff, travel, subsistence and output dissemination costs) for a period of up to 12 months may be granted.

17.  Am I allowed to commit less than 100% of my time to the Fellowship so that I can continue with some of my teaching and administrative duties in conjunction with the Fellowship?

Yes, provided that your institution has given consent to this special arrangement but the Fellowship period will still be capped at a maximum of 12 months.

Proposal Submission

18.  Does the applicant need to submit the research details if he / she has already submitted his / her similar proposal under the GRF Funding Scheme in the same funding cycle?

Yes.  The GRF applications and HSSPFS applications are evaluated by different selection panels.

19.  Do I need to sign an undertaking with the institution to the effect that I have to continue my service for at least a year upon the completion of the Fellowship before I submit the application?

Applicants are expected to undertake in the application form to continue their service for at least a year in their respective institutions upon the completion of the Fellowship.  It is up to individual institutions to consider if they need a separate undertaking with their staff.

Evaluation Criteria for HSSPFS

20.  How will the HSSPFS applications be evaluated?

A new selection committee comprising non-local experts in the Humanities and Social Sciences disciplines and relevant to the subject areas of the fellowship applications will be set up. The Chairman of the Humanities and Social Sciences Panel will chair the new selection committee. Applications will be evaluated on a competitive basis through peer review on the following criteria:

(a) the quality of the proposals with regard to the methodology, scope, theoretical framework, and grounding in the relevant literature;

(b) the potential of the proposed work to advance the fields of study in which they are proposed and to make an original and significant contribution to knowledge;

(c) the feasibility of the proposed work and the likelihood that the applicants will execute the work within the proposed timeframe;

(d) the qualifications and track record of the applicants; and

(e) evidence of significant and appropriate institutional support for a Fellowship application.

21.  What would be the success rate for HSSPFS applications?

Not more than 10 awards should be granted for all the institutions per year.  Each institution is allowed to nominate no more than 5 applications per exercise.

22.  Will the RGC evaluate the Work Plan and the Dissemination Plan?

The Work Plan will provide information for the Reviewers to consider whether the applicants could execute the work within the proposed timeframe and the Dissemination Plan may be relevant in considering whether the proposal will contribute to the advancement in knowledge.

23. Would the RGC provide feedback on the unsuccessful applications?

It is the RGC's policy to release the comments made by the External Reviewers and the Selection Committee, if any, to the applicants to help them improve and refine their research methodologies.

Announcement of Results

24.  When will I be informed of the results of the exercise?

Results of the HSSPFS will be announced in end June / early July of the following year through your institution.

25.  What are the awards for HSSPFS awardees?

The Fellowship will provide resources for the employment of relief teachers to relieve all or part of the awardees’ teaching and administrative duties; and the costs of travel, subsistence and dissemination of outputs.

Monitoring of Approved Grants

26. What are the reporting requirements?

HSSPFS award holders are required to submit completion reports upon the completion of the Fellowship reporting on the progress of the work as stated in their workplan in the application forms.

27.  What happens if I leave the academic appointment before the completion of the Fellowship?

The Fellowship will cease and the institution concerned has to return the grant in part or in full to the RGC.

28.  Can the institutions seek the RGC’s approval to change award holder?

No, Fellowship cannot be transferred.

29.  Would my Fellowship be ceased if I leave the institution for another institution in Hong Kong before its completion?

Yes, unless your institution and your receiving institution have reached mutual agreement on the proposed transfer.  In such circumstances, you have to seek RGC’s exceptional approval.