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NSFC / RGC Joint Research Scheme

National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC)/
Research Grants Council (RGC) Joint Research Scheme 2017 / 18 Exercise
Invitation for Applications

  • Aim

    The National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) and the Research Grants Council (RGC) of Hong Kong Joint Research Scheme (JRS) aims to promote collaboration between researchers/research teams in Hong Kong and the Mainland on the basis of complementing existing strengths of both sides. The Scheme supports research proposals jointly submitted by the Mainland and the Hong Kong researchers. Starting from the 2016/17 exercise, the Scheme also offers up to two conference grants to sponsor conferences held in Hong Kong. The six focus areas under the Scheme are: Information Technology; Life Science; New Materials Science; Marine and Environmental Science; Medicine; and Management Science.

    2.   The RGC has reserved an amount of HK$26.25 million for the Hong Kong applicants in the NSFC/RGC JRS 2017/18 exercise.


    A. Research Proposals

  • Eligibility

    3.   The Hong Kong Principal Investigator (PI) should meet fully the requirements for applying the RGC General Research Fund (GRF) (Please refer to paragraph 8(a) in Part II of Explanatory Notes for GRF Application Form "GRF2" which is mounted on the RGC website: http://www.ugc.edu.hk/eng/rgc/form.html). A PI of an on-going NSFC/RGC JRS research project is not allowed to submit a new application for a research grant unless both collaborative partners have submitted their completion reports of the last approved project to the RGC and the NSFC before the preliminary application deadline. Nevertheless, he / she could participate in a new NSFC/RGC JRS research proposal if not in the capacity as a PI. Moreover, applicants should refer to the relevant requirements of the NSFC and ensure their eligibility as Hong Kong PI will be accepted by the NSFC.

    4.   Mainland applicants should check with the NSFC for their eligibility requirements.

    5.   Researchers outside Hong Kong and the Mainland may participate as members of the Hong Kong or the Mainland research team.

  • Funding

    6.   The Scheme aims to support research projects with duration of four years. For Hong Kong applicants, the grants sought for each project should not exceed HK$1.25 million (exclusive of on-costs). On-costs will be granted to the related Hong Kong universities of funded projects on top of the awarded sum. For Mainland applicants, the funding amount per project is around 1 million RMB.

    7.  The RGC funding will provide support for :

    • the salary of research support staff hired by the Hong Kong researchers;

    • equipment in Hong Kong;

    • general expenses, including consumables that are directly related to the research work;

    • expenses for receiving the Mainland collaborators in Hong Kong;

    • passage for Hong Kong researchers and research postgraduate students to visit collaborators in the Mainland; and

    • grants for Hong Kong researchers and research postgraduate students to attend international conference.

    8.   The NSFC funding will provide support for :

    • research expenditure;

    • expenses for receiving Hong Kong collaborators in the Mainland;

    • passage for the Mainland researchers to visit collaborators in Hong Kong; and

    • other expenses allowed by the NSFC.

    9.   The Hong Kong and the Mainland partners of the supported projects will receive funding from the RGC and the NSFC separately, and the grants can only be used in Hong Kong and the Mainland respectively.

  • How to apply

    10.   Parallel submissions of both applications by the Hong Kong and the Mainland applicants are required. While applications must be submitted before the deadlines as outlined below, Hong Kong applicants should check with their universities for internal closing dates. Late submissions will not be processed.

    11.   Hong Kong applications should be submitted to the RGC through respective universities. Mainland applications are to be submitted to the Office of Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan Affairs of the NSFC. Detailed information on application procedures of the NSFC is available at <http://www.nsfc.gov.cn>.

    12.   It is the obligation of both the Hong Kong and the Mainland applicants to ensure that their respective applications contain sufficient and consistent information for evaluation. Incomplete submission or inconsistent information would lead to disqualification of application. The project period of both sides should have the same start and end dates. All proposals funded in the 2017/18 exercise should commence on 1 January 2018.

    13.   Hong Kong applicants should submit 3 hard copies and a soft copy (with size up to 2 MB per proposal) of their preliminary proposals through the Research Office of their universities to the RGC by 5:00 pm of 10 February 2017. They are also required to submit to the RGC 3 hard copies and a soft copy of the proposals submitted by their Mainland partners to the NSFC by 20 February 2017 at the latest. The application to be submitted to the RGC should be prepared in accordance with the "Template for Preliminary Proposal for Research Grants" (NSFC/RGC 1a (12/16)) as set out in the Appendix and should be jointly signed by the collaborators of both places. Each preliminary proposal should be confined to three A4 size sheets, i.e. six sides including all attachments and references (but excluding the university's endorsement). In order to ensure consistency and fairness to all applicants, applicants must complete the applications in the following standard RGC format:

      Font : Times New Roman
      Font Size : 12 point
      Margin : 1-inch all round
      Spacing : Single-line spacing

    Failure to comply with the application format and/or the allowable page will lead to disqualification of the proposal.

    14.   After the initial screening, the RGC and the NSFC will jointly work out a mutually agreed shortlist of which full proposals will be invited. The RGC will notify the shortlisted Hong Kong applicants around end of April 2017 for submission of full proposals.

    15.   The deadline for submission of full proposals to the RGC will be in mid June 2017. Shortlisted Hong Kong applicants will be invited through their respective universities to submit 6 hard copies and a soft copy (with size up to 5 MB per proposal) of full proposals using the specified form "NSFC/RGC Joint Research Scheme Application Form for Full Proposal". Each full application must be accompanied by an agreement of collaboration between the Hong Kong and the Mainland applicants.

  • Selection

    16.   The main factors for consideration are the scientific merit of the proposal, the extent to which the existing strengths of each side may complement each other in a proposal and opportunities for training young researchers. Balance of different disciplines may be taken into consideration when the scientific aspects of two proposals are considered being equal.

    17.   The RGC and the NSFC will arrange to assess the research proposals received in accordance with their respective peer-review procedures. A Joint Selection Committee, comprising representatives from the RGC and the NSFC, will conduct a final assessment of the applications. The Joint Selection Committee will only fund proposals which have been supported by both sides.

  • Announcement of Results

    18.  The results of the final selection will be announced in end October 2017. The results will also be published on the RGC homepage.

  • Monitoring and Assessment

    19.   Hong Kong PIs are required to submit mid-term and completion reports through their universities to the RGC for monitoring and assessment. The reports will be evaluated in part by the level of collaboration between the Hong Kong and Mainland teams involved, and the PIs are required to show tangible evidence of collaboration via the research output in their Mid-term/Completion Reports. Details of reporting requirements would be provided to the successful applicants in the announcement of funding results.

  • Conditions

    20.   The RGC will not be responsible for any expenditure incurred by the project in excess of the approved funding.

    21.   Neither the RGC nor the NSFC will provide any insurance cover in connection with the project or the use of the grant for insurance cover. Applicants should make their own arrangements. The RGC and the NSFC will not accept any responsibility arising in any way from the visits and the activities undertaken by the researchers.

    22.   As a matter of policy, the RGC does not claim any intellectual property rights arising from the projects it funds. Researchers, their collaborators and their universities concerned should make their own prior arrangements with regard to the ownership of such rights.

    23.   Funded projects may be selected by the RGC and the NSFC to present their progress during a site visit. Selected projects will be separately notified of the date and logistic requirements in advance.


    B. Conference proposals

  • Eligibility

    24.   Either the Hong Kong PI or a Co-Investigator in the Hong Kong team should meet fully the requirements for applying the RGC Early Career Scheme (ECS) (Please refer to paragraph 8(a) in Part II of Explanatory Notes for ECS Application Form "ECS2" which is mounted on the RGC website: http://www.ugc.edu.hk/eng/rgc/form.html). A PI of an on-going NSFC/RGC JRS conference project is not allowed to submit a new application unless the Hong Kong PI has submitted the completion report of the last approved conference project to the RGC before the application deadline. Nevertheless, he / she could participate in a new NSFC/RGC JRS conference proposal if not in the capacity as a PI. Each PI can only submit one conference proposal in each exercise.

    25.   The Hong Kong PI should collaborate with a Mainland Co-organiser who should meet the eligibility requirements as "young scientists" specified by the NSFC. Enquiries may be directed to the Office of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan Affairs of the NSFC via email at gat@nsfc.gov.cn.

  • Funding

    26.   The Scheme aims to facilitate Hong Kong and Mainland young researchers of similar fields to develop new collaboration through dissemination of their recent and unpublished research work. Two conferences, one in science disciplines (viz. Biology & Medicine, Engineering and Physical Sciences disciplines) and one in non-science disciplines (viz Humanities, Social Sciences and Business Studies disciplines) to be held in Hong Kong, will be selected for funding.

    27.   The RGC funding will provide support for a two or three-day conference to be held in Hong Kong. The conference / workshop should take place between 1 May 2017 and 30 June 2018 inclusive. The maximum amount of RGC grants sought is HK$250,000 per conference.

    28.   The RGC grant covers travel, accommodation and subsistence costs of guest speakers from Mainland to Hong Kong, and the direct organising costs, e.g. reservation of meeting venue, production of conference/workshop materials etc. Expenditure on meals is not covered by the grant.

  • How to apply

    29.   For each conference, there should be a Hong Kong PI and a Co-organiser from the Mainland. The Hong Kong PI is responsible for the overall coordination of the event; and the Mainland Co-organiser assists in drawing up the main programme, e.g. suggestion on guest speaker(s) to be invited. The conference may comprise sessions where Mainland and local guest speakers present on-going research work; local postdoctoral fellows and postgraduate research students post up their current work; and/or interested local parties attend hands-on sessions to acquire new techniques.

    30.   It is the obligation of both the Hong Kong and the Mainland applicants to ensure that their applications contain sufficient and consistent information for evaluation. Incomplete submission or inconsistent information would lead to disqualification of application.

    31.   Applications should be submitted through the Research Office of their universities to the RGC by 5:00 pm of 10 February 2017. Applicants should check with the Research Offices of respective universities for internal deadlines. For each application please submit a soft copy (with size up to 2Mb per application) and three hard copies of:

    1. application form (should be prepared in accordance with the "Template for Conference Proposal" (NSFC/RGC 1c) as set out in the Appendix and should be jointly signed by the collaborators of both places;

    2. half-page summary by each guest speaker (i.e. both Mainland and Hong Kong) on his/her presentation at the proposed conference; the current understanding in the field on the topic he / she will be speaking on; and the latest research findings and their significance; and

    3. one A-4 page (with a maximum of 400 words) curriculum vitae (CV) for each guest speaker, with information on name, academic qualifications, previous academic position(s) held (with date(s)) & present position (state if applicant is a visiting academic from overseas), previous relevant research work, publication records including the five most representative publications in the recent five years and five representative publications beyond the recent five years (10 at maximum), and others including research-related prizes and awards, brief description of experience in consultancies, service as a referee in evaluating other grant applications, patents, PhD theses supervised, etc.

    32.   Hong Kong applicants may refer to the Proposal Template enclosed at the Appendix to the application form in preparing their CVs.

  • Selection

    33.   The main factors of consideration include the research standing of the Main and Co-organisers, and that of the guest speakers; the degree of intra- and inter-institutional participation by local and Mainland researchers and students; and the prospects for new/longer-term research collaboration between Hong Kong and Mainland researchers.

    34.   The RGC will select the conference proposals to be supported in accordance with its assessment mechanism.

  • Announcement of Results

    35.   The results of the selection of conference proposals will be announced in end April 2017. The results would also be published on the RGC homepage.

  • Monitoring and Assessment

    36.   The Hong Kong PIs of the funded conferences are required to submit completion reports to the RGC through the university within six months of the conclusion of the event for monitoring and assessment purposes. Details of reporting requirements would be provided to the successful applicants in the announcement of funding results.

  • Conditions

    37.   Participants (including guest speakers) of the conference should include both Hong Kong and Mainland researchers. The Hong Kong PI should ensure that at least 50% of the participants (including guest speakers) from Hong Kong are at Assistant Professor rank under UGC-funded universities while 50% of the participants (including guest speakers) from the Mainland should meet the eligibility requirements as "young scientists" specified by the NSFC. Enquiry regarding the NSFC requirements may be directed to the Office of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan Affairs of the NSFC via email at gat@nsfc.gov.cn.

    38.   The RGC will not be responsible for any expenditure incurred by the project in excess of the approved funding.

    39.   Neither the RGC nor the NSFC will provide any insurance cover in connection with the conference or the use of the grant for insurance cover. Applicants should make their own arrangements. The RGC and the NSFC will not accept any responsibility arising in any way from the visits and the activities undertaken by the researchers.

    40.   The RGC and the NSFC may send representatives to attend funded conferences as observers. Selected conferences will be separately notified of the date and logistic requirements in advance.

  • Enquiries

    41.   All enquiries should be directed to Research Offices of respective universities in the first instance. Their contact details are as follows:

    Ms Cecilia Sun
    City University of Hong Kong
    83 Tat Chee Avenue
    Kowloon Tong, Kowloon

    Tel: 3442 6832
    Fax: 3442 0136

    Ms Kit Ng
    Hong Kong Baptist University
    Kowloon Tong
    Kowloon

    Tel: 3411 7940
    Fax: 3411 5133

     

    Ms Connie Lam
    Lingnan University
    8 Castle Peak Road
    Tuen Mun, New Territories

    Tel: 2616 7683
    Fax: 2591 9618

    Ms Carmen Tang
    The Chinese University of Hong Kong
    Shatin
    New Territories

    Tel: 3943 1996
    Fax: 3942 0993

    Ms Clara Fong
    The Hong Kong Institute of Education
    10 Lo Ping Road
    Tai Po, New Territories

    Tel: 2948 7700
    Fax: 2948 7697

    Miss Christine Yeung
    The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
    Hung Hom
    Kowloon

    Tel: 2766 4046
    Fax: 2355 7651

    Mrs Jenny Cheng
    The Hong Kong University of Science
    and Technology
    Clear Water Bay
    Kowloon

    Tel: 2358 6946
    Fax: 2358 1541

    Miss Annie Ngai
    The University of Hong Kong
    Pokfulam Road
    Hong Kong

    Tel: 2859 1911
    Fax: 2803 0558

     

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    UGC Secretariat
    19 December 2016