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Areas of Excellence Scheme

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 formerly under the UGC and five rounds of AoE exercises had been undertaken. With effect from February 2012, the AoE Scheme has been transferred to the RGC.

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 here.

In the fifth round of the AoE Scheme, five proposals were supported for a total amount of HK$378m over a period of eight years.

  • For the past four rounds, a total of HK$427m was allocated to ten AoEs. A total of HK$136m sustained funding was also granted to six projects from the first three rounds for a period of three years. A summary position of the funded projects is listed below:

  • Round Project Title Current
    Status
    Completion
    Date
    Remarks

    First

    Information Technology

    Completed

    December 2005

    Achievements

    Center for Plant and Agricultural Biotechnology (previously known as "Plant and Fungal Biotechnology")

    On-going

    March 2011

    Sustained funding awarded
    Hong Kong Institute of Economics & Business Strategy

    Completed

    December 2006

    Achievements

    Second

    Molecular Neuroscience: Basic Research & Drug Discovery

    On-going

    August 2011

    Sustained funding awarded
    Institute of Molecular Technology for Drug Discovery and Synthesis

    Completed

    September 2010

    Chinese Medicine Research & Further Development

    On-going

    March 2011

    Sustained funding awarded

    Third

    Centre for Marine Environmental Research and Innovative Technology

    On-going

    October 2012

    Sustained funding awarded

    Developmental Genomics & Skeletal Research

    On-going

    June 2013

    Sustained funding awarded

    Fourth

    Centre for Research into Circulating Fetal Nucleic Acids

    On-going

    December 2015

    -

    Control of Pandemic and Inter-Pandemic Influenza

    On-going

    December 2015

    -

    Fifth

    Institute of Network Coding

    On-going

    December 2017

    -

    The Historical Anthropology of Chinese Society
    On-going
    December 2017
    -
    Center for Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma Research
    On-going
    December 2017
    -
    Institute of Molecular Functional Materials
    On-going
    December 2017
    -
    Theory, Modeling, and Simulation of Emerging Electronics

    On-going

    December 2017

    -


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    First Round
    Second Round
    Third Round
    Fourth Round
    Fifth Round