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Application for CRF 2020/21

Applications for Collaborative Research Fund are assessed by the Collaborative Research Fund Committee, which is assisted by a number of external experts from all over the world. The RGC currently has a database of more than 13,000 experts whose services may be called upon to assess applications for Collaborative Research Fund.

For 2020/21 exercise, please click here for the call circular issued by Secretary, RGC to the Heads of UGC-funded universities inviting applications.

  • Eligibility

    Effective from funding exercises for 2007/08, only academic staff members whose conditions of employment meet ALL the following requirements are eligible for application of RGC grants as Project Coordinator (PC):

    1. they have a full-time1 appointment in the university proper2 of UGC-funded universities;

    2. they are in Staff Grades from 'A' to 'I'3 as defined in the Common Data Collection Format (i.e. from 'Professor' to 'Assistant Lecturer');

    3. they are primarily engaged in and spend at least 80% of their time in degree or higher degree work4 at the university proper; and

    4. their salary is wholly funded5 by the university proper.

    Visiting staff will only be eligible if they have a full-time appointment in the university proper covering the whole project period. Staff supported by external research grants6 are however not eligible.

    As a transitional measure, academic staff who are engaged in non-degree programmes which are still funded by the UGC may also apply as the PC. Eligible staff in this category must be wholly funded from the General Funds of the institution(s) concerned. This arrangement would continue until such time when the relevant programmes are no longer funded by the UGC. Cases of an exceptional nature (including circumstances not covered by the above rules) will be considered by the RGC on a case-by-case basis.

    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 polytechnic staff grades.
    4 A Project Coordinator who is / will be seconded to work full-time or part-time at the two Innovation and Technology (I&T) clusters ([email protected] and [email protected]) at the Hong Kong Science Park is eligible to apply for the CRF.
    5 Excluding staff members who are receiving income from paid appointments outside the university proper or who is supported by external research grants.
    6 These grants are normally awarded for a designated purpose.
  • Types of Grant

      There are two types of grants under the CRF:

    • Collaborative Research Equipment Grant

      The main objectives of the Equipment Grant are to:

      1. enable the acquisition of major research facilities or equipment, including major library acquisitions for research, which cannot otherwise be afforded by one university and which can be used for collaborative research;

      2. assist universities in "leveraging" support from equipment suppliers with a view to stretching the value of the RGC's funds further than could normally be possible by making small allocations in connection with individual projects.

      3. provide funding for group user fee (for users from RGC funded collaborative research projects) to access major user facilities (e.g. to pay for the access/use of some existing core facilities/equipment instead of procuring new ones)7

    • Collaborative Research Project Grant

      The RGC has also launched an initiative to support group research starting from 1997/98. The initiative is intended to encourage research groups in UGC-funded universities to engage in collaborative research across disciplines and/or across universities with a view to enhancing the research output of universities in terms of the level of attainment, quantity, dimensions and/or speed.

      Project Coordinators of Collaborative Research Project Grant projects can apply for "renewal" funding. A "renewal" proposal should be an extension of the current project led by the same Project Coordinator and should have its own goal and a new or extended research objective. The applications will be assessed alongside with other Collaborative Research Project Grant proposals.

  • 7 The requirement of 50% matching funding from participating universities still applies.

  • Criteria for Consideration of Grant

    • Collaborative Research Equipment Grant

      The following criteria should be used in assessing the fundability of a proposal:

      1. the merit of the proposal, its contribution to academic/professional development and potential for application, and benefit to tertiary institutions in particular and Hong Kong in general;

      2. the scope for collaborative research/joint use, and the degree of such usage;

      3. feasibility in implementation;

      4. any university's support, including that of the sponsoring/collaborating universities/institutions;

      5. the prospect of external funding;

      6. maximum value of money; and

      7. the availability of similar facilities/library acquisitions elsewhere in Hong Kong.

    • Collaborative Research Project Grant

      The following criteria should be used to assess the fundability of a proposal:

      1. the academic merits;

      2. the long term goal of the proposal and its potential to develop into an area of strength;

      3. the opportunities for effective synergism among the participating researchers, research groups and universities/institutions; and

      4. the viability of the proposal, particularly in terms of its project management. The project team's ability to put in place an effective governance structure to monitor collaborating work and to ensure prudent deployment of resources would be important considerations.