The French National Research Agency (Agency Nationale de la Recherche, ANR)/RGC Joint Research Scheme

The French National Research Agency (ANR) /
Research Grants Council (RGC) Joint Research Scheme 2021/22 Exercise
Invitation for Applications


The French National Research Agency (Agence Nationale de la Recherche, ANR) and the Research Grants Council (RGC) of Hong Kong Joint Research Scheme (JRS) aims to strengthen the collaboration between French and Hong Kong research communities. Both basic and applied research proposals of high academic merits in all areas are invited under the scheme.


2.   Hong Kong applicants should meet fully the requirements for applying for the RGC General Research Fund (GRF) (Please refer to the Explanatory Notes for GRF Application Form “GRF2” which is uploaded on the RGC website.

3.   A Hong Kong Principal Investigator (PI) of an on-going ANR/RGC JRS project is not allowed to submit a new application in the capacity of PI unless both collaborative partners have submitted their completion reports of the last approved project to the RGC and the ANR before the application deadline. Nevertheless, he / she could participate in a new ANR/RGC JRS funding proposal in the capacity of Co-Investigator.

4.   French applicants should check with the ANR for their eligibility requirements. Only applications that fully meet the requirements of both the RGC and the ANR would be accepted.


5.   The scheme aims to support research projects with duration of 36 or 48 months. Other durations will not be accepted. The indicative average funding for French applicants is about €280,000 per project whereas the funding limit for Hong Kong applicants is HK$3 million per project (exclusive of on-costs).

6.   The RGC funding will provide support for :

  • the salary of research support staff hired by the Hong Kong researchers;
  • funding for employment of relief teachers;
  • equipment and high-performance computing services in Hong Kong;
  • research-related software licence / dataset;
  • general expenses, including consumables that are directly related to the research work;
  • passage and subsistence costs for Hong Kong researchers and research postgraduate students to visit collaborators in France and to attend international conference;
  • passage and subsistence costs for the Hong Kong PI to attend one project review workshop in France for presentation of mid-term and/or final reports if so required by the RGC; and
  • output dissemination costs.

7.   The Hong Kong and the French partners of the supported projects will receive funding from the RGC and the ANR separately. The RGC funds are solely for use in Hong Kong and in supporting the passage and subsistence costs of Hong Kong researchers and research postgraduate students.

How to apply

8.   A one-stage application process is adopted in the 2021/22 exercise. There is a quota of five submissions for each UGC-funded university.

9.   Prior to the submission of joint proposal, the French applicants should complete, on behalf of the joint project team, the pre-registration on the ANR on-line system. The deadline for pre-registration is 1 December 2020 at 1300 hours (Paris local time). Only applicants who have completed the pre-registration via the ANR on-line system can submit applications.

10.   Following the pre-registration by the French applicants, parallel submission of applications by the Hong Kong and French applicants are required. The Hong Kong and French applicants should prepare a joint proposal following ANR’s format1 which should be submitted to the RGC and ANR in parallel. French applicants should submit the joint proposals via the online system of the ANR by end of April 2021 tentatively. Detailed information on application procedures of the ANR is available at the ANR website:

11.   Hong Kong applicants should submit, in addition to the joint proposal, an Application Supplement to the RGC. The Application Supplement should be prepared in accordance with the “ANR/RGC Joint Research Scheme Application Supplement (For Hong Kong applicants)” (ANR/RGC 1), as set out in the Appendix. The RGC will not accept proposals without the Application Supplement.

12.   Hong Kong applicants should submit two hard copies and one soft copy of the same joint proposal together with the Application Supplement (ANR/RGC 1), through the Research Offices of their universities to the RGC within three working days at 1700 hours (Hong Kong time) after the submission deadline of the joint proposal as specified by the ANR in due course. The RGC will inform all universities of the RGC’s submission deadline after the announcement of the ANR’s submission deadline.

13.   While applications must be submitted before the deadlines as outlined above, Hong Kong applicants should check with their universities for internal closing date, if any. Late submissions will not be processed.

14.   It is the obligation of both the Hong Kong and French applicants to ensure that their respective applications contain sufficient and consistent information for evaluation. The project period of both sides should have the same start and end dates. Incomplete submission or inconsistent information would lead to disqualification of application.

15.   Applicants are requested to provide a brief update setting out any essential changes to the applications, i.e. the eligibility of the PIs, alternative funding obtained, declaration of similar / related proposals, investigator(s)'s CV, grant records, relationship with nominated reviewers, etc. by 2 July 2021. Such updates should be confined to the essential parts of the original proposals, and applicants should not use the opportunity to hand in a substantially changed proposal.

16.   The universities concerned must obtain and provide all the necessary ethics / safety approvals to the RGC by 2 July 2021. If no confirmation of such approval is provided to the RGC by the stipulated deadline, the relevant application will be regarded as being withdrawn and the RGC and ANR will stop processing it.

1 The joint proposal is expected to be written in English. If the joint proposal is prepared in French, the Hong Kong PI should submit an English version to the RGC.


17.   The RGC and the ANR will arrange to assess the research proposals received in accordance with their respective evaluation rules and will jointly select applications to be supported. The proposals should reflect a high degree of cooperation and collaboration between both French and Hong Kong partners in the planning, development and execution of the project. Collaborating partners should, as far as possible, be mutually engaged throughout the course of the project. Only proposals, which have been jointly supported by both sides, will be considered for funding.

18.   The evaluation criteria include:

  1. Relevance of the proposal to the call;
  2. Technical and scientific quality of the proposal;
  3. Quality of the project management and methodology;
  4. Global impact of the proposal;
  5. Quality of and good synergies between the partners;
  6. Mobilisation of resources;
  7. Added value to be expected from the French-Hong Kong research collaboration compared to a project funded by either ANR or RGC only; and
  8. Balanced scientific and financial contributions.
Announcement of Funding Results

19.   The results of the final selection will be announced around October 2021. The results will also be published on the RGC homepage.


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

21.   The RGC will not provide insurance cover in connection with the project or allow the use of the grant for insurance cover. Applicants should make their own arrangements. The RGC 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 and the ANR do not claim any intellectual property rights arising from the funded projects. Researchers, their collaborators and their universities concerned should make their own prior arrangements with regard to the ownership of such rights and according to the ANR procedures if applicable. However, a suitable acknowledgement of the RGC and the ANR funding should be included in any equipment / facilities purchased and any publication / publicity arising from the work done on the research project funded under this scheme.

23.   Project review workshops may be organized for the Hong Kong PIs to present their mid-term and/or final reports. Hong Kong applicants can include the expenses for travel of the Hong Kong PIs for one workshop in France in the budget. The RGC will notify the project teams concerned in advance if such workshop would be organised. The budget for attending the workshop is not transferrable.


24.   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
Tel: 3442 6832
Fax: 3442 0136
Ms Fiona Wong
Hong Kong Baptist University
Kowloon Tong
Tel: 3411 6499
Fax: 3411 5133


Ms Connie Lam
Lingnan University
8 Castle Peak Road
Tuen Mun
New Territories
Tel: 2616 7683
Fax: 2591 9618
Ms Joanne Tsang
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
New Territories
Tel: 3943 1837
Fax: 3942 0993
Ms Clara Fong
The Education University of Hong Kong
10 Lo Ping Road
Tai Po
New Territories
Tel: 2948 7700
Fax: 2948 7697
Miss Christine Yeung
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Hung Hom
Tel: 2766 4046
Fax: 2355 7651
Ms Catherine Leung
The Hong Kong University of Science
and Technology
Clear Water Bay
Tel: 2358 6946
Fax: 2358 1541
Miss Charmaine Tse
The University of Hong Kong
Pokfulam Road
Hong Kong
Tel: 2859 2275
Fax: 2803 0558

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UGC Secretariat
November 2020