Faculty Development Scheme (FDS)

Fifth Call for Proposals


  • To develop the research capability of individual academic staff in the local self-financing degree-awarding institutions so that they can transfer their research experiences and new knowledge into teaching and learning.


  • Principal Investigators (PIs) - Full-time academic staff spending at least 80% of time in locally-accredited local degree or higher degree work in the local self-financing degree-awarding institutions with at least a one-year renewable contract with the institutions at the time of funding award being made.

  • Institutions are responsible for interpreting and confirming whether an applicant has fulfilled the eligibility requirements announced in the Call for Proposals.

  • Co-Investigators (Co-Is) - no eligibility requirements. The Co-Is can be any personnel working in the same or different local self-financing degree-awarding institutions , or the UGC-funded universities, or public or private local or overseas institutions or organizations.

  • Junior academic staff are especially encouraged to apply under this scheme. In defining the years of service of a junior academic, the previous working experience as a full-time academic staff in UGC-funded universities or local / overseas degree-awarding institutions before the applicant joins a local self-financing degree-awarding institution will be counted.

    Operation Mode:

  • Applications will be submitted on an individual basis for funding support, subject to institutional approval, to conduct individual research projects that inform teaching and learning or discover new knowledge with a maximum project duration of three years.

  • Each applicant is allowed to submit one application under the FDS in the capacity of PI at the same time. There is no quota in the number of application for a Co-I.

  • Expenditure items which support the conduct of a research project such as teaching relief, equipment, research support staff, travel expenses, direct project costs, conference or workshop registration, subsistence, expenses for dissemination of research results, etc. will be considered.

  • Change of PI will normally not be approved before the start of a project or within the first six months of an approved project.

  • If the PI transfers to a non-academic appointment or any appointment outside the local self-financing degree sector, the funded project will normally be terminated. In this regard, the sponsoring institution may nominate a suitable Co-I to become the new PI, and the funded project can be continued in the institution until it completes.

  • If the PI transfers to any academic appointment within the local self-financing degree sector, the funded project can be transferred subject to the mutual agreement of the outgoing and receiving institutions.

  • The above arrangements will be subject to the institutions to decide, but the change of PI and the transfer of funding require the approval of the RGC.

    Expected Deliverables:

  • A wide range of research outputs that will lead to advances in knowledge that could be transferred into teaching and learning, insights of interest or value to the research community are allowed. They can be publications or other outputs. PIs should justify the value and appropriateness of the outputs in their applications.

    Funding Level:

  • Direct costs involved in conducting the research projects.

  • On-costs of 15% of the approved project costs.

  • No upper limit of the approved amount but the level should be comparable with the average approved amount of a General Research Fund project in the UGC-sector. The applicants / institutions would appreciate that given the considerable competition for the limited funds available, justification for individual research projects costing over $1 million will need to be particularly well argued and supported.

  • The threshold limits for applications are $150,000 (inclusive of 15% on-costs) for projects in the fields of Biology & Medicine, Engineering and Physical Sciences, and $100,000 (inclusive of 15% on-costs) for projects in the fields of Business Studies and Humanities & Social Sciences.

    Assessment Criteria:

  • Merit-based assessment criteria would be developed. The academic quality of the proposals will remain the primary evaluation criterion.

  • A peer-review mechanism would be adopted, including formation of an assessment panel and solicitation of local and external reviewers as necessary.

  • PIs are required to submit progress and completion reports for monitoring purposes.

  • Site visits will be conducted by the Monitoring and Assessment Panel to check the actual progress of the projects.