Faculty Development Scheme (FDS)


  • 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, the UGC-funded universities, or other local / overseas institutions or organizations.

  • All eligible academic staff, including junior academics, are encouraged to apply under this scheme.

    Operation Mode:

  • Application should be submitted on an individual basis for funding support, subject to institutional approval, to conduct individual research project that inform teaching and learning or discover new knowledge.

  • The maximum project duration is three years.

  • Each applicant is allowed to submit one application under the FDS in the capacity of PI in each exercise. There is no limit in the number of applications submitted in the capacity of 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. Provision of monthly allowance to an undergraduate student helper for each project will also 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 accepts a non-academic appointment or any appointment outside the local self-financing degree sector, 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 accepts another academic appointment within the local self-financing degree sector, he / she may carry the funded project to the new institution 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 / or the transfer of funding from one institution to another requires the approval of the RGC.

    Expected Deliverables:

  • Research outputs leading to advances in knowledge that could be transferred into teaching and learning, insights of interest or value to the research community, including publications, patents, etc. PIs should elaborate the impact of research 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. Given the considerable competition for the limited funds available, individual research projects costing over $1 million should be well justified.

  • 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.


  • Merit-based assessment criteria:
    - Academic quality of proposals is the primary evaluation criterion.

  • Peer-review mechanism:
    - Proposals to be assessed by the assessment panel and local / overseas external reviewers.

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

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