One-off Collaborative Research Fund Coronavirus Disease and Novel Infectious Disease Exercise

This is to invite applications for allocation from the One-off CRF COVID-19 and NID Research Exercise. Under this one-off exercise -

  • research in any facet and discipline can be considered so long as it is related to COVID-19 and NID. In particular, we call on innovative ideas to address the impact of COVID-19 and NID, including solutions that can help mitigate the health, social, economic, environmental and other impact;
  • priority will be given to COVID-19 research; and
  • where other things being equal, research projects that may be completed earlier will be given priority. In any case, the projects must commence on or before 30 June 2021 as are projects under the CRF 2020/21 Exercise.

Details of the one-off exercise are provided in ensuing paragraphs.

Budget

2. In view of the recent COVID-19 outbreak, an additional $150 million (exclusive of on-cost) has been allocated by the University Grants Committee (UGC) and Research Grants Council (RGC) to support collaborative research projects related to COVID-19 and NID under the CRF. Like other CRF applications, project teams under this one-off exercise should pursue interdisciplinary, collaborative goals which would not be possible by working on the project’s individual components in isolation of each other. The net amount of funding requested from the RGC (excluding matching funding from university and funds obtained from other sources) should range from $2 million to $10 million per project.

Assessment Criteria

3. Only group research projects related to COVID-19 and NID will be funded under this one-off exercise. Equipment proposals will not be considered.

4. Same as the CRF Collaborative Research Project Grant, the one-off exercise encourages research groups in UGC-funded universities to engage in collaborative research across disciplines and across universities with a view to enhancing the research output of universities in terms of the level of attainment, quantity, dimensions and speed. It provides funding for staff, equipment and general expenses related to the supported projects. In assessing proposals, the RGC puts emphasis on capacity building and the potential of a proposal to develop into an area of strength. On approval, the project teams should not break the award down into individual components. They should pursue genuine collaborative research. The selection criteria under the one-off exercise are at Annex.

Submission of Application

5. Application should be submitted through the RGC Electronic System under the following arrangement:

  • Submission Intention by using the prescribed form (CRF(GR)-COVID19&NID) must reach the UGC Secretariat through the Research Office by 12 June 2020;
  • Full Proposal by using the prescribed form (CRF(GR&R)-1 must reach the UGC Secretariat through the Research Office by 17 July 2020;

Application forms are available on the RGC website (http://www.ugc.edu.hk/eng/rgc/). In addition to electronic submission, universities should provide two hard copies and one soft copy of the proposals. For the soft copy, please save all files in one CD/flash drive, with the file names following that of the project reference number.

6. For applications already submitted under the CRF 2020/21 exercise in March 2020, the CRF Committee will decide whether COVID-19 and NID related applications should be funded under the CRF 2020/21 exercise or this one-off exercise. Resubmission of unsuccessful CRF 2020/21 proposals will not be considered under this one-off exercise.

7. In line with the prevailing arrangement for CRF and other RGC schemes, an applicant may only submit one proposal as the Project Co-ordinator under this one-off exercise.

Disbursement Arrangement

8. The funding approved under the CRF will be released to the coordinating universities in two instalments. The second instalment will be released subject to satisfactory progress of previous work reported in the mid-term progress report or the related annual progress report depending on project duration. Please refer to the guidelines on "Disbursement, Accounting and Monitoring Arrangement for Funding Schemes Administered by the Research Grants Council" for details.

9. Universities are required to confirm that satisfactory arrangements will be worked out among the universities concerned for the ownership and management of the equipment/facilities, if any, and for meeting the recurrent costs. The CRF will not cover any recurrent expenditure (including maintenance) that may have to be borne by the university in consequence.

Code of Conduct and Enquiries

10. The RGC is fully committed to the principle of honesty, integrity and fair play in the conduct of its business. All applicants should comply with the RGC Code of Conduct, which is available on the RGC website (https://www.ugc.edu.hk/doc/eng/rgc/guidelines/code/code_of_conduct.pdf). If your staff have any enquiries about the application procedures or other aspects of this circular, please call Mr Cyprian Chan, Assistant Secretary-General (Research) 2 (Tel: 2844 9916 or email: [email protected]) or Miss Wendy Chan, Senior Research Administrator (Research Assessment Exercise) 1 (Tel: 3793 4146 or email: [email protected]).

 

 

 

Annex

Selection Criteria for One-off CRF COVID-19 and NID Research Proposals

The RGC takes into account the following factors in assessing the fundability of a proposal:

  • Research in any facet and discipline can be considered so long as it is related to COVID-19 and NID. In particular, the one-off exercise calls on innovative ideas to address the impact of COVID-19 and NID, including solutions that can help mitigate the health, social, economic, environmental and other impact;
  • Priority will be given to COVID-19 research;
  • Where other things being equal, research projects that may be completed earlier will be given priority;
  • Academic merits;
  • Long term goal of the proposal and potential to develop into an area of strength;
  • Opportunities for effective synergism among the participating researchers, research groups and universities/institutions; and
  • Viability of the proposal and the project team's ability in monitoring the collaboration.