RGC Research Fellow Scheme (RFS) and RGC Senior Research Fellow Scheme (SRFS) Open for Nominations (2022/23 Exercise)

RFS and SRFS are operated on a regular yearly basis to provide sustained support to exceptionally outstanding academics in UGC-funded universities to facilitate their research efforts and promote research excellence.

The target group of RFS and SRFS are stellar researchers at Associate Professor rank and full Professor rank respectively. For eligibility of RFS/ SRFS candidates, please refer to the details as set out in the Operation Guide for the RGC Research Fellow Scheme and RGC Senior Research Fellow Scheme pdf file. You may wish to note that, as per the RGC’s decision at its latest meeting on 12 June 2021, with effect from this exercise (i.e. 2022/23), an additional eligibility criterion is included for both RFS and SRFS to better reflect the objective of the two schemes to provide sustained support for exceptionally outstanding academics at their mid-career:

"While no restriction/ limit on age is imposed, the candidate's remaining years of tenured service should be sufficient to complete a full course of the fellowship before attaining the supporting university’s official normal retirement age."

Quota and Fellowship

In the 2022/23 exercise, RFS and SRFS will each provide research funding support to ten awardees for a period of 60 months for teaching and administrative duty relief. The funding covers salary costs for relief teachers and related research expenses including staff, equipment, travel, subsistence and dissemination costs, but not "on costs". Supporting universities are required to make their own provision for "on-costs".

Each RFS awardee will be conferred the title “RGC Research Fellow (研資局研究學者)”, and the supporting university will receive a fellowship grant at around $5.2 million per award (a uniform rate is applied for both non-clinical and clinical academics) over a period of 60 months.

Each SRFS awardee will be conferred the title “RGC Senior Research Fellow (研資局高級研究學者)”, and the supporting university will receive a fellowship grant at around $7.8 million per award (a uniform rate is applied for both non-clinical and clinical academics) over a period of 60 months.

Submission of Nominations

Each UGC-funded university may nominate up to six candidates (at Associate Professor rank) for RFS and six candidates (at full Professor rank) for SRFS. Each nomination should include the research proposal of the project to be undertaken by the nominated candidate during the fellowship period.

Nominations should be submitted with one soft copy in text-searchable PDF (saved in DVD/ USB memory stick) and two sets of hard copies (including the original version) delivered to:

Assistant Secretary-General (Research) Special Duties 1
University Grants Committee Secretariat
7/F Shui On Centre
6 - 8 Harbour Road
Wanchai
Hong Kong

Nominations should reach the UGC Secretariat by 5:00 p.m. on 30 November 2021 (Tuesday). Late nomination will not be processed.

Nominees of RFS and SRFS of all academic disciplines are subject to assessment by either one of the two selection panels: (i) Humanities, Social Sciences and Business Studies (H-Panel); and (ii) Sciences, Medicine, Engineering and Technology (S-Panel), which have been renamed from “HSSB Panel” and “STEM Panel” respectively. Shortlisted finalists for RFS/ SRFS will be invited for interview by the selection panel concerned between May and June 2022.

Taking into consideration that senior academics would be expected to take up more responsibilities for nurturing and mentoring younger researchers, the assessment metrics for SRFS have been fine-tuned to give more weight to a candidate’s attribute in leadership and commitment to mentoring junior researchers.

Matters Requiring Attention

Revised Nomination Form and Guidance Notes

At the RGC meeting held on 12 December 2020, it was agreed that all RGC funding scheme documents including application/ nomination forms and guidelines would be revised in order to improve consistency, operational effectiveness and transparency. The nomination form and guidance notes for RFS/ SRFS have been revised for adoption in the 2022/23 exercise. Major revisions include improved language and tone, improved structure for navigation, reduced duplication, and improved format and consistency.

Nominees and supporting universities are advised to read the nomination details as set out in the operation guide and the guidance notes carefully before completing the nomination form.

Declaration of Time Commitment

At its meeting held on 12 June 2021, the RGC decided that starting from the 2022/23 funding exercise, an applicant/ nominee would be required to –

  1. declare updated time commitment for on-going research projects (if any) irrespective of whether the projects are funded by the UGC/ RGC in the application/ nomination for RGC funding schemes; and
  2. declare in the application/ nomination form the overall amount of time spent on research in percentage terms and justifications on how he/ she would be able to take up an additional research project if funded should the number of on-going projects being held by him/ her exceed the thresholds set for individual research project (i.e. three) and collaborative research project (i.e. two).

A full set of the operation guide, nomination form (RFS-SRFS-1) and guidance notes (RFS-SRFS-2) are attached for your ready reference. These documents, together with a set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), are also available at https://www.ugc.edu.hk/eng/rgc/funding_opport/rrfs/ for your easy access.

Enquiries

For enquiries about the nomination procedures or other aspects of the RFS/SRFS, please feel free to contact the UGC Secretariat via email: RFS@ugc.edu.hk.