Strategic Topics Grant

Strategic Topics Grant 2023/24
Call for Preliminary Proposals

This is to invite submission of preliminary proposals for the Strategic Topics Grant (STG) and to provide details of the procedures to be followed.

Background

STG is set up to support collaborative research in specific areas which can help Hong Kong overcome imminent challenges and tap fast-evolving opportunities. Applicants are required to submit research proposals relevant to the strategic topics announced by the Research Grants Council (RGC) for each exercise.

Budget

The overall budget for the STG 2023/24 exercise is $150 million. Mandatory matching funds are required from University Grants Committee (UGC)-funded universities for approved projects on a 90% (RGC) / 10% (university(s)) basis. The net amount of funding requested from RGC (excluding on-costs, matching funding from university and funds obtained from other sources) should range from $10 million to $40 million per project.

Duration of the Project

A STG project could last for up to five years.

Strategic Topics

In line with the objectives of the STG, project teams should pursue interdisciplinary, collaborative goals which would not be possible by working on the project’s individual components. Applications for STG 2023/24 exercise should be made under one of the strategic topics as listed below:

  1. Using Artificial Intelligence to Address Imminent Challenges in Health Care
  2. Striving towards Carbon Neutrality before 2050
  3. Establishing Hong Kong as the Leading Integrated Circuits, and Opto-electronics Innovation and Technology Hub in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area
  4. Managing the Socio-economic Implications of Pandemic and Other Public Health Challenges
  5. Innovative and Environmental-friendly Construction Technologies and Materials

Assessment Criteria

The preliminary STG proposals will be assessed based on the following criteria:

  1. the academic merits;
  2. the long-term goal of the proposal and its potential to help Hong Kong overcome imminent challenges / tap fast-evolving opportunities under the strategic topics;
  3. credentials of the project team;
  4. existence of a clear strategy; and
  5. sound structure for an excellent research project.

Declaration of Time Commitment

Applicant will need to provide the numbers of both on-going individual research projects and on-going collaborative research projects being held by him / her in any capacity. If the Project Coordinator (PC) holds more than three on-going individual research projects or more than two on-going collaborative research projects, he / she will need to provide the overall amount of time spent on research in percentage terms and justifications on how he / she would be able to take up this additional research project if funded while maintaining the research quality.

Application Procedures

Application should be made in the prescribed form for the STG and must be submitted through the applicant's affiliated university. Relevant application form and guidelines are set out in the Guidance Documents which can be downloaded from RGC website (https://www.ugc.edu.hk/eng/rgc/funding_opport/stg/). The number of applications to be submitted by each university would be capped at 5. All applications must be submitted to the UGC Secretariat by 5:00 pm on 8 September 2022. Late application will not be entertained. Universities are required to provide two hard copies and one soft copy of each proposal to the Secretariat. For the soft copy, please save all files in one CD / USB drive with file names and project reference number clearly marked on it.

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to submit full proposal for further consideration in December 2022 / January 2023 and funding decision will be announced in around July 2023.

Matters Requiring Attention

May I draw applicants' attention to the following matters:

  1. applicant is not allowed to submit the same proposal under STG and Areas of Excellence Scheme / Theme-based Research Scheme in the same exercise;
  2. applicant is only allowed to submit one application in the capacity of PC under the STG;
  3. the arrangement of “right of reply” will be adopted in the full proposal stage in this exercise; and
  4. as part of the RGC’s initiative in enhancing collaboration with the Innovation and Technology Commission (ITC), applicant who contemplate applying for funding support from the Innovation and Technology Fund at a later stage may provide a technology transfer plan in the preliminary proposal. The technology transfer plan will be passed to the ITC for advance information. This plan will not be assessed for the purpose of shortlisting proposals.
  5. Please arrange to publicise this invitation to your staff.

Code of Conduct and Handling of Information and Personal Data

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).

The guidelines for the handling of information and personal data contained in the applications are available on the RGC website (https://www.ugc.edu.hk/doc/eng/rgc/form/GRF2.pdf).