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Results of Research Grants Council's Competitive Earmarked Research Grant 2005/2006 (Wednesday, 29 June 2005)

The Research Grants Council (RGC) announced today (29 June 2005) its decisions on the annual Competitive Earmarked Research Grant (CERG) exercise for 2005/06.

This year the RGC received a record high of 1,947 CERG applications submitted by the academic staff of the eight institutions funded by the University Grants Committee (UGC), representing an increase of nearly 4% over the previous year. Total funding of more than $1,700 million was sought. After rigorous peer-review, the RGC decided to fund 734 projects with a total amount of $404.6 million which is slightly higher than the funding amount for the exercise last year (i.e. $403.5 million). The overall success rate is about 38%.

Out of the 734 projects supported, 281 projects were in the Engineering disciplines, 148 in disciplines concerning Biology & Medicine, 167 in areas related to Humanities, Social Sciences & Business Studies, and 138 in Physical Sciences, Chemical Engineering & Mathematics.

A table showing the number of funded projects and the amount of grants by broad subject discipline and institution is set out at the Annex. [Excel file]

Commenting on the results, Professor Kenneth Young, Chairman of the RGC, said, "The Council has been very impressed with the overall quality of the research proposals submitted in this exercise. There is an increase in the number of fundable but not funded proposals, reflecting the rising trend of the overall quality of the research proposals."

"In the past decade, a vibrant and robust research culture has been firmly developed within the higher education sector. By looking at the overall quality of the proposals in this exercise, the development of research in the higher education sector is undoubtedly moving forward in a remarkable way."

"Looking ahead, we are glad to see that Hong Kong's economy is picking up now. In the longer term, research funding indeed needs to be improved to a level commensurate with regional and international competitors and Hong Kong's own aspirations. As Hong Kong strives to enhance its overall competitiveness in the globalized economy, nobody would dispute that research will play an important role in shaping the future of Hong Kong as a knowledge-based economy," Professor Young added.

"Overall, I have to say that I am highly encouraged by the quality and diversity of the research proposals in this exercise, and am sure that research development in Hong Kong will continue to move from strength to strength and to figure prominently in the region."

Established in 1991, the RGC is a semi-autonomous advisory body operating under the aegis of the UGC. As an agency supporting academic research in higher education institutions, the RGC is responsible for supporting and fostering research in all disciplines taught in the institutions so that Hong Kong can keep up with current world-wide developments.

UGC Secretariat
29 June 2005

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For enquiries on this press release, please contact Mr Anthony Chan, Assistant Secretary General (Research) of the UGC Secretariat at 2844 9916.