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UGC welcomes Budget proposal for additional research support


The University Grants Committee (UGC) welcomes additional support of research from the Government as announced by the Financial Secretary today (February 27).

In the 2008-09 Budget Speech, the Financial Secretary announced that the Government will create an additional 800 research postgraduate places and set up an $18 billion Research Endowment Fund to support research at the UGC-funded institutions.

The Hon Laura Cha, Chairman of the UGC, warmly welcomes Government's initiative. "Teaching and research are the core activities of our institutions and both are very important to tertiary education. The UGC has been discussing with the Government about the need for more research funding and we are very grateful that the Financial Secretary supports our request. It demonstrates the Government's commitment to promote research in our institutions. The timing is especially good, as our institutions start to recruit some 1 000 more academics to prepare for "3+3+4". I am fully confident that our institutions are capable of conducting high quality research which will contribute to the economic and social development of Hong Kong in the long term."

The $18 billion new fund and its investment income will replace the current recurrent grant for earmarked research, and fund appropriate research projects on specific themes. UGC will discuss with the Administration the detailed arrangements of the transition from the current funding model to the deployment of the new Research Endowment Fund. The Committee will also consider the way forward for allocating the additional research postgraduate places.

"The $18 billion Research Endowment Fund will provide a decent investment return, which should generate steady and additional funding for research. Research funding will be put on a sound long term footing by this move. The replacement of the existing recurrent mode of funding by this dedicated fund for research can only have a positive impact on the higher education sector," Michael Stone, Secretary-General of the UGC added. "We shall work closely with the Research Grants Council (RGC), Education Bureau and the institutions to take forward this exciting development."

The UGC is currently providing funding for 4 765 research postgraduate student places. In 2007/08, the UGC budgeted $612 million for the RGC, which was set up in 1991 under the UGC to support the development of research in UGC-funded institutions in Hong Kong.

Ends/Wednesday, February 27, 2008