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Results of the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme 2011/12 announced

The Research Grants Council (RGC) announced today (March 30) the results of the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme 2011/12.

One hundred and twenty-five elite candidates from 19 countries/regions have accepted offers in the second round of the scheme.

The RGC launched this fellowship scheme in September 2009 to attract the best and brightest students from around the world (including Hong Kong) to pursue their PhD studies and research in UGC-funded institutions in Hong Kong. A total of 4 024 applications from 103 countries/regions were received.

The eight participating institutions, namely City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Baptist University, Lingnan University, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and The University of Hong Kong, nominated 505 applicants to compete for the fellowships.

Two Selection Panels, one on Science, Medicine, Engineering and Technology and the other on Humanities, Social Sciences and Business Studies, comprising 27 overseas and 20 local academics with excellent experience in recruiting research postgraduate students for top-notch institutions, were set up to evaluate the nominated candidates.

The local academics conducted assessment of the applications by means of a blind review to avoid any conflict of interest. Furthermore, 21 overseas Panel Members came to Hong Kong in late February to make further selections at a two-day meeting.

After a rigorous evaluation process, 167 candidates were offered a fellowship and 125 have accepted. Among these awardees, 31 (24.8%) candidates are from other countries/regions, including 11(8.8%) from Europe, 14 (11.2%) from Asian countries other than Mainland and Hong Kong, and 6 (4.8%) from the Americas. Lastly, 82 (65.6%) are from the Mainland and 12 (9.6%) from Hong Kong. Most of the awardees will study in the fields of Engineering (34.4%), and Humanities and Social Sciences (28.8%), while the rest will study Biology and Medicine (16.8%), Physical Sciences (15.2%), and Business Studies (4.8%). A summary of the awardees statistics is set out at Annex. A list of awardees can be found in "Funding Results of Other Schemes" section of the RGC website.

Commenting on the results of the scheme, the Chairman of the RGC, Professor Roland Chin, said, "Following the success of the first round exercise, we continue the momentum and have attracted over four thousand applicants, which is a 34% increase over the last exercise. This year we only made 167 offers. Acceptance by 125 is a remarkable result. We look forward to welcoming the new batch of students to come to Hong Kong to pursue their PhD studies. We are delighted to see these elites from different countries joining our research community, and envisage that the dynamics generated by these outstanding students, with diverse cultural backgrounds, will enrich the educational experience of all other students. The Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme attracts outstanding candidates who are also recruited by other top universities around the world."

Professor Chin added, "We aim to brand the Fellowship Scheme as a prestigious award to attract the best and brightest students from all parts of the world. The Scheme is also part of our internationalization effort in higher education. I hope that in the near future, the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme will become one of the most prestigious award schemes internationally."

Ends/Wednesday, March 30, 2011