millennium year 2000 was a milestone for the Research Grants Council (RGC);
as well as allocating another year-on-year increase in research funds,
the Council consolidated on its 10 years of operation.
funding for the year supporting research through the RGC was HK$468.3
million, a much welcomed 10.6 per cent increase over 1999, despite stringencies
elsewhere in the higher education budget. For the whole higher education
sector in Hong Kong, this was something to be welcomed.
Over 10 years,
research funding channelled through the RGC has increased dramatically
(from only HK$100 million in 1991-1992 to about HK$470 million in 2000-2001),
commensurate with the communitys changing perception of research
and its increasing importance to Hong Kongs economy.
ago, research and innovation were, at best, seen by most members of the
community as shadowy blips on a far horizon; today the community is committed
to Hong Kong becoming a knowledge economy, with research and innovation
being essential intellectual nourishment for this goal. Having established
itself as a key player in supporting academic research, the RGCs
role becomes ever more important in a modern society which increasingly
relies on innovation.
encouraging trends over the last decade has been the emerging realisation
that government policy should be supported by quality research. Issues
are not just ideological or political questions tempered with public opinion;
the thinking today is that policy issues benefit from rigorous analysis.
In Hong Kong,
we now have the expertise to deliver this kind of research, a happy state
of self-sufficiency which the RGC has helped to foster. While welcoming
increases in research funding, we should nevertheless be conscious that
regional neighbours, often seen as rivals, are spending far more on research.
In terms of total research and development funding as a percentage of
gross domestic product, Hong Kong falls far behind Taiwan and Singapore.
Hong Kongs research effort is visibly moving forward, if modestly
by comparison. Aside from funding, the RGCs joint research schemes
with Germany, France and the Mainland are well established. During the
year, a report was submitted to the Government on the research needs and
priorities of Hong Kongs higher education institutions.
was the RGCs first major work undertaken in accordance with its
terms of reference in advising government. And, as part of efforts to
communicate Hong Kongs research excellence, a twice-yearly newsletter,
Research Frontiers, was launched. All who dedicate themselves to Hong
Kongs flourishing research environment should be proud of achievements
over the 10 years.
Kenneth Young, Chairman of the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong,