UGC Blog
I want to respond
Traditional Chinese
Simplified Chinese
Joint Research Schemes under the Research Grants Council

To promote and encourage collaboration and exchanges between Hong Kong academics and the Mainland and overseas academics, the Research Grants Council (RGC) is committed to implementing the Joint Research Schemes. The Schemes enable local scholars to strengthen links with their counterparts of various regions and conduct collaborative research in areas with common interests. Collaborative research not only produces mutual benefits, but also drives research excellence and adds new dimension through exchange of research experiences. Currently, seven Joint Research Schemes are established under the RGC, with partnership involving the Mainland, Germany, France, the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Spain. Funding is provided in the form of research grants, travel grants, conference/workshop grants and fellowships. Given the success of the Joint Research Schemes, the RGC has decided to increase the funding for existing schemes and launch new schemes and initiatives in the coming year. In the 2012/13 academic year, it will increase the budget for Joint Research Schemes by over 60% to HK$41 million.

Enhanced collaboration with Mainland academics

Jointly established with the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), the NSFC/RGC Joint Research Scheme is well-received among scholars in both places. Within a short span of a decade, applications have doubled from 148 in 2000 to 294 in 2011, while the total funding granted by the RGC has increased from HK$10 million in 2000 to HK$17 million in 2011. This reflects the vibrancy of joint research in both places. Focus areas of the Scheme include Information Technology, Life Science, New Materials Science, Marine and Environmental Science, Medicine and Management Science. The RGC and the NSFC have decided to expand the Scheme in 2012 by extending the duration of each funded project from the existing three years to four years. Both parties will also raise the funding limit to provide research projects with more adequate resources. To this end, the RGC has already earmarked HK$21 million for 2012/13 exercise. The funding limit for projects up to three years will be HK$0.9 million and those over three years but up to four years will be HK$1.12 million.

New Joint Research Scheme with Agence Nationale de la Recherche

The RGC and the Consulate General of France in Hong Kong have jointly organized the PROCORE-France/Hong Kong Joint Research Scheme to provide travel grants and conference/workshop grants to scholars of both places since 1998. Since inception, the Scheme has sponsored over 170 projects. Given the positive response to the PROCORE-France/Hong Kong Joint Research Scheme, the RGC has decided to cooperate further with the Agence Nationale de la Recherche and launch a new scheme to sponsor joint research under five disciplines, namely Chemistry, Humanities, Information and Communications Technology, Social Sciences, and Sustainable Energy and Environment. This new scheme will invite applications in January next year. The RGC has earmarked HK$10 million for this scheme in the 2012/13 academic year. Each project will be funded up to four years at a maximum amount of HK$3 million.

Greater participation of local research postgraduate students in collaborative research

To increase the exposure of local research postgraduate students and enrich their research experiences, applicants of Joint Research Schemes will be allowed to budget in the applications expenses for local research postgraduate students to take part in overseas research work in the coming calls of the Joint Research Schemes. The RGC will raise the ceiling for travel grants under the Joint Research Schemes with Germany, France and the Netherlands. Details will be promulgated in the announcements of individual Schemes.

Exploring the feasibility of collaborating with other funding agencies

The RGC will form new panels under various subject disciplines in the 2012/13 academic year to assess Joint Research Scheme applications. Meanwhile, it will also actively identify collaborative opportunities with the Mainland and overseas funding agencies excelling in scientific research, so as to provide our scholars with more diversified platforms and more opportunities in international collaboration. This will enhance the standard of local research and broaden the horizon of local research postgraduate students.

Professor Roland Chin
Chairman, Research Grants Council