students" said Professor Chin adding that Hong Kong offers a English-language multi-cultured learning environment, world-class professors and excellent research facilities.
He said Hong Kong's close proximity to the mainland offers another significant advantage for those interested in China-related research. "Anyone interested in China studies or high-tech manufacturing, for examples would find Hong Kong the ideal place to conduct their studies," said Professor Chin.
Professor Chin said the RGC is optimistic the scheme will attract top students. In order to be competitive with other universities an attractive stipend will include a travel allowance to attend conferences and seminars.
Professor Chin said the benefits to Hong Kong society could be many. For instance, in the form of increased research that helps to create, disseminate and transfer knowledge. Research could also help Hong Kong to build on existing strengths and generate new high-impact initiatives. "After graduation those who choose to stay and work in Hong Kong could benefit the community directly, while those who go elsewhere could become important ambassadors for Hong Kong," said Professor Chin. He said over time the program would also help put Hong Kong on the map as a center of excellence.
The scheme is being funded as part of a new fund, announced in the 2008-09 Budget by the Financial Secretary, and seen as an important step to enhance research support in the higher education sector to fulfill Hong Kong's aspiration of further developing world-class universities.
"This is a starting point and the first step in sending a message to the rest of the world that Hong Kong offers many attractive reasons for undertaking postgraduate research work," said Professor Chin.
Professor Chin said presently Hong Kong is not on the radar screens of postgraduate students, but this could change with concerted marketing and awareness initiatives. For example, the RGC plans to stage a series of roadshows, attend education fairs and promote the scheme through education agencies. "In a few years time we hope to be in a position to be able to brand the prestigious fellowship," said Professor Chin.
Professor Roland Chin
Chairman, Research Grants Council