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Overseas Partnership Scheme for Post
Doctoral Researchers

The Research Grants Council (RGC) Chairman Professor Roland Chin remarked that RGC has launched the Hong Kong-Scotland Post Doctoral Research Scheme. Up to ten awards, with five for each side, will be available in 2012/2013. Hong Kong applicants must be PhD graduates from UGC-funded institutions resided in Hong Kong, and employed by UGC-funded institutions. The scheme is a platform for local PhD graduates to acquire substantial experience in teaching and research in Scottish universities.

Professor Chin pointed out that there has been insufficient opportunity for local PhD graduates to have post-doctoral research training outside of Hong Kong. It is desirable to provide ample post-doctoral training for our graduates to broaden their vision, while enhancing their research capacity and scope as well as research experience.

For RGC, an annual budget of $625,000 is proposed for five annual grants for the Hong Kong-Scotland Post Doctoral Research Scheme. Successful applicants will receive up to $125,000 each for research attachments of six to twelve months in Scotland. Applications are to be in the areas of (i) Renewable and New Energies, (ii) Healthcare and Life Sciences, (iii) Sustainable Development, and (iv) Economics and Finance.

Professor Chin explained that the grants do
not include additional salaries for the post-doctoral researchers, since the awardees from Hong Kong or Scotland are university employees in their respective countries. The grants are mainly to subsidize airfare and up to 12 months of overseas living expenses. 

Professor Chin pointed out that the partnership between Hong Kong and Scotland is the first of its kind for post-doctoral research training. Similar schemes will be expanded to include other countries, particularly in regions where joint research schemes with RGC have been established. It will provide a wider range of options for post-doctoral researchers in acquiring teaching and research experience outside of Hong Kong.

Rewarding Early Career Achievers

To nurture junior academics and to attract high caliber candidates to join the higher education institutes in Hong Kong, RGC launched the Early Career Scheme in 2012/2013. Out of the 334 applications received, 131 projects were funded. The total approved amount was $102 million, and the average funding level was $780,000.



Professor Chin remarked that among the 131 approved projects, 20 junior scholars were rated “excellent”. This demonstrates the exceptional quality of our local junior academic scholars. Apart from the research funding, each scholar of the “excellent” projects would also be awarded a sum of $100,000 for integrating research in their teaching, and an honorary title of “Early Career Award 2012/13”.

Rewarding Outstanding Scholars in Humanities and Social Sciences 

To support outstanding scholars in Humanities and Social Sciences and to enable them to further focus on their research, RGC launched the Prestigious Fellowship Scheme for the Humanities and Social Sciences in September 2011. For the 2012/13 exercise, 8 awards were given. The total amount approved was $5 million, and the average funding amount per project was $620,000.

Professor Chin noted that research in Humanities and Social Sciences in Hong Kong is of very high standards. The Prestigious Fellowship Scheme for the Humanities and Social Sciences will provide resources for outstanding scholars to take up to one year off from their normal teaching and administrative duties, which will allow them to focus on research and writing.

The RGC will hold an award ceremony later in 2012, for the awardees of “Early Career Awards” and “Prestigious Fellowship Scheme for the Humanities and Social Sciences”.