Issue No 7: November 2003
Special fund for SARS research
Q&A: The purpose of monitoring
Work on forensic DNA improves clarity of the probability factor
A closer look at meromorphic functions
Optimisation for production schedules
Reducing interference on mobile phones
Mathematical theory of fluids gives designers data on virtual models
Equation that can predict spots on a seashell
Research shows that filters for sound and images are correct
Short cut to finding best delivery route

HK$12 million has been allocated for urgent academic research into SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) as part of this year’s Competitive Earmarked Research Grant (CERG) funding exercise.
Emergency grants of HK$1 million each have been allocated to medical faculties at The Chinese University of Hong Kong and The University of Hong Kong to help strengthen their efforts to combat the SARS disease.
Prof Kenneth Young with SARS Expert Group advisor Prof Rosie Young announcing the HK$12 million funding
2003-2004 CERG


Applications received No.
Awarded HK$m


698 (637)

162.0 (147.9)

Physical Sciences

214 (221)

62.9 (61.6)

Biology & Medicine


162.0 (143.7)

Humanities, Social Sciences & Business Studies

486 (408)

75.5 (74.8)


1,878 (1,698) 462.4 (428.0)
Figures in brackets for CERG 2002-2003
The remaining HK$10 million was released in July to fund 16 urgent SARS-related research projects at the UGC (University Grants Committee) funded institutions.
The projects are progressing and are expected to last a year. “When completed, the research can go a long way to help us better understand and further contain the SARS disease,” said RGC Chairman Prof Kenneth Young.
Announcing the special funding, Prof Young said: “The battle against the disease is an area in which academic research should and can uniquely make a contribution. I hope this special scheme will go some way to encourage and support urgent research on this particular front.”
Over the years, said Prof Young, about HK$42 million had already been invested in Hong Kong research related to the study of viruses and pathogeneses.
Later he added: “It’s because of this capacity built up over the years that we were able to respond to the SARS crisis so quickly.”
Hong Kong led the world in identifying the virus and showed itself to be a Division 1 player in the research, said Prof Young.
Altogether there were 158 proposals seeking funds of about HK$106 million under the special scheme.
An expert group, under the RGC’s Biology and Medicine Panel, was set up to evaluate and select successful applications for the emergency funding.
In the 2003-2004 CERG main exercise, the RGC allocated HK$462 million to fund 798 research projects. Compared to the previous year, funding went up 8% and the number of funded projects increased by 15%.
Altogether, the RGC received a record high of 1,878 research proposals seeking about HK$1,800 million. Prof Young said: “As in previous years, the funded proposals all measured up to a high international standard.”