Chapter 4: Research

Early 2000 saw the launch of the second round Areas of Excellence (AoE) Scheme which received a total of 55 initial proposals from a diverse range of disciplines. This augered well for the scheme which was first implemented in 1998, with strong Government support.

At its initial launch, the AoE Scheme received a total of 41 formal proposals. After a very rigorous peer-reviewed assessment, the UGC selected three proposals for which it had committed funding of HK$126m, set aside from the Central Allocation Vote, for five years.

The three projects are "Hong Kong Institute of Economics and Business Strategy", a project of The University of Hong Kong (HKU); "Information Technology"', a joint project of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and HKU; and "Plant and Fungal Biotechnology" a CUHK project.

The UGC proposed the AoE Scheme in 1996 with an aim to raising the level of "centres of excellence" amongst the universities to internationally recognised status. The Scheme has been warmly received by the institutions, motivating them to focus their attention on exploring and developing their areas of strength.

Its success goes some way to enhance Hong Kong's capability in research and development, and to strengthen Hong Kong's pivotal position in the overall development of Mainland China and the Pacific Rim.

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