New funds for ‘impactful’ research

LOCAL universities are being encouraged to undertake research that can bring more impact to society and the economy as a pilot HK$150 million fund is launched.

Administered by the Research Grants Council (研究資助局), the Research Impact Fund (研究影響基金) will allocate HK$50 million each year in the 2016-19 triennium. Each research could be funded up to HK$10 million. The .rst call for proposals is expected early next year.

The new fund answered the call of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying in his last policy address for universities to conduct “more impactful and translational research projects” to tie in with Hong Kong’s needs in promoting the development of industries and re-industrialisation.

University Grants Committee (大學教育資助委員會) chairman Carlson Tong Ka-shing (唐家成) said the fund aims to initiate a change in the local research culture by inviting local academics to consider at the outset the potential bene.ts of research to the wider community. “In the past, research funding relied on whether it would get published in prestigious academic journals, whereas the Research Impact Fund focuses on the social and economical impacts, as well as research that can be translated to products and services,” Tong said.

Meanwhile, a review has found the lack of funding a common complaint by researchers. Local research funding only constituted 0.7 percent of the GDP, much less than the average three to four percent in developed countries.

(This article is published on Junior Standard on 22 May 2017)

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