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Joint Laboratory Funding Scheme

Joint Laboratory Funding Scheme
Call for Proposals

Purpose

The Research Grants Council (RGC) is inviting the eligible joint laboratories between the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the Hong Kong universities to submit proposals via the participated University Grants Committee (UGC)-funded universities for the Joint Laboratory Funding Scheme (JLFS).


Objectives

2. The JLFS, set up on a one-off basis, aims to enhance the research infrastructure of the joint laboratories in Hong Kong so as to better equip them to conduct impactful research. Funding is provided to enhance the research infrastructure of the joint laboratories to support various research activities such as cost for purchase or establishment of equipment / facilities, research materials (e.g. reagents, operational kits, etc.), research related licenses or datasets; and cost for engagement of research supporting staff (e.g. senior research assistant / research assistant / post-doctoral fellows / research postgraduate students / technicians, etc.) for assisting the development and/or operation of the equipment / facilities. Recurrent costs for the funded equipment / facilities and on-costs are not provided.


Eligibility

3. Joint laboratories between the CAS and Hong Kong universities, which have been formally accredited by the CAS on 1 December 2018, are eligible to apply under the JLFS. The list of eligible joint laboratories is at Annex D. Applications must be submitted by the Hong Kong Principal Investigators on behalf of the joint laboratories via their respective UGC-funded universities (referred to "Project Co-ordinators (PCs)" thereafter). The PC must be a member of the joint laboratory and an academic staff member of a UGC-funded university with conditions of employment meeting ALL of the following requirements:

  1. having a full-time1 appointment in the university proper2 of UGC-funded universities;

  2. being in Staff Grades from 'A' to 'I'3 as defined in the Common Data Collection Format (i.e. from 'Professor' to 'Assistant Lecturer');

  3. being primarily engaged in and spending at least 80% of time in degree or higher degree work at the university proper; and

  4. salary being wholly funded4 by the university proper.

Visiting staff will only be eligible if they have a full-time appointment in the university proper covering the whole project period. Staff supported by external research grants5 are however not eligible.

1 Excluding part-time staff and staff holding honorary appointments.
2 Excluding schools/arms of continuing education and professional training and other analogous outfits.
3 Excluding polytechnic staff grades.
4 Excluding staff members who are receiving income from paid appointments outside the university proper or who are supported by external research grants.
5 These grants are normally awarded for a designated purpose.

As a transitional measure, academic staff who are engaged in non-degree programmes which are still funded by the UGC may also apply as the PC. Eligible staff in this category must be wholly funded from the General Funds of the university(ies) concerned. This arrangement would continue until such time when the relevant programmes are no longer funded by the UGC. Cases of an exceptional nature (including circumstances not covered by the above rules) will be considered by the RGC on a case-by-case basis.


Funding and Project Duration

4. The funding ceiling of each successful application is $3 million. Recurrent costs for the funded equipment / facilities and indirect project cost / on-costs are not supported.

5. The maximum duration of each funded project is 24 months. Since the funding will be released to the universities of successful PCs on a one-off basis by 30 June 2019, the funded projects are expected to commence in July 2019 unless otherwise specified and approved by the RGC.


Applications

6. Each eligible joint laboratory can only submit one application.

7. The template of the Application Form is in Annex A while the Explanatory Notes for Completing the Application are in Annex B. The implementation timetable for JLFS is in Annex C.

8. All applications must be submitted to the UGC Secretariat through the Research Office of the PC's university by 5:00 pm on 25 February 2019. Please provide two hard copies and one soft copy of the proposals (allows search function and with size up to 5MB per proposal). The soft copy should contain all the information as presented in the hard copy. Please save all files in one CD or one USB memory stick, with the file names identical to the project reference number specified in Section (f) of "General" of Annex B.

9. The guidelines for the handling of information and personal data contained in the applications are available on the RGC website http://www.ugc.edu.hk/doc/eng/rgc/form/GRF2.pdf.

10. Applicants must ensure that no duplicate funding from any sources will be sought for the same / similar research project. If a proposal is awarded funding from other sources, the PC should decide whether he / she will decline the funding from other sources or withdraw his / her application under this funding scheme.


Selection

11. There is no disciplinary priority or preference on the proposals.

12. Peer-review mechanism will be adopted. A selection panel will be formed for assessing the applications, with the assistance from overseas external reviewers.

13. One-stage application will be adopted and no selection interview will be conducted.

14. The following selection criteria will be used in assessing the fundability of a proposal:

  • academic merit of the proposal, its contribution to academic / professional development and potential for application, and benefit to the research conducted by the joint laboratories;
  • scope for the research use and the degree of such usage;
  • feasibility in implementation;
  • maximum value for money;
  • availability of similar equipment / facilities elsewhere in the Mainland and Hong Kong;
  • availability of alternative funding for the proposal. The applicant should describe their existing projects and funding from other sources in the application and how the funding from this scheme would lead to new / different research outcome / output; and
  • potential research impact of the proposal, which is defined as the demonstrable contributions, beneficial effects, valuable changes or advantages that research qualitatively brings to the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment or quality of life; and that are beyond the academia.

Announcement of Results

15. The funding results will be announced in June 2019. The results will be uploaded on the RGC website. Funding will be released to the universities of successful PCs on a one-off basis by 30 June 2019.


Monitoring and Assessment

16. Awarded joint laboratories will be required to submit progress report and / or completion report of the project according to the RGC's established procedures for monitoring purposes. The condition / utilization of all supported major facilities / equipment should be reported to ensure that these items are well managed and utilized during and beyond the project period.

17. Upon project completion or termination, the unspent funding from the JLFS should be returned to the UGC / RGC.


Code of Conduct

18. The RGC is fully committed to the principle of honesty, integrity and fair play in the conduct of its business. All application should comply with the RGC Code of Conduct which is available on the RGC website: https://www.ugc.edu.hk/doc/eng/rgc/guidelines/code/code_of_conduct.pdf.


Enquiries

19. All enquiries should be directed to Research Offices of respective universities in the first instance. Their contact details are as follows:

Ms Cecilia Sun
City University of Hong Kong
83 Tat Chee Avenue
Kowloon Tong, Kowloon

Tel: 3442 6832
Fax: 3442 0136

Ms Doris Fung
Hong Kong Baptist University
Kowloon Tong
Kowloon

Tel: 3411 2755
Fax: 3411 5133

 

Ms Carmen Tang
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Shatin
New Territories

Tel: 3943 1996
Fax: 3942 0993

Miss Christine Yeung
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Hung Hom
Kowloon

Tel: 2766 4046
Fax: 2355 7651

Ms Catherine Leung
The Hong Kong University of Science
and Technology
Clear Water Bay
Kowloon

Tel: 2358 6946
Fax: 2358 1541

Miss Annie Ngai
The University of Hong Kong
Pokfulam Road
Hong Kong

Tel: 2859 1911
Fax: 2803 0558

RGC
December 2018