Universities break panel benchmark to win HK$378m in research funding plan

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 September, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 September, 2009, 12:00am

Universities have won HK$378 million in the fifth round of a funding programme aimed at developing world-class research, with a record five projects reaching its challenging benchmark.

The government funding, to be paid over the next eight years, was announced yesterday by the University Grants Committee, along with extra cash for a marine research centre launched in the third round and 60 postgraduate research places.

The total payout in the 'areas of excellence scheme' is almost 280 per cent higher than for the fourth round in 2007 when HK$101 million was pledged to three qualifying research projects over eight years.

The projects include three that exceed the committee's HK$80 million limit for maximum funding under the programme. A project on the theory, modelling and simulation of emerging electronics netted HK$90 million.

The Centre for Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma Research, which will study cancer of the nose and throat, and the Institute of Molecular Functional Materials, which aims to develop new materials, each took HK$92 million.

An Institute of Network Coding, which will develop new methods for internet data transfer, received HK$80 million and a project on the historical anthropology of Chinese society gained HK$23 million. The five projects, which all involved researchers from at least two universities, also secured a total of HK$195 million from other sources.

Committee excellence group convenor Professor Willard Fee said the projects were 'truly outstanding'.