Funding shortage blocks research
By STELLA LEE
MORE than 100 research projects in tertiary institutions have missed out on the latest batch of government grants because of a shortage of $50 million.
The Research Grants Council yesterday announced the allocation of $260 million to the seven institutions funded by the University and Polytechnic Grants Committee in the next academic year.
About $193 million will be used to finance 371 large projects, while the rest is for general research support.
There were 703 projects applying for a total of $740 million.
The winning projects include physical sciences, engineering, biology, medicine, humanities, and social sciences.
The biggest grant of $2.1 million goes to a Chinese University project on a computerised data base of traditional Chinese literature and books from the Northern and Southern Dynasties.
Other projects study the diffusion of dirty water into the harbour, violence against women in Chinese society, and educational development in southern China.
The projects are supported on the basis of academic merit, contribution to the academic development of the institutions, and relevance to the needs of the institutions and Hong Kong's overall economic and social development.
The chairman of the council, Professor Ko Ping-keung, said: ''There are another 115 research projects which we think should be funded but are not supported because of the shortage of funding.'' He said another $50 million would be needed to fund those projects.
The council is also giving $57.6 million to institutions to support projects costing less than $200,000, and $9.4 million for central allocation for the purchase of research equipment.
While the total research grants of $260 million for 1994/95 represent a sharp increase from the $155.6 million in the current year for 193 projects, academics yesterday called for more funding.
Professor Kenneth Young, chairman of Chinese University's research committee, and Professor Kung Shain-dow, the University of Science and Technology's pro-vice-chancellor for academic affairs, said research would help improve teaching quality.
Professor Ko said while the council was optimistic about getting more government funding for 1995/96, it understood the increase would not be big.
Among the $193 million for large projects, about $50 million is allocated to each of the three universities, $19 million to Hong Kong Polytechnic, $12 million each to City Polytechnic and Baptist College, and $1.6 million to Lingnan College.