Researchers feel benefit of funding increase
by Charissa Chao
THE year 1994/95 has proved to be a promising one for researchers at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) as the institution has secured $50.1 million in funding from the Research Grants Council of the University and Polytechnic Grants Committee, a 250 per cent increase on last year's amount.
Unrestricted by a submission quota for the first time, the university submitted a total of 164 proposals, up from 61 last year, covering subjects such as physical sciences, engineering, business and management and humanities and social sciences.
Compared to last year's success rate of 72 per cent, (44 out of 61 proposals were approved grants), the 65 per cent (106 out of 164 proposals) success rate this year represented a drop. Yet the actual amount of the increase in funding was immense - $29.7 million up from last year's $20.4 million in grants.
The university also received the largest grants in the amount of funding among the seven grants committee funded institutions, with last year's leader, Chinese University, securing $49.9 million, the University of Hong Kong $48.5 million, the Hong Kong Polytechnic $19.6 million, the City Polytechnic of Hong Kong $12.4 million, Baptist College $11.8 million and Lingnan College $600,000.
An increase in the number of proposals submitted and the amount of grants made available by the Government was attributed to the rise of grants received, according to Eugene Wong, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Development of HKUST.
''Government funding is critical to our research since it is the most fundamental source for research especially for basic level research projects.
Though funding will never be enough for everyone, the amount is quite good.'' The University of Hong Kong and the Chinese University are 180 and 170 per cent up this year in research grants.
A Chinese University spokesman said that the increased grants council funds, the lifting of the submission quota of proposals and the increased research activities at the university were the reasons for the funding boost.
Among the total $260 million of grants council research funding, $193 million will be used to finance the 371 large competitive-bid projects conducted by individual researchers of the institutions, $57.6 million will be allocated for general research support, while the remaining $9.4 million, reserved for central allocation, will be used to support inter-institutions' collaborative projects.