The grants committee's report has sparked fears that many academic departments could face closure or be severely scaled down if they do not fall within institutions' newly defined roles. Many fear that humanities and pure science departments could bear the brunt of cuts. Staff at the division of humanities at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) feared the department's funding would shrink a lot, as the report stressed its highly restricted role at the university. Some staff at the faculty of humanities and social sciences at City University, which has been told to focus on professionally oriented programmes, shared similar concerns. 'City University and Polytechnic University won't be getting any research grants in philosophy or history because they do not fit their roles,' said Michael Stone, general secretary of the University Grants Committee. Observers say this calls into question the future of research bodies such as City University's Chinese Civilisation Centre. Shum Kar-ping, who heads the Federation of Higher Education Staff Associations, said he believed that the pure science departments at the City, Polytechnic and Baptist Universities might be scaled back or closed. 'The report has made it very clear that institutes other than University of Hong Kong (HKU) and Chinese University will just take the role of 'colleges'. 'The government apparently finds that pure science and humanities programmes, which are generally not too popular, are too costly to run,' he said. Engineering and business administration are also at risk. Chan Chi-wai, chairman of the Academic Staff Association of HKU, believed HKUST would become the centre for engineering programmes. HKU and Chinese University would be badly limited as a result, he said.