The Legislative Council is to carry out a comparative study of academic freedom and autonomy in Britain, New Zealand and Hong Kong. Following a request from members of Legco's education panel, the council's research and library services division this week released a proposal for the study of tertiary institutions in the three countries. According to the document, Britain was chosen 'because it is where the University Grants Committee concept first initiated', while interest in New Zealand stemmed from higher education reforms there. 'Both places used to have the UGC as a resource distribution agency for higher education,' the document says. The research is due to be completed by July. Civic Party leader Audrey Eu Yuet-mee said it was 'important to have a start', but added academics should be asked whether the scope of the research needed to be broadened. Leung Yan-wing, vice-chairman of the Academic Staff Association at the Hong Kong Institute of Education, said he hoped the team would interview staff of different levels of universities and would not simply carry out research from their desks. Chan Che-wai, head of the Academic Staff Association at the University of Hong Kong, suggested the research team look at how academic freedom is protected by international bodies such as Unesco and suggested Canada be included in the study.