THE Trade and Industry Department is seeking $50 million to help set up an applied research centre to promote projects with mainland research institutes, Trade and Industry Secretary T H Chau said yesterday. Mr Chau said the $50 million would cover the initial setting-up costs of the centre. 'To maximise synergy and keep overheads low, consideration is being given to combining this with an existing initiative - the Applied Research and Development Fund Co,' he said. 'We shall be discussing further with the company what changes would be necessary to ensure that both the existing scheme and the new initiative can be operated effectively.' The Government was continuing to help industrialists climb the technology ladder, he said. A major part of these efforts involves meeting the evolving requirements of industrialists for land and accommodation. Initiatives include studies on a possible science park in Hong Kong and a new centre for fledgling hi-tech ventures. Several hi-tech start-up companies would be moving into a new 22,000-square-metre industrial technology centre offering business and technical support to tenants, to maximise their chances of success, Mr Chau said. 'Large-scale industries requiring extensive space and waterfront access will be able to take advantage of the Tseung Kwan O Industrial Estate which opened last month,' Mr Chau said. 'Next year, we shall complete a feasibility study on the establishment of a science park in Hong Kong. The study will look at possible sites, as well as consider how a science park could interface with other industrial support facilities.'