THE University and Polytechnic Grants Committee (UPGC) will allocate $18 million to Hong Kong's six universities and Lingnan College in a bid to promote innovative teaching and correct the 'misconception' the committee's sole focus was on research. This academic year, teaching development grants will be awarded to the institutes based on their enrolments. UPGC assistant secretary-general (policy) Brian Lo Sai-hung said the grant aimed to 'encourage, promote and award innovative approaches to teaching and improvements to teaching and learning environments'. 'This is the main guideline that we expect the institutes to follow, though we also expect the institutes to avoid awarding the grant to individual lecturers,' Mr Lo said. Whether the UPGC will award the grant in the next triennial term, between 1995 and 1998, depends on further assessment. Mr Lo said the underlying rationale behind the funding was to put right the public's 'misconception' about the UPGC. 'In the past few years, some have accused the UPGC of putting too much emphasis on promoting academic research while disregarding the quality of teaching and learning,' he said. 'In fact, the UPGC advocates that teaching is as important as research if not more.' This principle has also prompted the committee to set up a new Teaching and Learning Quality Process Audit. 'This audit allows the committee to see whether individual institutes have a body for ensuring internal teaching quality,' he said.