HR & EDUCATION | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Hong Kong urged to double university research funding to $4b to maintain competitive edge

This is part of the pledge to increase R&D expenditure to GDP to 1.5% by 2022.

The University Grants Committee (UGC) has recommended a 50% increase in research funding to universities from $2b to $4b per annum by 2022 in an effort to maintain the international competitiveness of Hong Kong’s education sector, reports ChinaDaily. 

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The sole advisory body on university grants made this suggestion in its latest review on the research policies and funding.

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The increase would be based on an earlier pledge made by Chief Executive Lam in her earlier Policy Address to increase the ratio of gross domestic expenditure on research and development to GDP from 0.73% to 1.5% by 2022.

The ratio of GDE to GDP in Hong Kong falls between 0.72% and 0.79% from 2011 to 2016, according to ChinaDaily, which puts the SAR behind the Mainland, Singapore, South Korea and United States whose ratios are between 1.7%and 4.2%.

Hong Kong’s protracted weakness in R&D was amongst the factors that weighed on its performance in the global technological readiness rankings by The Economist Intelligence Unit.

“Hong Kong ranks lower than Singapore, largely because of its persistent weakness in R&D,” Duncan Innes-Ker, Asia regional director at the EIU was cited in an article from the South China Morning Post. “R&D these days tends to be closely associated with hi-tech manufacturing, and there is little of this in Hong Kong.”

The UGC also recommended a Research Matching Grant Scheme for local tertiary institutions as well as three fellowship schemes including a postdoctoral fellowship scheme, a research fellow scheme and a senior research fellow scheme under the RGC.

It also called on an internal government liaison group to improve coordination amongst different funding bodies. 

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