HONG KONG - Starting from this year, scientific research institutions from Hong Kong and Macao are allowed to apply for research funding granted by Guangdong province as individual entities and use them across the boundary.
Previously, institutions from the two special administrative regions had to form joint ventures with other mainland institutions or set up branches in Guangdong.
The new measure will boost sci-tech collaboration between Guangdong and the two SARs. It can also promote the Bay Area’s overall development
Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences, City University of Hong Kong
The Guangdong provincial government unveiled details of the new policy on Wednesday, which is expected to ensure that science and technology funding will cross the boundary more smoothly.
The three-year pilot scheme is in line with the nation’s drive to turn the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area into a global innovation and technology hub.
According to the 2018 budget of Guangdong province, the government allocated 500 million yuan (US$74.2 million) to support 10 key sci-tech projects at a provincial level.
Over the past years, Hong Kong and Macao research teams have been involved in a total of 808 key sci-tech research projects on both national level and Guangdong provincial level.
READ MORE: CE confident about HK’s role in Bay Area
Under the new policy, institutions from two SARs will enjoy equal rights with their counterparts in Guangdong in competitions for funding and key sci-tech projects, Director of the Guangdong Science and Technology Department Wang Ruijun.
A newly released document on sci-tech policies has listed specific and practical guidance on how universities and research institutions from Hong Kong and Macao could apply funding under the scheme, and how they can use the funding across the boundary. According to the document, research funding granted by Guangdong will be transferred directly to the local accounts of Hong Kong and Macao candidates after successful applications.
The policy also encourages cooperation in fields that the Bay Area has an advantage — including artificial intelligence and robotics, explained Wang.
In addition, international scientific research organizations are also encouraged to apply for funding from Guangdong. According to the document, they are allowed to apply in collaboration with enterprises and institutions registered in Hong Kong and Macao.
Cross-boundary funding from both national level and Guangdong provincial level to Hong Kong certainly brings good news to the city’s sci-tech development, said Shi Jiahai, assistant professor at the Department of Biomedical Sciences, City University of Hong Kong.
Shi believes the new measure will boost sci-tech collaboration between Guangdong and the two SARs, adding it can also promote the Bay Area’s overall development.
However, Shi does not believe a large number of Hong Kong institutions will compete for this provincial support. This is because the Hong Kong and central governments have been providing adequate funding in recent years. As regional sci-tech development is unbalanced within Guangdong, the province’s western area may have greater need for the money, Shi explained.
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