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China and Hong Kong: Increased funding to support outgoing mobility and research in private HEIs

Starting from 2012, the Chinese Government Scholarship Programme will be extended to fund outgoing mobility of undergraduate students. A pilot scheme entitled “Outstanding Undergraduate Outgoing Exchange Project” opens the state scholarship programme to applications by second-year students enrolled in institutions of the selective 985 and 211 projects. Students may use the scholarship to finance study, research or internships abroad for periods of 3-12 months. Another state scholarship programme called “Chinese Government Scholarship for Outstanding Self-financed Students Studying Abroad” will see an increase of the award from USD 5 000 (EUR 3 620) to USD 6 000 (EUR 4 340) per winner. Moreover, a number of special awards of USD 10 000 (EUR 7 240) per winner will be given to crème de la crème students who are studying in the top 29 destinations for Chinese students. Established by the China Scholarship Council in 2003, the programme gives away 500 awards annually to self-financed Chinese students studying overseas. The competitive awards, coupled with career counseling, enable China to keep track of the whereabouts of its talented students and recoup some of its brain drain losses.   

On the research front, Hong Kong announced in its 2011/12 Policy Address that it will inject a further HKD 5 billion (EUR 466 million) into the Research Endowment Fund. The investment return on the larger share of the funding, HKD 3 billion (EUR 280 million), will for the first time fund research in self-financing institutions. The income from the lesser share, HKD 2 billion (EUR 186 million), will replace the recurrent provision of HKD 100 million (EUR 9.3 million) to provide research support for publicly-funded institutions. To diversify funding sources, the Hong Kong government set up  the Research Endowment Fund in 2009 and infused it with HKD 18 billion (EUR 1.6 billion) at that time. The fund was implemented to replace the recurrent provision of HKD 600 million (EUR 56 million) allocated for theme-based research. This is a competitive-based funding source, which exists in tandem with block grants for such research. As is standard with most endowment funds around the world, the principal is not to be touched; rather, the interest earned will serve as the active source of funding. It is argued that investment income from the Fund will be more sustainable than recurrent funding approaches in spite of market volatilities. Institutions are assured that the investment return set aside for research will not be lower than the recurrent fund replaced and that a small portion of the principal will be used to ensure stable research allocation in bad years.

Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchange (in Chinese)  China Cooperation Office of Nuffic and CEAIE 2011-2012 Policy Address, Hong Kong SAR Government