The main objective of this scheme is to provide opportunities for scientists aged mainly between 30 and 55 to be relieved of all teaching and administrative duties for a period of one year to do full-time research in Hong Kong. Applicants who envisage difficulty in complying with the following regulations must not proceed with an application.
Universities are invited to present applications in an annual competitive exercise to the Croucher Foundation Limited (“the Foundation”) under this Senior Research Fellowship scheme towards a deadline of 31st May of the year, or the next working day if 31st May is over a weekend. The awards are on the following terms
- The selected fellow’s employing institution will be reimbursed up to a certain limit for the actual salary costs of a younger academic (say up to 35 years of age) employed to take over the fellow’s duties for the period of the fellowship;
- The research during fellowship should normally be conducted at the applicant’s own university but may be exceptionally done at another university in Hong Kong; fellows who wish to hold the fellowship outside Hong Kong must explicitly make a special case at the time of application, but even in the event of the award of the fellowship, the Foundation will not be responsible for any costs incurred as a result of the fellowship being held outside of Hong Kong;
- Eligibility of these Senior Research Fellowships is usually restricted to holders of a full Hong Kong Permanent Identity Card issued by the Hong Kong SAR Government. This status of the applicant must be clearly declared on the application form at the time of application, and the Foundation reserves the right to request to see the ID Card if necessary. Exceptionally in cases where there are significant benefits for Hong Kong sciences, the Foundation may at its discretion consider applications from candidates who are not permanent Hong Kong residents.
Whilst relieved of all administrative and academic duties, the fellow may however undertake supervision of postgraduate or postdoctoral research students provided that such work contributes directly to his/her research proposed for the fellowship. Since this is exclusively a research fellowship, a recipient under the scheme is not permitted to accept remunerated or voluntary undertakings such as teaching engagements in any academic institution, assuming key office-bearer roles in academic or professional bodies, organising international events, serving on committees of a public nature, participating in industrial projects, etc.
The fellowship applicants should be members of staff who are in a position to provide needed expertise, inspiration and leadership in research in their departments/centres in the university, and ready and capable of undertaking collaborative research with other colleagues.
The reimbursement to the fellow’s employing institution is equivalent to 12 months’ salary payable to a replacement teacher for the candidate selected for the award, subject to a limit to be prescribed by the Foundation, which currently stands at HK$86,845 per month. In line with the Foundation’s interest in younger scientists, the recipient university should demonstrate efforts in the first instance to recruit a qualified younger academic (the replacement teacher) to be the Fellow’s replacement teacher, without compromising the quality of teaching however. Alternatively, a replacement teacher may be a senior researcher from overseas wishing to spend a sabbatical period in Hong Kong. Senior researchers falling into this category may be named “Croucher Visiting Fellows”. By accepting the Foundation’s offer, it is deemed that a university will accept responsibility in contributing towards all remaining non-salary costs associated with the replacement teacher, including housing, if applicable, full medical cover, other fringe benefits and any form of gratuity normally applicable to regular staff at this level of appointment under the university’s own established practices.
On top of the grant for the replacement teacher, the selected fellow will be offered a grant of HK$2 million for his/her research work, upon submission of a research proposal and an estimate of costs. The grant will be released in two annual instalments. If the selected fellow is not able to use up the HK$2 million grant in two years, he/she is advised to keep the Foundation informed of the progress by submitting an annual report and a summary statement of income and expenses until the grant is used up (in not more than five years).
In cases where the selected fellow decides to take up an appointment at another University Grants Committee-funded institution before the completion of the award, the current institution should reach an agreement with the receiving institution on the transfer of the balance of the grant to the receiving institution (normally together with equipment where justified and appropriate). The current institution must report any changes in the appointment status of the selected fellow and should submit a request for the transfer of the balance to the Foundation for prior approval. Balances may not be transferred without the prior approval of the Foundation.
The Foundation does not accept any direct individual applications. All applications must be presented to the Foundation through an authorised office in a university, with endorsement by the head of the university or a senior representative authorised to give the necessary institutional confirmation as required. Each university may only present a limited number of applications as agreed upon in advance with the Foundation, and the university has absolute internal discretion over which applications are to be forwarded to the Foundation. Applications are evaluated on scientific merits and there is no institutional quota for awards. A university should not present an applicant who has been on its staff for less than three years in a full-time academic position, or those whose employment with the university is either on probation or contract terms for a limited period, at the time of the application.
The Foundation may at its absolute discretion invite under strictly confidential cover international peer reviews of the applications, but the Governors of the Foundation will have the final say on the selection. The Foundation will not provide critiques of unsuccessful applications.
In the appointment of replacement teachers, the recipient university should make efforts in the first instance to provide opportunities to young scientists who are permanent Hong Kong residents. Alternatively, a replacement teacher may be a senior researcher from overseas wishing to spend time on sabbatical in Hong Kong to the benefit of both students and faculty. Senior researchers from overseas falling into this category may be named “Croucher Visiting Fellows”. For replacement teachers who fall outside these two categories, a written waiver has to be given by the Foundation in advance of an appointment.
All applications should be submitted online. Each university has its own internal deadline for applications. Please check with the relevant Research Offices of universities. Nominations from universities are received by the Foundation only once a year by 31st May. Results will be announced before December, for the successful candidates to be prepared to take up the offer in the following academic year.
Whatever the reason, offers not activated within one year of the actual date of the offer of award will lapse.
To apply, please enter the online system here.
Science Education Allowance
A science education allowance is available to offer support to those Croucher award recipients particularly interested in science education through well-designed activities and projects in schools and in the wider community. Interested scholars are invited to submit proposals to the Foundation for consideration of a programme of activities designed to involve school students, teachers, families and/or other non-specialist audiences in dialogue and debate, within the tenure of their awards.
Croucher Startup 2.0
The Foundation recently introduced a new funding initiative for all Croucher award recipients at any career stage who wish to use their scientific and technological expertise to set up companies with linkages with Hong Kong. All Croucher award recipients from any year may apply. Successful applicants will receive a grant of up to HK$1 million from the Croucher Foundation payable to their company. The initiative supports founders at the earliest stage. Award recipients already receiving seed funding or early stage venture capital from other sources are not encouraged to apply. If you wish to find out more about Startup 2.0 click here.
Last modified: 01/03/2021