The Croucher Tak Wah Mak Innovation Awards are substantial awards offering funding of up to HK$5 million each for research expenses to be used over five years at the discretion of the recipient. The objective is to identify a small number of exceptionally talented scientists from all countries working at an internationally competitive level and to offer substantial support to these “rising stars” at a formative stage in their careers. The Croucher Tak Wah Mak Innovation Awards are designed to enable recipients to pursue their own scientific, intellectual and professional inclinations, to advance their expertise, to engage in bold new work, and to contribute to the development of education and research in Hong Kong.
Universities are invited to submit nominations to the Croucher Foundation Limited (“the Foundation”) under this award scheme by an annual deadline (stated below). The awards are on the following terms:
- The selected candidate is expected to be a new recruit and must have secured a tenure-track faculty position in a university in Hong Kong. In any case the selected candidate should not have been in a tenure-track position for more than two years. The research during the award tenure should normally be conducted at the candidate’s host university but may be exceptionally done at another university in Hong Kong; recipients who wish to hold the award for a short period outside Hong Kong must seek prior approval from the Foundation, but even in the event of the award, the Foundation will not be responsible for any costs incurred as a result of the award being held outside of Hong Kong.
- Each award carries a value of up to HK$5 million to be paid in instalments over five years for research expenses to be used at the discretion of the recipient of projects headed by the recipient at a university in Hong Kong (including the necessary equipment and material, personnel, travel expense, etc.). It may be utilized for all expenditure serving this purpose and should be used economically and prudently. It however would not cover salary, housing allowance and/or other benefits of the recipient. Scientific equipment financed by the award will become the property of the host institution immediately upon purchase.
- In cases where the recipient 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 recipient 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.
Suitability of the candidate
The selected candidate is expected:
- to have a strong, internationally competitive track record in research, relative to the stage of his/her career and research experience to date;
- to have published significant intellectual contributions to research;
- to have completed his/her doctorate with distinction less than six years ago;
- to show evidence of achievement as an independent researcher in his/her chosen area;
- to have been lead investigator on at least one significant research grant from a major funding body, or have been the recipient of an independent research fellowship before taking up his/her current post;
- to have held competitive fellowships at the key career stages if he/she has clinical qualifications;
- to have begun to establish a training record and to coach or mentor less experienced researchers.
The Foundation does not accept any direct individual applications. All applications must be presented to the Foundation through an authorized office in a university, with endorsement by the head of the university or a senior representative authorized to give the necessary institutional confirmation as required. Universities have absolute internal discretion over which applications are to be forwarded to the Foundation. Applications are evaluated solely on the basis of their academic qualifications and scientific merits and there is no institutional quota for awards.
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.
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 July. Shortlisted candidates may be required to attend an interview in March/April in the following year. Results will be announced in May after the interview. If successful, and before an award is made, candidates will be asked to provide the full details of costs requested.
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 Start-up 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 Start-up 2.0 click here.
Last Modified: 22 May 2023