Croucher Scholarships for Doctoral Study

The Croucher Foundation is a private endowment set up in 1979 and permanently domiciled in Hong Kong, with the objective of promoting excellence in the natural sciences, technology and medicine in Hong Kong. One of the Foundation’s regular funding initiatives is to provide financial support for promising young people in Hong Kong to pursue scientific research at postdoctoral and doctoral levels.

The awards offered by the Croucher Foundation Limited (“the Foundation”) are intended to enable applicants who are permanent residents of Hong Kong to devote themselves to a period of full-time study or research in natural sciences, medicine or technology in approved academic institutions outside Hong Kong.

These awards are intended for those engaged in full-time study leading to a PhD degree.

Applicants must have obtained First Class Honours in their first degree. Otherwise they will be expected to be able to receive substantively an MPhil degree by September 2021 to become eligible (MPhil transfer to doctoral candidature is not considered as equivalent).

Students in their final year of first degree studies may also apply, but any offer of award will be conditional on their obtaining First Class Honours upon their graduation by July 2021.

Value of the award

A Croucher Scholarship normally comprises the following:

  1. an annual maintenance allowance which is set at USD30,300 per annum;
  2. a one-way economy class air fare at both the beginning and end of tenure;
  3. tuition fees and college fees (where applicable);
  4. a one-off arrival allowance of USD1,000 to cover the costs of arriving in a new country during the first year of tenure;
  5. an academic development allowance of up to USD2,000 per annum to allow Croucher Scholarship recipients to attend conferences, workshops or courses during the tenure of their awards;
  6. a medical insurance allowance of up to USD2,000 per annum to cover medical insurance costs;
  7. a family allowance of up to USD16,000 per annum for the first child and up to USD6,800 per annum for every additional child who resides with the scholar during the entire duration of the award;
  8. a commencement award of USD7,575 to be offered towards the end of doctoral studies to cover the cost of thesis preparation and travel expenses for scholars and their family members for attending their graduation ceremonies; and
  9. a science education allowance 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.

Duration of Scholarships

Scholarships are tenable up to and including the third year of the relevant PhD studies programme. This does not therefore necessarily mean that all recipients will get three years of support, e.g. a candidate starting the Scholarship from the second year of his/her PhD study will get only two years of support, one starting from the third year of PhD will get one year, etc.

The length of the award will be explicitly stated in the grant letter when the offer is made. If the award is for more than one year, the candidate will in the first instance be “on probation” for one year, and the award for the remaining period is entirely at the Foundation’s discretion subject to confirmation upon evidence of satisfactory progress in the first year.

Scholar’s responsibilities

Scholars must be full-time students.

All applicants must disclose offers of financial support received, or likely to be received, from other sources. Applicants and scholarship holders must keep the Foundation informed of the progress of applications for support from other sources. Croucher Scholarships are on occasion, and at the discretion of the Foundation as an exception, allowed to be held concurrently with other minor awards.

Once a Croucher Scholarship has been offered to an applicant, the Foundation reserves the right to ask the successful applicant to withdraw applications for support from certain other sources. If the student still chooses to proceed with such applications despite the Foundation’s request, it will be deemed that he/she opts to give up the Foundation’s offer which will accordingly be withdrawn.

The Foundation occasionally gives approval for Croucher scholars to be remunerated for a limited amount of teaching or research responsibilities but such Scholars must seek approval in advance from the Foundation which may in its absolute discretion modify the terms of the Scholarship.

Scholars who finish their studies/research prior to the expiry date of the awards must report to the Foundation, and are liable to return on a pro-rata basis any excess maintenance allowance and other allowances to the Foundation within one month upon the completion of studies/research.

Scholars who have to terminate their studies for whatever reason must first seek approval from the Foundation at least three months in advance, and return the whole or part of the award at an amount at the discretion of the Foundation. Failure to do so will have legal consequences.

All awards will be subject to:

  • a satisfactory medical examination by a medical practitioner,
  • and the candidate’s acceptance by the institution in which he/she proposes to work.

How to apply

All applications should be submitted to the Croucher Foundation online. For the 2021-22 selection exercise, applications should be submitted by 5 p.m. (Hong Kong time) on 16th November 2020 at the latest.

While proceeding with your application, please invite two referees to provide signed letters of reference for you (with your full name) on letterhead to be sent direct to (in PDF), or fax to (852) 2730 0742 by the deadline above.

Please make sure the following documents in PDF format (each not exceeding 8MB) have been uploaded to your application:

  1. a document, up to 6 pages in length, including:
    1. a proposal describing the research to be undertaken which should include the names of potential supervisors and their research groups. To ensure fairness in competition to all applicants, a proposal once submitted cannot be amended;
    2. a description of the candidate’s research experience, and a list of publications;
  2. copies of the applicant’s HKCEE and HKALE or HKDSE certificates (or equivalent qualifications) and copies of official transcripts of his/her university records;
  3. copies of reprints of the applicant’s three most significant publications (if applicable); and
  4. one set of relevant documentation to provide proof of identity in respect of the applicant’s status as a permanent resident of Hong Kong which is pre-requisite to the award. (For applicants who choose to use their ID card copies, please make sure that both sides of the ID card must be provided. The Foundation is not prepared to take an application any further if there is doubt of the residential status of an applicant upon incomplete documentation.)

All applicants should be aware that the Croucher awards are highly competitive and there are always more applicants than awards available. Short-listed candidates are required to attend an interview in March/April 2021. An applicant who is not notified of the outcome of his application by late May 2021 may assume that it is unsuccessful. The Foundation does NOT provide critiques for unsuccessful applications.

Please note that applications for the Foundation’s study awards are accepted only in annual competitive exercises, which are normally open for applications by late September and closed by mid-November. Any application received at any other time will not be considered.

To ensure fair competition, the Foundation, as a grant-making body, does not welcome any direct request from any individual for help or counselling.

To apply, please enter the online system here.

Startup Allowance for Croucher Scholars

The terms of Croucher Foundation study awards include a supplementary startup allowance payable to Croucher Scholarship recipients upon the completion of tenure to return to Hong Kong to take up tenure-track faculty positions in University Grants Committee funded higher education institutions in Hong Kong within six years of graduation with a doctoral degree. This allowance enables recipients to have funds available immediately upon arrival in Hong Kong for research expenses including salaries for research assistants, purchase of laboratory equipment and consumables. Croucher Scholars who wish to apply please send an email to enclosing a copy of their employment offer letter, a copy of their PhD certificate and a brief research proposal (up to 4 sides of A4 paper) for consideration.

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.

Notes for Applicants who intend to study in Britain

The Croucher Foundation is a Hong Kong-based charity, and all Croucher awards are made to permanent Hong Kong residents only. For this purpose, all applicants are required to produce evidence to the satisfaction of the Foundation that they are eligible.

Even for permanent Hong Kong residents, however, under British capital gains tax provisions, any award is liable to be taxable income if the beneficiary is already domiciled in Britain, or if he/she intends to take up residence in Britain in future. The report and payment of such tax is an individual matter and not the responsibility of the Foundation.

All successful candidates for a Croucher award will be required to sign a statement, at the time of the offer of the award, to declare that they are not domiciled in Britain, and that they do not intend to become British domiciled, and in the event that they become eventually domiciled in Britain after receiving a Croucher award, they will be responsible for discharging all fiscal responsibilities in regard to the award.

Students intending to study in Cambridge

Through separate partnership agreement with Cambridge University, the Foundation will specially favour Hong Kong students with a number of full scholarships for pursuing PhD studies in topics in natural sciences, technology or medicine.

Applicants putting ‘The University of Cambridge’ as their proposed host will be automatically considered for “The Croucher Cambridge International Scholarship”.

Last Modified: 21/04/2021