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Link with Hong Kong will benefit the UCL Grand Challenges

17 January 2017

A new link between UCL and Hong Kong University (HKU) is set to benefit the innovative Grand Challenges programme. The new partnership between HKU and UCL specifically encourages cross-disciplinary collaboration in support of research focused on some of the world’s greatest challenges. There are two deadlines for joint proposals: one on the 31 January 2017; the other in seven months – 31 August 2017.

The partnership programme between the two universities encourages joint projects that address pressing global issues as identified by the UN Sustainable Development Goals. These include urbanisation and sustainable cities, healthy ageing, global health, translational medicine, food and water safety and security, transformative technology, transcultural studies including China studies, and justice and equality. UCL’s Grand Challenges programme – addressing Global Health, Sustainable Cities, Cultural Understanding, Human Wellbeing, Transformative Technology and Justice & Equality, provides a framing for the inter-institutional collaboration.

Each institution will allocate up to HK$100,000 (£10,000) this year, with the aim of increasing to HK$300,000 (£30,000) in subsequent years to support collaborative activities annually. It is anticipated that the funds will be used chiefly to support brief pilot studies, joint workshops, symposia, and travel of researchers and research students between collaborating research groups. These seed funding activities will, it is hoped, provide bases for longer-term collaboration enabled by UK, HK and international research agency support.

This joint scheme is an important development because it provides an opportunity for UCL to build on an extensive existing relationship with HKU. 2016 was a banner year for the two institutions. In September, the partner universities welcomed the first cohort of Dual Degree students in Law (HKU-UCL Law Programme) marking a strategic collaborative relationship between the two premier law schools. The current call for proposals provides a mechanism for researchers from any of UCL’s 11 faculties to work with researchers at HKU, at the heart of an economically and culturally dynamic Asian region, on issues of urgent social, health and economic importance in the region.

UCL researchers can apply for funding from the Strategic Partnerships Fund, jointly with a partner from Hong Kong University. To apply, collaborating partners are asked to follow the instructions in the Strategic Partnerships Fund document from HKU, submitting a three-page application to Professor W. John Kao, Hong Kong University’s Vice-President and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Global). Find out more details and guidance on applying to the fund in the HKU document.

The statement of the budget needed should clearly delineate the anticipated costs of the each collaborator - £ Sterling for UCL side, and $HK for HKU partner.