Hong Kong’s getting serious about globalization and attracting global academic talent this year with a new scheme for PhD fellowship that is quite generous. The Hong Kong Research Grants Council (RGC) announced last year that the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme will be offered to student applying for the 2010/11 academic year. Since I’m a PhD student in Hong Kong studying without this fellowship, I’m naturally quite jealous, but see this as a good opportunity to extend the good local and mainland base with high quality international students. In the last 2 weeks alone, I answered 5 emails from different prospect students about my experience of studying in Hong Kong as an international student. Every once in a while I write some of my positive impressions of the academic system in Hong Kong so far (links below). As for the scholarships offered, I’ve sent this information to all to many of those I know are looking into a PhD, and this post would be provided as a summary and invitation for other readers who might be interested.
Following are some details from their website :
Established in 2009 by the Hong Kong Research Grants Council (RGC), the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme aims at attracting the best and brightest students in the world to pursue their PhD programmes in Hong Kong’s institutions.
Those who are seeking admission as new full time PhD students in UGC-funded institutions of Hong Kong, irrespective of their country of origin and ethnic background, should be eligible to apply. Applicants should demonstrate outstanding qualities of academic performance, research ability / potential, communication and interpersonal skills, and leadership abilities.
The Fellowship provides a monthly stipend of HK$20,000 (approximately US$2,600) and a conference and research related travel allowance of HK$10,000 (approximately US$1,300) per year for the awardees for a maximum period of three years. 135 PhD Fellowships will be awarded for the 2010/11 academic year.
While the academic excellence is of prime consideration, the Selection Panels will take into account, but is not limited to, the four yardsticks below for the selection of candidates:
i. Academic excellence;
ii. Research ability and potential;
iii. Communication, and interpersonal skills; and
iv. Leadership abilities.
The application deadline of the Scheme is 1 December 2009 (23:59 hrs, Hong Kong time).
The first time I heard about this direction was in May, reading an article in SCMP and China Daily HK Edition:
The University Grants Committee plans to offer up to 135 scholarships a year for elite students across the globe wishing to pursue doctoral studies in the city, beginning with the next school year.
The scholarships would cost the committee about HK$50 million a year, said its secretary-general Michael Stone.
Each successful candidate would be awarded HK$20,000 a month to cover tuition fees and living expenses as well as an allowance of some HK$10,000 a year for study-related trips, committee member Roland Chin Tai-hong said.
"We would like to attract elite students worldwide," said professor Chin. "A grant of HK$20,000 a month is not too much. The scholarship we offer must be attractive enough to compete for elite students with institutions like MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)."
He said the committee would assess the applicants on their academic results, references, research proposals and performance in interviews.
Foreign students are most welcome, he said. "Currently, most postgraduate students in the city are Hongkongers and mainlanders. If more foreigners study in Hong Kong, it will bring ideological shocks that will benefit both local and mainland students," said professor Chin.
He also hoped the students winning the scholarships would work in Hong Kong when they graduate.
But lawmaker Cheung Man-kwong, who represents the education sector, criticized the committee for launching the scholarships without consulting the Legislative Council and the public.
He urged the committee to reserve some scholarships for local students.
"It should not only gather talent in the city, but also try to retain the elite here when they graduate, so our society can benefit directly," said Cheung.
In his budget speech in February last year, Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen proposed to provide 800 more publicly funded places for postgraduate research programs. The new positions were to be introduced in phases from the 2009-10 school year, at a cost of almost HK$300 million a year.
Committee member Judy Tsui Lam Sin-lai said yesterday that it originally planned to roll out 270 more postgraduate places in the next school year, but had recently decided to offer only 100 more in view of the current financial turmoil.
At present, there are some 4,700 postgraduate students in the city.
Tsang also announced last year intent to provide a one-off grant of HK$18 billion to set up a Research Endowment Fund. He said the fund and its investment earnings would replace the existing annual funding granted by the government to the research grants council of the University Grants Committee.
Committee chairwoman Laura Cha May-lung said HK$15 billion of the fund was currently managed by the Monetary Authority. Tenders are now being sought for management of the remainder of the fund.
The University Grants Committee is a non-statutory advisory committee which advises the government on the development and funding needs of higher education institutions in the city.
Interesting initiative, looks good on paper. Would be nice not to be the only international PhD student in the class. We’ll see how this works out for the campus PhD diversity next year.
Related links :
Related documents (to those behind the Great Firewall of China) :
Hope that helps. Keep in mind, it’s Dec. 1st. You have a month to apply.