University-Industry Collaboration Programme (UICP)
What is UICP?
UICP aims to stimulate private sector interest in R&D through leveraging the knowledge and resources of universities. The emphasis is on close collaboration between private companies and universities in Hong Kong. There are three schemes under this programme:
Teaching Company Scheme
The Teaching Company Scheme aims to foster university-industry partnership by supporting local companies to take on graduate students from
local universities to assist in proprietary R&D work. Graduate student(s) will be placed in the participating company to undertake research
on a specific issue for a period of no more than two years. The university will provide teaching guidance for the student(s) in
handling the project. The Scheme will cover half of the studentship of the graduate students. The maximum contribution from the ITF
to the monthly studentship for each graduate student amounts to $7,500. As the project should last no more than two years, the maximum
ITF funding for the studentship for each student would be $180,000.
Matching Grant for Joint Research
The Matching Grant for Joint Research aims to foster private companies to collaborate with universities in proprietary R&D projects. Projects
that focus on routine applications of existing technologies or on the provision of bureau services will not be funded. Substantial
contribution to a project is expected from the university. The university's researchers should be the core project team members and should conduct
a major part of the R&D work of the project. Hence, it is expected that most of the project cost is to cover the university's project
related expenses. The participating company has to bear no less than 50% of the project cost in cash.
Industrial Research Chair Scheme
The Industrial Research Chair Scheme aims to assist universities and industry to develop research efforts in the natural science
or engineering fields that respond to industrial needs and not yet developed in Hong Kong but for which there is good development potential
in the longer term. A distinguished researcher in the university will be invited to be the chairholder to lead the project for a
finite duration. Same as the Matching Grant for Joint Research, the university's researchers should conduct a major part of the
R&D work of the project. Hence, it is expected that most of the project cost is to cover the university's project related expenses.
The participating company has to bear no less than 50% of the project cost in cash.
Is my organization eligible to apply?
An application has to be submitted with a private company engaging in commercial activities as the applicant and a local university as the partner. The company has to be a company incorporated in Hong Kong under the Companies Ordinance and has substantial connection to Hong Kong.
What kind of projects will likely be supported under UICP?
Any collaborative projects between private companies and local universities with R&D content that meet the objective and the eligibility criteria of individual scheme of the UICP may be submitted to the ITF Secretariat for consideration. All projects will go through a vetting mechanism.
Can my company own the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) of the project results?
UICP aims to stimulate private sectors' interest in R&D projects through leveraging the expertise of universities. In order to encourage private companies to undertake more R&D projects, all IPR arising from the project will be solely owned by the participating company. The participating company however, could at its own discretion decide if the royalties arising from the IPR are to be allocated to other parties (say its partner university which has injected substantial resources to the project), subject to negotiation between the parties concerned.
What is the form of funding support?
Funding support is given to R&D activities only and not to business development or service expenses incurred by the company. The support is given as a grant, subject to cash contribution by the company amounting to no less than 50% of the project cost. The ITF grants will be disbursed by half-yearly instalments against satisfactory progress of the project and production of evidence showing due contribution of the company's matching funds to the project.
How can my company apply for funding?
If your company is interested in UICP, please first identify a university partner and agree on the project details, the expected deliverables, the appropriate funding scheme for the project, and, if necessary, the royalty arrangement, etc. After that, your company and the participating university can fill out a UICP application form which can be obtained through the webpage on application forms. At this webpage, you will be required to register your organization and then its relevant personnel with the Innovation and Technology Commission Funding Administrative System. The registered personnel will be responsible for submitting the application proposal through this system.
Is there any application deadline?
Applications can be submitted throughout the year.