Call for Proposals – RGC Areas of Excellence Scheme 2023/24 (Eleventh Round) & Theme-based Research Scheme 2023/24 (Thirteenth Round) 


RGC is now inviting preliminary proposals for the Areas of Excellence (AoE) Scheme and the Theme-based Research Scheme (TRS). To enhance Hong Kong’s competitive advantages and better integration into the overall national development, the RGC has recently completed a review on themes and grand challenge topics of the TRS. Two new topics, namely “Quantum Technology” and “Integrated Circuits” have been added to Theme 4 “Advancing Emerging Research and Innovations Important to Hong Kong” in the current exercise.


The AoE Scheme aims to support both basic and applied research of high academic merit. The scope of a proposal should be broad and long term, and at the same time sufficiently focused. Research collaboration is one of the core requirements. Both inter-institutional collaboration projects and inter-disciplinary projects within the same university are encouraged. There are no pre-determined themes or topics.


Starting from the 2022/23 exercise, the AoE Scheme was repositioned to primarily fund major projects outside the four themes and grand challenge topics of the TRS, including but not limited to inter-disciplinary projects involving collaboration with / among humanities and social sciences disciplines. Repositioning of the AoE Scheme will not change the objectives and the selection criteria of both schemes.


The TRS aims to focus academic research efforts of the UGC-funded universities on themes of strategic importance to the long-term development of Hong Kong. Collaboration amongst different universities and multiple disciplines is encouraged. Proposal should be sought to address one of the listed topics under the following four themes provided by the RGC:

  1. Understanding Diseases and Disease Prevention (renamed from “Promoting Good Health”);
  2. Developing a Sustainable Environment;
  3. Enhancing Hong Kong’s Strategic Position as a Regional and International Business Centre; and
  4. Advancing Emerging Research and Innovations Important to Hong Kong.

Please click HERE for the list of the 20 grand challenge topics under the four themes.


Project Duration
Up to 5 years


Funding Amount
Not exceeding $75 million (or $15 million per year for up to 5 years), excluding on-costs and PC allowance. [With reference to the past exercises, the typical funding per TRS project is in the range of $10 million to $50 million, inclusive of on-costs and PC allowance.]

Application Procedure
For details, please refer to the RO website.



  • 15 Aug 2022 (Indication of Intention of applying with project title by email to RO)
  • 12 Sep 2022 (Submission of Preliminary Proposal to RO)


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Faculty and staff
Research Office on behalf of the Research Grants Council

Mickey Pat (Email:, Tel: 3469 2822)

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