Final Call for Proposals – Frontier Technology Research for Joint Institutes with Industry



The Frontier Technology Research for Joint Institutes with Industry Scheme (referred to as “the Scheme”) was launched in December 2022 with the aims of encouraging research teams at the University to develop cutting-edge technologies that provide practical solutions to global challenges and reshape industries. The Scheme awarded a total of HK$8 million to 14 outstanding projects.

To continue this success and promote wider application and transformation of HKUST R&D outcomes, the VPRDO is launching the second call for proposals. This year, the University has committed funding of around HK$10 million for this upcoming round. The Scheme will support translational research projects that have an impact on relevant industries and are expected to have good potential for commercialization of their R&D outcomes.


Call for Proposals

Full-time faculty members at HKUST are invited to submit proposals that demonstrate commercial potential and have outcomes that benefit the community or industry. The Scheme will support projects that aim to translate high-tech innovations or scientific advances into practical applications. Priority will be given to proposals in the following areas, taking into account the diverse interests and missions of the expected participating institutes (refer to Attachment 1).

  • Advanced Sensing Technologies for Health, Environmental Protection and Smart Cities
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Cloud computing and Big Data
  • Construction Robotics
  • Environmental and Sustainable Technologies
  • Fintech, Blockchain, and Risk Control
  • New Materials
  • Smart Cities and Smart Living Technologies

Applicants are invited to complete the application form (Attachment 2).


Selection Criteria

Proposals submissions should describe projects that meet some of the following criteria:

1.           a high-impact, interdisciplinary, transformative, and achievable project capable of addressing new and emerging fields of research and introducing innovative approaches and scientific inventions;

2.           involvement of frontier technology that is portable, replicable, affordable, and/or accessible to the industry and community;

3.           involvement of investigators with a good research track record;

4.           sustainability with potential for further development;

5.           No major similarities or duplication with any currently funded or proposed projects;

6.           supported by a sound management plan.


Applications will be submitted to the VPRDO. A review panel will be formed under specific requirements of each participating institute, consisting of relevant Head of Business Development Team of OKT and representatives appointed by respective laboratory/institute who will act in their personal capacity to review the applications.

The Principal Investigators (PIs) of all shortlisted proposals will be invited to present their respective projects to the review panel. The panel will recommend a selection of proposed projects to the VPRD, who will make the final decision for the “Frontier Technology Research for Joint Institutes with Industry” awards.


Eligibility and Application

The Scheme will follow the eligibility guidelines for RGC projects. 

Funding ranging from HK$300,000 to HK$800,000 per project

Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Full-time faculty members at HKUST;
  • Staff Grades A to I, with salaries fully funded by the University itself;
  • Dedicated to transforming R&D outcomes into applicable solutions; 
  • Strive to commercialize their R&D outcomes;
  • Committed to participating and communicating with joint labs and/or institutes;
  • Committed to applying for other funding schemes from government or industry, if applicable.


All applicants must declare that their submitted proposal does not duplicate any currently funded or proposed projects and that there is no conflict of interest involved.

Each proposal will be submitted by one Principal Investigator (PI) with other joint applicants regarded as Co-Investigators (Co-Is). An applicant may not submit more than one application as a PI. A change of PI after submission and during the first year of the project will not be allowed except in exceptional circumstances.


Financial Aspects

The maximum funding per project before this call is HK$800,000. If the total funding for the selected projects does not reach the allocated budget, another call for proposals may be launched at a later date to select additional projects.

Funding awarded will only be used on the HKUST CWB campus and will not be subcontracted or transferred outside the CWB campus. If industry partners or collaborators are involved in a proposed project, funding cannot be used to advance the commercial interests of such partners/collaborators. In addition, funding cannot be used to match any PGS or internal funding, such as the Equipment Competition Fund.

Proposal should only include research equipment specific to the proposed project. General equipment and accessories will not be funded.  

Funding will be allocated based on participation and communication with joint labs and/or institutes, as well as a review of annual progress reports indicating the milestones achieved. All PIs must comply with the management agreement between HKUST and the respective donor regarding the project and submit progress and/or final reports.


Period of Support

Any project under the Scheme will not last more than 2 years.


Expectations and Reporting Requirements

All PIs whose proposed projects will be funded under the Scheme will be required to take their proposed concepts from R&D to commercialization for the benefit of the community with at least one application.

A progress report up to June 30 will be submitted to the VPRDO by September 1 each year for the duration of the project.

A completion report will be submitted within 3 months of completion. Failure to submit this report will result in disqualification from future VPRDO funding. 



Apr 22, 2024 – May 31, 2024

Submission of proposals to the VPRDO Research Development Unit

Jun 2024

Review, shortlisting, and interviews with shortlisted PIs

Jul 2024

Announcement of funding results



Proposal submissions should be sent directly to the Scheme's designated email account (

For inquiries, please address to Mr. Joshua LEUNG, Ms. Vivian TSUI, or Ms. Kristy LUI.

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Faculty and staff
Office of Knowledge Transfer


Mr Joshua LEUNG/ Ms Vivian TSUI/ Ms Kristy LUI


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