In a historic move, China has lifted restrictions on Hong Kong researchers accessing Chinese research funding with the aim of accelerating scientific innovation and collaboration between the two regions. Earlier this month, the ministries of finance and of science and technology unveiled a new directive under which researchers from Hong Kong and Macau can apply for technology innovation funds in mainland China as well as use the funds for Hong Kong-based research. The first funding round of CNY 22 million ($3.5 million) has already been put in place, according to Chinese officials, and distributed amongst the 16 Partner State Key Laboratories and all 6 branches of the Chinese National Engineering Research Center in Hong Kong. Along with access to research funding, Hong Kong researchers will also be encouraged to take part in mainland science and technology planning by giving opinions on where the funding should be directed. Although Hong Kong universities have extremely positive reputations internationally and attract many Chinese researchers, they were not able to receive funding for Hong Kong projects without opening up centers on the mainland. The access to funding will significantly change Hong Kong research, as labs on the mainland can now receive up to CNY 10 million ($1.6 million) per year while comparable labs in Hong Kong would only receive up to HK 5 million ($637,000) per year from the Hong Kong Innovation and Technology Commission. In 2017, mainland Chinese research institutions and universities had R&D expenditures of CNY 255 billion ($56 billion). Source: University World News

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