ITF Funding Schemes for Hong Kong R&D Projects
The funding programmes for R&D projects are administered by LSCM and funded by the HKSAR Government's Innovation and Technology Commission (ITC). The Centre focuses on supporting R&D projects that would increase the added value, productivity and competitiveness of the logistics and supply chain industries in Hong Kong through the Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF Funding). ITC will provide financial assistance for the following three funding programmes; Platform Research Programme, Partnership Research Programme and Public Sector Trial Projects.
All platform projects require industry sponsorship from at least one private sector company, covering at least 10% of the total project cost within the project period. The companies should not be related to the lead applicant in terms of ownership or management. Sponsorship can be in the form of cash, in-kind contributions, or a combination of the two. To encourage more projects in the public sector, ITC may consider waiving the industry sponsorship requirement for projects initiated by Government bureau/departments and statutory bodies. The Intellectual Property (IP) rights generated from the project will be owned by the lead applicant, which can be a R&D Centre or a designated local public research institute. However, in the case of R&D Centre projects, wherein a university undertakes most of the R&D work, the R&D Centre may be free to negotiate with the university regarding ownership of the IP rights.
As an incentive for sponsorship, private sector sponsors of ITF funding projects are eligible for a discount of 50% on the licensing fee of project deliverables.
Platform Research Programme applications are normally solicited (via “Call for Proposals”) twice a year. For details about application procedures for the programme, ITF funding and project assessment criteria, please refer to the section on Application and Vetting.
For Partnership Research Programme, the industry co-applicant should contribute at least 50% of the total project cost (for projects undertaken by an R&D Centre, exceptional approval needs to be sought from ITC if the contribution from the industry co-applicant amounts to 30%-50% of the total project cost). Industry co-applicants can be one of the following; a private sector company incorporated in Hong Kong under the Companies Ordinance (Cap. 622), an industry support organisation, a trade and industry association, or a professional body which has the legal capacity to enter into contracts. The IP rights generated during the project may be owned by the industry co-applicant if it has contributed 50% or more of the total project cost during the project period. If this is not the case, the lead applicant should be the owner of the IP rights.
Industry co-applicants have the right to share the benefits generated from the commercialisation of project IP (including royalty fees), with the sharing ratio subject to negotiation with LSCM. The IP benefit sharing, and related arrangements must be agreed before the commencement of the project and set out in the project agreement.
Collaborative Research Programme applications are accepted throughout the year. For details about application procedures and project assessment criteria, please refer to the section on Application and Vetting.
The aim of this programme is to facilitate and promote the realisation and commercialisation of R&D results generated through ITF funding projects. The scope of the ITF funding scheme has been extended to cover the production of prototypes/samples and the conducting of trial schemes in the public sector.
The prototypes/samples and the trial schemes under ITF funding should aim to facilitate the development of new products not currently available on the market. They should employ the R&D results/deliverables of the original ITF funding projects.
The use of samples/prototypes and trial schemes is confined to the public sector, which includes Government bureau and departments, public bodies (e.g. Hospital Authority, Airport Authority, etc.), non-profit trade associations, charitable organisations, etc. For details about ITF funding application procedures, please refer to the section on Application and Vetting.
Apart from the above three funding programmes, LSCM also offers a Contract Research Programme for relevant industry.
Applications are open to private companies, which are required to contribute the full cost of the R&D work conducted.
Cash Rebate Scheme
The R&D Cash Rebate Scheme aims to reinforce the research culture among business enterprises and encourage them to establish stronger partnership with designated local public research institutions. Under the Scheme, a company will receive a cash rebate for its contribution to the R&D projects. Please refer to the Research and Development Cash Rebate Scheme website for details.
Researcher Programme (RP)
Under RP-ITF, organisations undertaking research and development (“R&D”) projects funded by the ITF can recruit graduates from local universities as researchers to assist in the R&D projects. Each ITF project can engage up to 2 researchers at any one time. The maximum engagement period for each researcher is 36 months. Please refer to the Researcher Programme website for more details.
Postdoctoral Hub (PH)
Under PH-ITF, organisations/companies undertaking research and development (“R&D”) projects funded by the ITF can apply for funding to recruit postdoctoral talent to assist in the R&D projects. Each ITF project can engage up to 2 postdoctoral talent at any one time. The maximum engagement period for each postdoctoral talent is 36 months. Please refer to the Postdoctoral Hub website for more details.
You may also consider the following ITC/ITB funds:
ENTERPRISE SUPPORT SCHEME (ESS)
ESS is a major funding initiative under the Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF funding), which is designed to encourage the private sector to invest in research and development (R&D). Funding support of each approved project is up to HK$10 million and will be provided on a dollar-for-dollar matching basis. Project period should not be longer than 2 years. The funding recipient company will own all intellectual property rights arising from the project. Recoupment of Government's contribution is not required. Benefit sharing of commercialised R&D results would be non-mandatory. Project with an approved project period of 12 months or longer can apply for financial assistance under the Internship Programme to hire additional staff. Each project can hire up to 2 interns under ITF funding.
The ESS funding recipient company can also apply for the Research and Development Cash Rebate Scheme to receive a cash rebate of up to 40% of the company’s expenditure in the project. Please refer to the Enterprise Support Scheme website for more details.
TECHNOLOGY VOUCHER PROGRAMME (TVP)
TVP aims to subsidise local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in using technological services and solutions to improve productivity, or upgrade or transform their business processes. The programme will be implemented on a pilot basis for an initial period of three years from November 2016 with HK$500 million from the Innovation and Technology Fund. Please refer to the Technology Voucher Programme website for more details.
FUND FOR BETTER LIVING (FBL)
The Innovation and Technology Fund for Better Living is a scheme for funding innovation and technology projects which will make people’s daily living more convenient, comfortable and safer, or address the needs of specific community groups. Projects should involve the innovative application of technologies. An approved project will receive a grant up to 90% of the total eligible costs of the project or HK$5 million, whichever is the less. Please refer to the Fund for Better Living website for more details.
Eligibility for FBL
Eligible Applicants include:
Non-governmental organisations receiving subvention from the Social Welfare Department. This link is relevant
Public bodies under Section 2 of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance (Cap. 201), except the Government Bureau/Departments, the Executive Council and the Legislative Council. Schedule 1 to Cap. 201 is relevant
The above organisations should either be registered under the Companies Ordinance (Cap. 622) or the former Companies Ordinance (Cap. 32); or statutory corporations established under any Ordinances in Hong Kong. Other organisations may also be considered under exceptional circumstances.
If you have any questions about the ESS, TVP, FBL or ITF Funding scheme, please don’t hesitate to contact us.