CLASS takes it up a notch in research

Funded projects by the CLASS faculty, the total grant value and the GRF success rate have risen steadily over the last three years.

Having been ranked first among universities in Hong Kong in terms of the number of citations per faculty member, CityU continues to open the door to greater achievements and opportunities for CLASS faculty academics in research activities.

The Research Grants Council General Research Fund (GRF) / Early Career Scheme (ECS) applications by CLASS faculty members, their funded projects, and the total value of grants that they have received have kept rising year by year.

Funded projects by CLASS faculty have increased from 16 to 35 over the period 2013/14 to 2015/16. The total grant value has doubled from HK$7.72 million to HK$13.27 million in 2013/14 and 2014/15, and saw a steady increase to HK$16.21 million in 2015/16. Throughout the past two years, the GRF success rate has also risen from 20 per cent (2013/14) to 27 per cent (2014/15) and then to 33 per cent (2015/16).

"Such a growth in the overall performance of research activities among CLASS highlights CityU's adaptation to the changing research environment in Hong Kong," said Professor Richard M. WALKER, Associate Dean (Research and Postgraduate Studies) of CLASS and a Chair Professor in the Department of Public Policy.

"In the past, we used to have broad grants given to all universities for research. But that has now been taken away because it is now perceived to be better practice, with better research outputs, if various faculty bid for the research money competitively. We have been able to maintain our level of research activities with the help we offer to faculty."

"For example, we offer academics access to academic copy-editing. We look for academic copy-editors who are not only able to improve the language and structure of the grant proposals, but also to make useful suggestions about the presentation of the arguments."

With the rising number of grant applications and the success rate, Professor Walker said the increase is expected to continue.

CLASS faculty members have received funding support not only from the GRF and ECS, but also from the Public Policy Research (PPR) Funding Scheme. A total funding of HK$4.5 million was awarded to CLASS faculty members in the last financial year, which accounts for 20 per cent of the total PPR grant in Hong Kong. Professor Walker is one of the successful applicants.

"We have done very well in the PPR Funding Scheme. Our departments often focus on solving practical problems through empirical testing of concepts and theories. What we do is of an applied nature."

First launched in 2005/06 by the Research Grants Council, the funding is now administered by the Central Policy Unit of the HKSAR government, to promote academic research in higher education institutions that will have clear influence on public policy-making.

"The notion of PPR is quite broad. For example, its coverage can range from scientific or civil engineering projects for sustainability, to studies promoting culture and diversity in Hong Kong. PPR is open to a wide group of people."

"The college provides support and resources to help any faculty with external competitive peer-reviewed grant applications. We strongly believe that sharing knowledge is important."