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FAQs

General
Eligibility
Regulatory Approval
Grant Review Process
Funding Priority
Allocation and Release of Funding
Monitoring On-going Projects
Completed Projects and Dissemination of Research Findings

General

1.

What is the Health Care and Promotion Scheme (HCPS) under the Health and Medical Research Fund (HMRF)?

 

The HCPS under the HMRF provides funding support to evidence-based health promotion projects that help people adopt healthier lifestyles by enhancing awareness, changing adverse health behaviours or creating a conducive environment that supports good health practices. A Health Promotion Project is a coordinated set of activities enabling people to increase control over, and to improve, their health. It moves beyond a focus on individual behaviour towards a wide range of social and environmental interventions (World Health Organisation). An evidence-based health promotion project is a set of these activities, with published scientific evidence supporting their effectiveness in addressing the specific health needs of the specific population. The HCPS invites innovative proposals addressing specific areas of health promotion listed in the thematic priorities. The suggested health promotion work should be based on scientific evidence and evaluated in a systematic way. Collaborations between tertiary institutions and community organisations are highly encouraged to generate new evidence-based practice which can be applied in our local community.

2.

What is the operational timeframe of the Health Care and Promotion Scheme?

 

In general, the Health Care and Promotion Scheme (HCPS) calls for applications in the second quarter of the year. The closing date for the 2017 HCPS Open Call Exercise is 31 July 2017 (18:00 HKT). Peer review is conducted in August-September. The Promotion Sub-Committee (PSC) meets in October to make funding recommendations which are deliberated and endorsed by the Health Care and Promotion Committee in December. The funding decision will be available in December. Potentially fundable grants will have 3 weeks to address the PSC / assessor comments. The principal applicants must resolve all outstanding issues before signing of agreement.

3.

Who decides the result of funding?

 

The Health Care and Promotion Committee makes a decision on funding the proposed projects based on recommendations received by the Promotion Sub-committee.

4.

Will administrative costs / overhead fees be allowed?

 

Administrative costs / overhead fees are not supported by the Health Care and Promotion Scheme according to current policy. However, they will be considered on a case-by-case basis for commissioned studies under special circumstances.

5.

The Research Grant Council seems to support basic research while the Innovation and Technology Fund supports more downstream applications. Where does the Health and Medical Research Fund and the Health Care and Promotion Scheme fit?

 

The Health and Medical Research Fund has many differences from the Research Grant Council and the Innovation and Technology Fund. For example, the Health and Medical Research Fund is open to all researchers in public, private and academic sectors. The Health and Medical Research Fund focuses on supporting research that can be translated to clinical practice / policy formulation and therefore should be attractive to clinicians. The Health Care and Promotion Scheme, in particular, provides funding support to evidence-based health promotion projects that enable people to increase control over, and to improve, their health. These health promotion projects should help people adopt healthier lifestyles by enhancing awareness, changing adverse health behaviours or creating a conducive environment that supports good health practices.

6.

What are the differences between the projects supported by the Health Care and Promotion Scheme and the Health and Medical Research Fund?

 

The Health and Medical Research Fund, in particular under the area of public health, human health and health services research, funds projects aiming at examing the cause, treatment, prevention of human diseases and the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of healthcare services and policy.
The Health Care and Promotion Scheme funds health promotion projects aiming at enabling people to increase control over, and to improve, their health.

7.

Do applicants need to identify which thematic priority they are applying to?

 

The applicants are required to identify the specific thematic priority to be addressed by the proposal. Please refer to the Secretariat’s website and choose the most relevant thematic priority in the Application Form. Applicants should keep under continuous review the question of whether the work has potential wider application.

8.

The usual duration of proposed projects is 24 months. Is it possible to extend the project duration?

 

There are 2 parts to this question:
1) Can I submit an application for a project that lasts longer than 24 months?
2) If I experience a delay in my ongoing project, can I request for extending the project duration beyond 24 months?
For Part (1), applications for projects proposed to last longer than 24 months will be considered. The need for the longer duration should be clearly explained and justified.
For Part (2), for ongoing projects experiencing delays, prior approval for extension is required from the Secretariat. The principal applicant should submit a written request for an extension to the Secretariat describing clearly the cause of the delay, the proposed remedial actions, and the revised timeline. No additional funding will be granted for extended projects.

9.

Can funding from the Health Care and Promotion Scheme be used to hire research students in tertiary institutions?

 

Research students are usually supported by other government funding sources. Any costs associated with a research student in a tertiary institution supported by other funds (e.g. University Grants Committee / Research Grants Council) are not allowed.

10.

What is the previous success rate of the Health Care and Promotion Scheme?

 

The overall success rate depends on the quality of proposals received each year. Thus, the figure varies every year. The success rate averaged over the last five years is about 18%.

11.

Academic staffs in tertiary institutions are heavily occupied by research and teaching work. It is difficult for them to engage in health promotion work. Any advice?

 

We encourage academic staff with sound and innovative ideas which may contribute to an evidence-based health promotion project to bid for the Health Care and Promotion Scheme (HCPS). They may team up with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to share their effort and expertise.

12.

What is the penalty for misconduct under the Health Care and Promotion Scheme?

 

The Research Council (RC) does not tolerate scientific misconduct, which will lead to disqualification of the application. In the event of impropriety found during the application process or the course of funded projects, the HCPC will withdraw funding support immediately and the administering institution/principal applicant must refund the grant to the Government. In particular, plagiarism is not tolerated during the preparation of the grant application. All project team members should be well aware of their participation in the project. The Management of Track Records of Applicants can be downloaded from our website.

13.

Should I inform the Secretariat that I have submitted a similar proposal to another fund after submission of an application to the Health Care and Promotion Scheme?

 

At any time before the announcement of the funding decision of the Health Care and Promotion Scheme application, applicants are required to notify the Secretariat immediately about:
(a) any other similar or related application submitted to other funding agencies in addition to those listed in the Application Form; and
(b) the fund decision of any other similar or related applications once available.
Non-disclosure or under-disclosure of similar proposals will lead to severe consequences including but not limited to disqualification from the current application round, debar from grant applications and marking of the track record of the applicants. The principal applicant shall be held primarily responsible for the conduct of the project. The track records of all applicants will be taken into account when considering applicants to any of the health-related funds administered by the Food and Health Bureau. The Management of Track Records of Applicants can be downloaded from our website.

 

Eligibility

1.

Can I submit an application as a private individual without being employed by an administering institution?

 

No. Individuals not employed by any administering institution are not eligible for application. Funding will be allocated to the administering institution if the application is approved. The administering institution is jointly responsible for the conduct of any proposed project with the principal applicant.

2.

I am inexperienced in applying for grants. Any advice?

 

The Health Care and Promotion Committee will consider the experience and qualifications of the principal applicant when assessing a grant application. Priority will be given to principal applicants with demonstrable project implementation experience. You are advised to seek the participation of experienced team members to provide a better chance of success for the proposed project.

3.

Will new researchers be disadvantaged in the process?

 

While the track record of the project team is taken into account during the assessment process, the potential impact in response to the health needs of the target local community, and scientific evidence of effectiveness of the health promotion activities in the proposal are the major consideration. We encourage new blood in the local health promotion community to submit grant applications as capacity building is also the objective of the Health and Medical Research Fund.

4.

I'm not a clinician. Could I set up a multi-disciplinary project team to apply for the Health Care and Promotion Scheme?

 

The principal applicant of a Health Care and Promotion Scheme project is not restricted to clinicians. The applicants should state clearly how the projects may provide impact in response to the health needs of the target local community. The project team should also consist of clinical experts as collaborators for relevant projects as necessary.

5.

Will consideration of small scale / start-up project be less favoured?

 

The yardstick of assessing proposals is the same for all applications large or small. Potential impact and scientific evidence are always the major consideration.

6.

Will a proposal that is not strictly a health promotion project, such as development of tools for health and medical use, be acceptable?

 

Projects purely on development or validation of tools, even in a clinically relevant setting, are usually not supported. Health promotion elements, in response to the specific health needs of the target local community, should be included for the project to be considered for support.

7.

Can applicants based overseas submit proposals?

 

No. The principal applicant shall be based in a Hong Kong institution throughout the project period and be employed by the administering institution at the time of submission of application.

8.

Can visiting scholars submit applications?

 

Visiting scholars are eligible to apply for funding as principal applicants provided that: a) they are in their post at the closing date for applications, and b) they intend to remain in their post for the proposed duration of the project.

9.

If the project has been supported by other funding before, can I apply for the Health Care and Promotion Scheme funding to support further promotion works arising from the outcome of the earlier project?

 

Proposals building on earlier project will not be rejected if they contain new ideas, designs and objectives, with high potential for generating public or clinical impact or cost savings.

10.

Can I submit more than one application to the same application round?

 

No. Each principal applicant is allowed to submit one application only (either a new or a resubmission of application). It also means that each principal applicant shall not hold more than one funded grant in each Health Care and Promotion Scheme open call.

11.

Can I submit a proposal that is already under consideration by another fund to the Health Care and Promotion Scheme?

 

Applications already submitted to another funding agency may be submitted for consideration by the Health Care and Promotion Scheme in parallel provided that full disclosure of the parallel submission is made in the Health Care and Promotion Scheme application. The funding decision of the other fund should be relayed to the Research Fund Secretariat immediately when it is available. Double funding of projects is strictly prohibited. In principle, the first offer of funding should be accepted.

12.

If a project has been partially sponsored by another source, e.g. industry, can I still apply for the Health Care and Promotion Scheme to support the aspect which is not covered by the existing funding?

 

Projects supported by the Health Care and Promotion Scheme should be standalone work with well-defined deliverables. Supplementary sponsorship must be fully justified. Applicants shall state clearly any supplementary support, monetary or non-monetary, has been / will be received from other sources, including but not limited to devices, consumables and rental of equipment.

13.

Can I submit a proposal that was rejected by the Health Care Promotion Fund / Health and Medical Reserach Fund or another funding agency?

 

(a) Applications declined on the ground of misconduct by the Health Care and Promotion Fund / Health and Medical Research Fund or any other research funding organisation will not be considered.
(b) Applications not supported in a previous application round of the Health Care and Promotion Fund must be submitted as a new application with extensive changes or improvements made to the rejected application and with full justifications. Resubmission of the previously non-supported application is not accepted.
(c) Submission of proposal previously declined by other funding agencies (local or overseas) other than the Health Care and Promotion Fund / Health and Medical Research Fund may be considered. Principal applicant should provide (i) all comments raised by the funding agency; (ii) the principal applicant’s responses to address these comments; (iii) the revised proposal with highlights of changes made; and (iv) detailed explanation and justifications if no change is made in the proposal.

14.

Can I resubmit a proposal that was not supported in earlier open calls of the Health Care and Promotion Fund?

 

Grant applications not supported in earlier open calls of Health Care and Promotion Fund/ Scheme may be resubmitted under the following circumstances:
(a) Applications rated “Accepted” or “Recommended for support” provided it has been revised to address all reviewers’ comments in a structured and consistent manner.
(b) Applications rated “Re-submission” provided it has been substantially revised to address all reviewers’ comments in a structured and consistent manner.

15.

Can I submit applications written in Chinese?

 

The Application Form should be completed in English, with or without supplying a Chinese version. If both English and Chinese versions are submitted, the Principal Applicant is required to indicate the prevailing version to be referred to, in case there is inconsistency or ambiguity between the two. Application not completed in English will be regarded as incomplete, and may result in administrative withdrawal.

16.

I am a staff of Government Bureaux/Department, can I submit an application?

 

Individuals and Government Bureaux/Departments are not eligible to apply as principal applicants but their participation as Co-applicants is acceptable.

 

Regulatory Approval

1.

Should regulatory approvals (e.g. ethics / consent for accessing third-party data) (if applicable) be included with the application?

 

A copy of the regulatory approvals (if applicable) should be included with the application if they are available. If they are not available by the closing date the principal applicant should indicate in the application that regulatory approval is in progress. While the various regulatory committees determine whether or not regulatory approval is required, the primary responsibility for seeking relevant approval rests with the principal applicant.

2.

Application for ethics approval / evidence for accessing third-party data take time, any advice?

 

Provision of the ethical approvals / evidence for accessing third-party data during the submission of applications is not required. Principal applicants should submit such approvals / evidence within 12 weeks (or as specified by the Secretariat) after the announcement of funding decisions, if applicable.

3.

What is meant by a "recognised" ethics committee?

 

A recognised ethics committee includes those established under the purview of academic institutions, public and private hospitals, Department of Health and Hospital Authority.

 

Grant Review Process

1.

Who decides the result of funding?

 

The Health Care and Promotion Committee makes a decision on funding the proposed projects based on recommendations received from the Promotion Sub-committee.

2.

Will the Promotion Sub-committee have different panels to assess different applications?

 

Yes. Applications will be reviewed by accessors with appropriate expertise in a stringent peer review process.

3.

How can I be assured that the Assessors are qualified to review my proposal?

 

Assessors are invited for their technical skills and experience in a wide spectrum of health sciences. The funding recommendation is based on extensive discussion and consensus building considering the Assessors’ reports, potential impact in response to the health needs of the target local community, thematic priorities, scientific evidence of effectiveness of the proposed health promotion activities, value for money, etc.

4.

When and how will I know if my application is approved?

 

Principal applicants will be notified of the result of their applications by mail approximately 6 months from the closing date of application.

 

Funding Priority

1.

How are the thematic priorities of the Health Care and Promotion Scheme determined?

 

The Health Care and Promotion Committee determines the thematic priorities in consultation with stakeholders of the health and medical sector (e.g. Department of Health, Hospital Authority).

2.

Will the thematic priorities change frequently?

 

The thematic priorities are reviewed and updated at regular intervals. They will be announced concurrently with the open call for applications, and will be publicised on the Research Fund Secretariat website.

3.

How are thematic priorities used?

 

The thematic priorities highlight the areas that the Health Care and Promotion Scheme would like to support. Thematic priorities are set by the Health Care and Promotion Committee with input from the Bureau’s scientific advisors. They are used to stimulate health promotion projects in important areas. In addition, thematic priorities are increasingly used to prioritise funding. Nevertheless, the potential impact on the target local community and scientific evidence of effectiveness of the proposed health promotion activities of each proposal are the primary criteria of funding success.

 

Allocation and Release of Funding

1.

Where can I find the specific terms and conditions of the funding award?

 

Successful proposals are governed by a contractual agreement setting out the terms and conditions under which the funding award is made and the rights and responsibilities of the parties to the agreement. Agreements must be signed by the principal applicant and representatives of the administering institution and Hong Kong SAR Government. An agreement template is available for review on the Secretariat’s website. Projects cannot commence unless a duly completed agreement is in place.

2.

What will happen if I cannot start the project as committed in the Application Form?

 

Approved projects are expected to commence within a specific time period or the grant will lapse. Principal applicants should seek prior approval with full justifications from the Promotion Sub-committee Chairpersons to delay the start date. The offer of grant will be withdrawn if the project does not commence within 6 months of the grant approval date.

3.

Can I request the approved grant to be allocated to my personal bank account?

 

No. The approved amount will only be allocated or reimbursed to the administering institution which should have a proper audit trail in place.

4.

What is a frozen account of a funded project?

 

If the outstanding issues have not yet been resolved, the project account will be frozen. All claims for reimbursement will be put on hold until satisfactory progress of the project has been made.

 

Monitoring On-going Projects

1.

How is the progress of funded projects monitored?

 

The progress of funded projects is monitored regularly via annual interim report, final report and dissemination report and ad hoc queries raised by the Secretariat throughout the project. Site visits may be conducted to inspect the progress and administrative aspects of the project.

2.

What will happen if the interim report is overdue?

 

An interim report shall be submitted in writing within 2 months of the first anniversary of the commencement date. If the interim report is overdue, your account will be frozen and claims for reimbursement will be put on hold. The Health Care and Promotion Committee reserves the rights to terminate the grant due to unresolved overdue reports.

3.

Under what circumstances do I need to seek prior approval from the Research Council?

 

‧  any change of substance in the objectives and methodology of the project;
‧  any change of the principal applicant, co-applicants and the administering institution;
‧  any change of the approved budget total for each category (Staff, Equipment, Other Expenses) of the grant given in the Application Form or the accumulated overspending of an item within a category exceeds (a) 10% of the budget of that item or (b) the ceiling for that item as set out in the grant policy;
‧  any change of the type of project staff under approved Staff budget given in the Application Form;
‧  any change in the duration / commencement date / end date of the project must receive the written consent of the Government in advance.

4.

Do I need to report to the Health Care and Promotion Committee any dissemination of project findings?

 

Yes. The Health Care and Promotion Committee maintains a database of health promotion output that will be taken into account when considering future applications submitted by the principal applicants.

5.

Do I need to report the publication of funded projects or filing of a patent application?

 

It is required in the agreement that: (a) the interim report should contain a list of Intellectual Property Rights obtained, a list of peer-reviewed publications (with copies of reprints), and a list of manuscripts submitted for publication or in preparation which have resulted directly from the project. (b) Invention or patent arising out from the project is co-owned by the Government and the administering institution. Therefore, consent from the Government must be sought before submission of patent application.

 

Completed Projects and Dissemination of Research Findings

1.

I encounter difficulties in completing the project. What shall I do?

 

Please approach the Research Fund Secretariat as soon as you encounter difficulties. We will refer your concerns to appropriate experts for their opinion and look for alternatives to reduce the risk of incomplete projects.

2.

Can I submit final reports later than the due date?

 

Principal applicants should submit final reports on or before the due date. Late submission of reports will adversely affect the track record of the principal applicants. Final reports are the evidence of health promotion output that will be taken into account when considering future grant applications.

3.

How are the outcomes of completed projects measured?

 

Apart from the final report, dissemination report and other activities on reporting project deliverables to stakeholders and/or general public, principal applicants of funded projects are required to complete an impact evaluation form one year after completion of projects. The evaluation gives a snapshot of the project outcomes and the impact on health promotion. Based on the Reach Effectiveness Adoption Implementation Maintenance (RE-AIM) framework developed by Glasgow (1999), the evaluation includes the following dimensions:
‧  Reach the target population
‧  Effectiveness or efficacy
‧  Adoption by target settings or institutions
‧  Implementation of the intervention
‧  Maintenance of intervention effects in individuals and settings over time

4.

What is my involvement in publishing/distributing dissemination reports?

 

To close the health promotion project cycle, principal applicants are requested to assist in publishing dissemination reports by submitting a draft with the final report. Dissemination reports will be distributed to the wider community.