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Assessment Criteria and Rating a Grant Application


Assessment Criteria

Referee's Assessment
External reviewers are invited to be both objective and specific in their critical appraisal of each grant application. Two or more referees, based locally or overseas, are assigned to assess each research proposal to evaluate its scientific merit and research ethics.

  Scientific merit
  • Originality
  • Relevance to the fund and thematic priorities
  • Significance of the research questions
  • Quality of scientific content
  • Credibility of design and methods
  • Applicability to local context
  • Translational potential / value

Grant Review Board
After review by the Referee Panel, each proposal will be discussed further, bearing in mind the track record of the principal applicant, the research capacity of the administering institution and the value for money of the proposal. Funding recommendations will be finalised in the Grant Review Board meeting. Summary statements containing questions, comments and/or recommendations will be forwarded to the applicant.

  Scientific merit (see above)
Research ethics
  • Does the study comply with Chapter 340 - Animals (Control of experiments) Ordinance?
  • Does the study comply with Chapter 486 - Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance?
  Relevance to the scope of funding
  • Is the topic within the scope of the fund and the thematic priorities?
  Track records of the applicants
  • What is the likelihood that the proposed study can be accomplished by the investigators given their documented experience and expertise? Track record includes the applicant's compliance with the terms and conditions of previous awards and records of research output.
  Research capacity of the administering institution
  • Research capacity refers to the ability of the administering institution to provide an environment conducive to productive research, in terms of
    ~ physical space
~ facilities and equipment
~ qualified research staff
~ qualified support/administrative staff

The emphasis placed on each aspect varies between applications, depending on their relative strengths.

Rating a Grant Application

A score ranging from 4 (Recommended for support) to 1 (Not supported) will be assigned by the referees to indicate the scientific merit under each heading in the Referee's Assessment Form. The overall rating for each application will be discussed and finalised in the Grant Review Board meeting. The overall rating is defined as follows:

4 - Recommended for support Nil or very minor issues to address only
3 - Recommended for support subject to clarifications/ amendments Minor revision and clarification required for a successful delivery
2 - Not recommended for support at present Major revision required for significant improvement
1 - Not supported Minimal impact on research / flaw in methodology/ incomplete application/ out of scope of the fund
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