Skip to main content
Banner of Health and Medical Research Fund


The Research Council (RC), chaired by the Secretary for Food and Health, is responsible for providing strategic steer for funding health and medical research projects and health promotion projects, and overseeing the administration of the HMRF including the allocation of funds for approved grants. The RC is supported by two arms – Expert Advisory Panels (EAPs) as the advisory arm, and the Referee Panel, Grant Review Board (GRB) and Grant Review Board Executive (GRBE) as the technical arm. The Research Fund Secretariat provides administrative and logistic support to the RC and its constituent boards and panels.

Organisation Chart

organisation chart

Summary of Responsibilities - Research Council:

  • Determine research agenda and funding control mechanism of the HMRF;
  • Approve procedures for inviting, and criteria for vetting grant applications;
  • Approve standard terms and conditions for grant-holders;
  • Approve funding allocation after peer-review process;
  • Approve processes for the ongoing monitoring and evaluation of approved projects;
  • Establish GRB to carry out the technical work of the RC;
  • Disseminate key findings of funded projects; and
  • Supervise the management and investment of the Fund.

Summary of Responsibilities – Expert Advisory Panels:

  • Advise the RC on health and healthcare needs and research policy and priorities under their respective research area;
  • Make recommendations to the RC on thematic priorities, research foci and funding opportunities; and
  • Make recommendations to the RC on funding allocation to respective research themes/ activities.

Summary of Responsibilities - Grant Review Board:

  • Advise Standard Operating Procedures for the grant submission and review process, and the assessment and dissemination of final reports;
  • Review and assess applications and recommend projects for funding;
  • Review and assess final and dissemination reports;
  • Promote the development of research in the areas of health and health services, controlling infectious diseases, advanced medicine and health promotion in the wider community;
  • Monitor the progress of approved projects; and
  • Monitor the financial performance of approved projects.

Summary of Responsibilities - Referee Panel:

  • Assess the scientific merit of submitted grant proposals in terms of:
    • Originality
    • Scientific content
    • Design and methods
    • Statistical analysis
    • Outcome measures
    • Research ethics
  • Assess the relevance of the proposal to the thematic priorities and the applicability of the research to the local context; and
  • Assess the 'value for money' of the research as presented in the final and dissemination reports. Provide critical appraisal of grant applications and research reports based on the assessment criteria.

Summary of Responsibilities - Research Fund Secretariat:

  • Support the operations of the RC, GRB, GRBE and Referee Panel; and
  • Maintain administrative information systems needed to support the work of the RC, EAPS, GRB, and GRBE.


The RC functions as a broadly based policy group. The EAPs assess the health and healthcare needs of Hong Kong and advise the RC on research policy and priorities and funding opportunities with respect to their specific areas of expertise. The GRB interprets policy, sets guidelines and procedures for grant application and establishes an independent system for the two-tiered peer review of applications. The Referee Panel provides critical appraisal of grant applications and reports.

In addition, the RC reviews health care trends and health needs in Hong Kong on a continuing basis to support its decision making and the formulation and revision of research policy and priorities.


The RC comprises prominent members of the health care system and academic institutions. The EAP members are the local and/ or overseas academics and experts versed in health and medical research. The GRB has brought together experts with technical skills and experience in a wide spectrum of health sciences to support the work of assessing grant applications and reports. Individual members of the Referee Panel are recruited to review grant applications and assess the outcomes of funded projects according to their specific area of expertise. Referees are drawn from both local and overseas institutions and services. Overseas referees are paid a standard fee for their reports.