S&T fund earmarks 470 million patacas for this year’s research projects

2023-03-21 03:31     BY Yuki Lei    Comment:0

The government’s Science and Technology Development Fund (FDCT) has set aside a budget of about 470 million patacas in financial support for this year’s projects, Cheang Kun Wai, a member of the FDCT Administrative Committee, said during a press conference yesterday, adding that excluding the State Key Laboratories (SKL) scheme, the overall project funding budget amounts to about 370 million patacas, the same as in previous years.

Cheang noted that the fund granted 353 million patacas for 214 projects last year, 90 percent of which were applied research projects, mainly focusing on “big health” (大健康), information technology (IT), and engineering and materials.

According to Cheang, the achievements of the funded projects are “gradually” being applied or have entered the stage of transformation, some of which have been applied to enterprises, hospitals and major projects, including the nano-foam concrete technology applied to the fourth Macau-Taipa Bridge, and the Printing Bureau’s (IO) defect detection techniques.

Cheang made the remarks during yesterday’s annual press conference at the Government Information Bureau (GCS) in China Plaza, which was also attended by FDCT Administrative Committee President Chan Wan Hei and member Ip Kuai Lam.

Chan said that this year the fund would emphasise the integration of scientific research results and social capital by adding a new orientation known as “funding as leverage” on the basis of “funding as a guide” to strengthen the ability of scientific research achievements to attract social capital.

Chan also said that the fund would also strive to launch major projects to create conditions for improving Macau’s overall industrial competitiveness while, at the same time, launching an experimental approach in which enterprises would be requested to raise topics about possible university-industry cooperation projects, i.e., collaborative investigation projects based on the enterprises’ needs and the implementation of achievements.

Chan pointed out that the fund aims to launch a number of major projects this year, with a three-year total funding of 50 million patacas. He said that concerning the major projects, the fund had already carried out preliminary research. He also stressed that the participating enterprises and universities’ research and development achievements must attain “national leadership” in a certain industry within three years.

Enterprises from the Guangdong-Macau In-depth Cooperation Zone in Hengqin can also apply for funding, Chan added.

Chan said he expected the experimental university-industry cooperation projects to be launched in the third quarter of this year, adding he hoped to collect about 20 to 30 proposals from the enterprises applying to join the pilot scheme and to select one-third of them, for which universities then can apply for collaborative research projects.

Chan said that reserarch topics proposed by enterprises needed to be of high quality and have been evaluated by experts, underlining that any funding approved must always be selected carefully.

The fund would implement two separate funding review systems this year for evaluating grants to universities and enterprises, according to Chan, who said that for applied projects led by colleges and universities, it was necessary to clearly explain the future application prospects, such as which products would be used in the project in the future and, Chan stressed, there must be clear ideas and expected results.

Chan added that enterprise-led innovative research and development projects would be approved only if they meet the requirements of the fund’s evaluation, which would specifically focus on a technical level, practical application scenarios and achievable economic and social benefits.

Chan said he believed that the systems would enhance research capabilities and cutting-edge innovation, help support industry-university-research collaboration, and enhance the contribution of scientific and technological innovations to social and economic development, while promoting collaboration between universities and enterprises in order to set up a healthy industry-university-research ecosystem for Macau.

Macau Science and Technology Development Fund (FDCT) Administrative Committee President Chan Wan Hei (centre) and members Ip Kuai Lam (right) and Cheang Kun Wai co-host yesterday’s press conference at China Plaza. – Photo: Yuki Lei

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