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Bridging the Gap: How the Guangdong-Hong Kong Fund Supports Cross-Border Collaboration

Updated: May 10

In an increasingly interconnected world, especially with the unique relationship of Hong Kong and China, cross-border collaboration is not only encouraged but has become a necessity, especially in the field of research and development (R&D).


The amalgamation of shared resources, knowledge, and expertise can lead to breakthroughs that might be elusive within isolated efforts. Standing as a testament to this is the Guangdong-Hong Kong Technology Cooperation Funding Scheme (TCFS), a program fostering R&D cooperation between Hong Kong and the Guangdong/Shenzhen regions.

shenzhen city

Fostering Technological Capabilities and Economic Development


The TCFS has a clear mission: to enhance collaboration between universities, research institutes, and technology enterprises spread across Hong Kong and Guangdong/Shenzhen. By providing financial support for applied R&D projects, the scheme creates a framework for cooperation between the two regions.


However, the scope of the TCFS extends beyond just funding. It is a lynchpin in the grander strategy to bolster the technological capabilities of the region, driving economic growth and development. By fostering cross-border partnerships, TCFS plays a central role in transforming the Guangdong-Hong Kong Greater Bay Area into an international innovation and technology hub.


A Closer Look at the Structure of the Scheme


The TCFS is designed to support a variety of R&D projects, including both platform and collaborative types, involving cooperation between Hong Kong and Guangdong or Hong Kong and Shenzhen.


The scheme further classifies projects into three categories:






By delineating projects into these categories, the TCFS ensures resources are efficiently allocated and projects are completed within a reasonable timeframe, with the maximum duration set at 24 months.


Building Bridges between Industry and Innovation


One of the key features of the TCFS is its emphasis on industry sponsorship. For platform projects, at least 10% of the total project cost must be sponsored by the industry. For collaborative projects, a minimum of 50% of the total project cost must be industry-sponsored. This requirement ensures a robust connection between industry needs and research goals, validating the market relevance of the sponsored projects.


Moreover, the issue of Intellectual Property (IP) rights ownership is also addressed. The lead applicant owns the IP rights for platform projects. However, for collaborative projects, if the industry co-applicant contributes at least 50% of the total project cost, it owns the IP rights. This approach provides a clear incentive for industry investment in collaborative R&D projects.


The Journey from Application to Approval


The TCFS operates on an annual cycle, inviting applications for funding once a year. For the 2023/24 period, the application timeline is set from November 13, 2023, to January 12, 2024. Notably, applications under Category C must be submitted concurrently by both the Hong Kong and Guangdong/Shenzhen applicant organizations to their respective authorities.


The applications undergo preliminary screening by the ITF Secretariat, with the possibility of an external review if deemed necessary. The assessments are then submitted to the Innovation and Technology Fund Research Projects Assessment Panel for examination.


For Category C applications, a separate vetting process is conducted by the relevant Mainland authorities, and funding is granted only to applications supported by both sides.


The Impact and Future of the Scheme


The TCFS stands as a powerful example of the potential of cross-border collaboration. It is shaping the technological landscape of the Guangdong-Hong Kong Greater Bay Area, driving innovation and economic growth. The scheme’s impact is evident in its numbers. By the end of August 2023, the scheme had approved 379 projects, with funding amounting to over HK$1 billion.


However, the TCFS is more than just a funding scheme. It is a catalyst for regional cooperation and a tool for shaping the Greater Bay Area into a leading center for technological innovation on the global stage. As the scheme continues to evolve, it will undoubtedly play a crucial role in defining the future of the region.


To learn more about the TCFS and its ongoing impact on the region’s technology landscape, please visit the Innovation and Technology Commission’s website at https://www.itf.gov.hk/.

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