Chan Wan Hei, a member of the Administrative Committee of the Science and Technology Development Fund (FDCT), disclosed during yesterday’s press conference that a total of MOP310 million (US$38.8 million) was allocated to support science research projects last year, indicating a slight increase of 2.19 per cent compared to MOP303 million disbursed in 2015.
Of the total, FDCT head Ma Chi Ngai reported that the Fund had subsidised 76 general research projects, disbursing some MOP101 million last year.
Within the granted research projects, those related to life science and medicine received the largest amount of funding.
Natural science, information and telecommunication science related projects received the second most funding.
For popular science, FDCT allocated MOP21 million to 231 projects in 2016, covering mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, geography, computers, engineering and robotics.
The Fund also granted seven projects in its first joint research funding with the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), giving out MOP11.9 million.
Cheang Kun Wai, another member of FDCT, indicated that the approval rate will be further adjusted to make general research projects more difficult to obtain subsidies.
“We are now trying to make our approval rate parallel with those by international institutions,” explained Mr. Cheang. “The fact is that for now we have received more applications.”
The FDCT head added that applications for the Fund were not as many as currently they are, and that the higher approval rate encourages application.
Research funding for enterprises
The FDCT is currently conducting research on establishing research funding to enterprises.
“This funding is mainly for enterprises but not research institutions,” Mr. Ma said. “The funding programme aims to apply technology to industry.”
He said that the new programme will encourage research co-operation between research institutions and enterprises.
Enterprises which have research topics they would like to pursue may also apply for the new funding, according to Mr. Ma.
In the wake of the proposal to introduce the development of a Smart City in Macau the committee in charge of Smart City development research has already met related government departments, with seminars and talks conducted in the past year.
The FDCT director claimed that related research will be completed by the end of this year.
Getting in touch with others
The FDCT head revealed that the FDCT has created several joint funding programmes with the National Ministry of Science and Technology, and NSFC, as well as the setting up of Horizon 2020 with the European Commission – an EU Research and Innovation programme with nearly EURO80 billion (MOP679 billion/US$85 billion) of funding available over seven years – in the past two years.
Mr. Ma revealed that the Fund will ink an agreement with Technology Funding in Portugal for the creation of another joint research funding programme.