October 22, 2020

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HK launches research talent hub

The Researcher Programme and the Postdoctoral Hub have been merged to become the Research Talent Hub to nurture more innovation and technology talents, the Innovation & Technology Commission announced recently.

At present, the Researcher Programme and the Postdoctoral Hub provide funding support for eligible companies and organisations to engage two researchers and two postdoctoral talents to conduct research and development work.

In the past three years, the Researcher Programme has approved over 2,300 researcher positions with total funding of about $780 million, while the Postdoctoral Hub has supported over 1,030 postdoctoral talents with total funding of about $603 million since its launch in August 2018.

The commission said the two programmes have been merged and collectively named as the Research Talent Hub, under which each eligible company or organisation can obtain funding support to engage up to four I&T talents with a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree to conduct R&D work, thereby providing more flexibility for employers in engaging research talents.

The maximum engagement period for each research talent is three years in general. The maximum monthly allowances for research talents with a local bachelor’s degree, local master’s degree or doctoral degree are $18,000, $21,000 and $32,000.

All technology companies conducting R&D activities in Hong Kong, including incubatees and I&T tenants of the Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks Corporation and Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited, as well as organisations and companies undertaking R&D projects funded by the Innovation & Technology Fund are eligible to apply.

Fintech talent scheme to be launched

According to another press release, The FinTech Anti-epidemic Scheme for Talent Development (FAST Scheme) under the second round of the Anti-epidemic Fund will be launched on July 2, the Financial Services & the Treasury Bureau announced on 1 July 2020.

The Secretary for Financial Services & the Treasury stated that the Government has earmarked $6 billion under the Anti-epidemic Fund to create around 30,000 time-limited jobs in both public and private sectors in the coming two years for people of different skill sets and academic qualifications.

To support fintech development, the bureau will launch the FAST Scheme for fintech companies and start-ups, and other enterprises with fintech-related businesses to create 1,000 new jobs to employ local people and enrich Hong Kong’s fintech talent pool.

The scheme will offer a quota of 1,000 openings for application on a first-come-first-served basis. Each fintech company can apply for one subsidy for a new full-time position.

Successful applicants will receive $10,000 per month as a salary subsidy for a maximum of 12 months. The total funding involved may amount to $120 million.

The applicant must be a Hong Kong-registered company or a not-for-profit organisation. It must have commenced business before January 1 and still be in operation at the time of application. It must also be conducting substantive fintech activities at a fixed physical office in Hong Kong.

The candidate must be a Hong Kong resident over 18 years old with a Hong Kong identity card.

The candidate must also be a holder of accredited certificates, diplomas and degrees obtained in programmes of post-secondary and tertiary institutes in disciplines including information technology, digital media, accounting or business management, or be a person with relevant work experience.

The bureau has appointed Cyberport to administer the scheme.