67. We will increase the number of calls for Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF) applications each year and expand the funded technology areas. We have also relaxed the criteria for the Internship Programme under the ITF to allow more local talent to participate in such projects. We have also raised the grant ceiling for each project funded under the Small Entrepreneur Research Assistance Programme to $4 million to enhance the competitiveness of enterprises in product and service research.
68. The Finance Committee has approved the establishment of an $18-billion Research Endowment Fund, and we will also progressively provide 800 additional places for postgraduate research programmes in three years starting from the 2009-10 academic year. These will help increase our research capacity and competitiveness, and attract outstanding researchers, educators and more high value-added enterprises to Hong Kong.