In support of the development of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen, the Shenzhen municipal government has recently provided the university a 200 Million RMB funding to set a President's Fund. This funding has a duration of five years, after which it is likely the university will receive additional funding to replenish the President's Fund. The purpose of this funding is to help CUHK(SZ)
(a) recruit top level faculty members
(b) retain faculty
(c) develop research capacity of the university
To give the university flexibility, the government has not set any deliverables for the funding usage. It is understood the funding is to be used at the university’s discretion, following a mechanism to be established by the university and approved by the SZ government. So far, the university has already set up a committee to oversee the fund and developed a guideline on the funding usage, pending the government approval.
For research universities in the U.S., it is common place for research/tenure stream faculty members to recruit postdoctoral fellows (PDFs) to conduct research work and help write research proposals. These postdoctoral fellows are usually appointed by the departments and, in most cases, are sponsored financially by the faculty members using their research grants. The employment of PDFs is a great way to develop and expand the research capacity of a university. Sometimes when a university wishes to enhance the research capacity in a specific area, it may sponsor special “named” postdoctoral fellowships to attract strong PDF candidates in that area.
To develop the research capacity in a new university like CUHK(SZ), it is necessary and especially important to recruit top PDFs from overseas to work with the research/tenure stream faculty members. The reasons include
a. The new faculty members may not have sufficient initial funding to support PDFs.
b. CUHK(SZ) cannot currently tap into the central government's PDF funding pool.
c. The PDF candidates with overseas Ph.Ds will normally be reluctant to come to the new CUHK(SZ) for their PDF training. The strong financial support from the university will help mitigate the problem.
d. The President's Fund is well suited for supporting the PDFs.
It is therefore proposed that we set up Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowship using the President's Fund.
3. The Features of Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowship
To attract quality PDFs and develop the research reputation of CUHK(SZ), it is recommended that
a. Each PDF is required to have at least two supervisors, one from a leading overseas university (who preferably also holds a fractional appointment in CUHK(SZ)), and one from CUHK(SZ).
b. The Presidential PDFs may freely choose to work with any one or more of the CUHK(SZ) research/tenure stream faculty members. In other words, a PDF is not tied to a specific faculty member.
c. Each PDF spends half time overseas, and half time in SZ.
d. The Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowship covers the full cost of the overseas stay, including the salary and medical insurance.
e. The PDFs will be reviewed annually by the respective school Dean. Their salaries are adjusted similarly as the regular academic staff by following the annual academic staff performance review procedure.
f. CUHK(SZ) should be the main affiliation of the Presidential PDFs when they publish papers. The research work should properly acknowledge the support of Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowship.
We anticipate to support up to 20 Presidential Postdoctoral Fellows at any year. The duration of the fellowship ranges from one to three years.
Each Presidential PDF shall be provided an average annual salary of 300K (range 200K-400K per year). The total five-year budget estimate is 20 x 0.3mil x 5 = 30 million RMB
The Committee for overseeing the President's Fund will receive nominations from the School Deans and the VP (Academic) and decide on the awarding of the Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowships. It will also decide on the level of salary for each PDF.
Each nomination should include the following:
a. The candidate's resume (up to two pages)
b. One-page brief biographies of the proposed supervisors (one from overseas, one from CUHK(SZ))
c. A letter of support from the overseas supervisor (stating explicitly the willingness to host and supervise the candidate as a PDF)
d. A brief research plan including specific time for overseas stay (up to one page)
e. Dean's recommendation (100 words)
The selection criteria and factors used to determine the salary level are:
a. Demonstrated academic excellence or potential of the candidate at the highest international level
b. Areas of strategic importance to the university
c. The cost of living overseas