Croucher Advanced Study Institutes

Notes for applicants

Purpose and Form

An Advanced Study Institute (ASI) is a high-level teaching activity where a carefully defined subject, systematically presented, is treated in depth by lecturers of international standing, and new advances in a subject, not taught elsewhere, are reported in tutorial form. ASIs, as short courses, contribute to the dissemination of knowledge and the formation of international scientific contacts. The teaching in ASIs is aimed at established scientists with substantial scientific background in the topic being proposed. This type of event is NOT primarily targeted at postgraduate students and should not be used for that purpose.

ASIs must be a standalone event with a duration of about three working days to give adequate time for the development of a topic and allow for sufficient interaction between the scientists. The time should be mainly devoted to lectures or teaching activities, and not to the rigid format of presentation of papers. Poster sessions should generally take place in the evening.

Fields of Science

ASIs in any scientific discipline and/or technology can be supported. ASIs should deal with subjects in which new advances are reported in tutorial form. An interdisciplinary ASI may be organised where specialists in one field teach scientists highly qualified in another, with roles being interchanged as the theme of common interest is developed from the viewpoints of the different sciences. Interdisciplinary meetings require particular care in preparation.

ASI Director and Organizing Committee

The Applicant should assume the role of the Director of the ASI concerned, and must specifically provide under Section 10 of the application form details about his/her own scientific background in connection with the topic proposed for the ASI. The ASI Director is responsible for the preparation of the scientific programme, the selection of participants, and the administration of the meeting. He/she should, inter alia, ensure the evolution of the lecture programme as a teaching exercise, encourage the formation of smaller tutorial groups, support the participants’ expression of their own work, normally through poster sessions, indicate relevant reference material, and ensure the delivery of final texts for publication. The ASI Director should publicise the ASI to attract target participants. He/she may be assisted by a small Organising Committee preferably composed of three to four scientists from more than one institution and, if appropriate, from different research sectors.

The choice of lecturers and ASI participants is the responsibility of the ASI Director assisted by the Organizing Committee. ASI participants should be chosen for their appropriate qualifications following their responses to both open announcements in universities and relevant professional communities inside Hong Kong and by invitation. An ASI is primarily aimed at established “senior” scientists. Exceptionally, only a very small number of dcotoral or postdoctoral students may be invited, but they count as observers and should not take precedence over senior scientists. Lecturers and ASI participants are expected to stay for the entire duration of the ASI to ensure full interaction.

ASI participants must be of sufficient calibre to contribute at a high level. Prospective lecturers may be approached before preparation of the application; an indication of their degree of commitment to participate will help the application since this has a bearing on the assessment of the application. Applications with a low degree of lecturer commitment stand a reduced chance of being awarded. If a grant is approved, the Applicant must confirm to the Foundation that the lecturers proposed will attend the ASI. There should be no more than 6 lecturers for each ASI to make the size manageable.

The majority of ASI course participants should be from Hong Kong and preferably from more than one university. Some from outside Hong Kong, particularly from Asian countries/territories, may be allowed, if they have promising potential in scientific interaction and collaboration with Hong Kong, but this should not exceed 25% of the total number of ASI participants.

Those applications that have an applied aspect, and especially where relevance to industry is declared, would be strengthened by inclusion of a noted industrial scientist or engineer, both on the Organising Committee and among the lecturers.


The Croucher award is intended to cover direct organisational expenses, the travel and living expenses of lecturers, and to contribute to some ASI participants’ travel and living expenses. Only ASI participants from outside Hong Kong can be subsidised from the Croucher grant for travel and accommodation expenses. The level of funding awarded to organise an ASI is determined by the Croucher Foundation Limited (“the Foundation”) on a case by case basis, taking into account the number of lecturers, and the size, duration and location of the meeting.

The ASI Director should minimise costs through efficient organisation and choice of location. To make optimal use of funds, the ASI Director should decide on the most appropriate allocation of funds to the various lines of the budget and the level of support to individual participants. Entertainment expenses should be minimized.

As a condition of the grant, the meeting must be designated a “Croucher Advanced Study Institute”. The Organising Committee must not charge any participant fee.


ASIs are to be held in Hong Kong preferably on the premises of a university, or establishments which are willing to reduce rental and related costs to a minimum. It is not a programme to be held at expensive conference venues.

The characteristics of locations suitable for hosting ASIs are herewith for reference: appropriate lecture facilities including appropriate lecture rooms, audiovisual aids, photocopiers, computers etc.; secluded and quiet location; facilities for informal meetings to allow free exchange of views among participants; possibility of having at least one daily meal together; conference rooms, accommodation, restaurant, etc. located near each other; accommodation in one building for all participants (if this is not possible, the various accommodations should be nearby and of a similar standard); easy accessibility; easy access to local assistance for travel arrangements, banking, etc.; availability of half or full board; availability of special group rates (which can be advantageous in view of the long duration of the meetings); reliable booking guaranteed by the local management.


All applicants must be acutely aware that their applications are reviewed by leading international experts in the relevant fields. Selection of applications by the Foundation is based on the recommendations of the opinions of these independent reviewers. Elements involved in evaluating an application include its scientific content, the importance and the topicality of the meeting, the research and teaching design of the programme to achieve its educational objective, the scientific background of the proposed lecturers, the qualifications of the proposed participants and their commitment, the stated objective and the appropriateness of the format and level of commitment. An applicant who is not in a position to provide highly specific scientific topic in the lecture programmes should not make an application. In approving a grant, the Foundation may suggest modifications in form, content, personnel and estimated costs. An ASI is essentially a teaching and not a public relations activity. Applicants must try to exclude ceremonial, banquets or items of a public relations nature from their budget proposals.

Applications for Croucher Foundation sponsorship and funding of an ASI should be submitted on standardized format presented by the Foundation, and must be submitted through the relevant administrative office in one of the universities in Hong Kong. The Foundation considers requests for ASI support once a year.

The ASI is not a conference and therefore not offered as an alternative to the international conference or symposium sponsorship which is supported by the Foundation under a separate funding programme. The ASI must be a standalone event and not as an offshoot back-to-back event of any other event, or used as a means of enhanced funding for another event.

Annual Closing Date: 7th December . As the Foundation only accepts applications through relevant designated University offices and there are institutional quotas for entries, each University may at its discretion pronounce an internal deadline for screening applications. Prospective applicants are advised to check with their own university administrative offices in preparing their proposals.

Applicants are informed in writing of the Foundation’s’ decision around mid-April of the year. The Foundation does not provide critiques for unsuccessful applications.

To apply, please enter the online system here.

Last Modified: 15 September 2016