The Government extended the scope of Innovation & Technology Fund funding in early 2011 to help new products meet requirement levels through the fund, instead of varying the Government procurement system.
Acting Secretary for Financial Services & the Treasury Julia Leung told the Legislative Council today the prevailing Government procurement system puts emphasis on both the price and quality of products, including their usage track record.
New products tend to cost more due to various reasons, for example when mass production may not yet be feasible to reduce unit cost.
“In relation to the usage track record, they do not usually fair well. For these reasons it is difficult for new local research and development products to win in an open tender,” she said.
Before early 2011, the Innovation & Technology Fund provided financial support only for the completion of the R&D work culminating in the submission of a report. Any follow-up would not be funded.
Under the new arrangement, in addition to R&D work, the fund also covers the production of tools, prototypes and samples, and conducting trial schemes in the public sector.
The funding ceiling for the additional work is capped at 30% of the original R&D project cost. The Commissioner for Innovation & Technology can exercise discretion for additional spending under exceptional circumstances.
Ms Leung said the Government has been pro-actively seeking flexible measures over the past two years through consultation with various stakeholders, with the objective of nurturing indigenous innovation and technology.