Hong Kong’s Public Sector Trial Scheme calls for projects to combat COVID-19

The special round aims to fund trials of R&D outcomes in the local public sector relating to detection, diagnosis or surveillance of the COVID-19 virus, or reduction of the risks of infection and its spread.
By Dean Koh
11:38 PM

On March 9, the Innovation and Technology Commission (ITC) in Hong Kong launched a special call under the Public Sector Trial Scheme for projects to support product development and application of technologies for the prevention and control of COVID-19. 

WHAT’S IT ABOUT

The special round aims to fund trials of R&D outcomes in the local public sector relating to detection, diagnosis or surveillance of the COVID-19 virus, or reduction of the risks of infection and its spread. According to its official release, the R&D outcomes should be immediately ready for trials by government departments or the relevant public organizations to bring about benefits for the community in fighting the epidemic in the near future.

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The target funding recipients are local R&D centers, universities and other designated public research institutes, as well as all technology companies conducting R&D activities in Hong Kong. The funding ceiling for each project is HKD $2M in general, and a higher ceiling for individual projects may be considered if necessary and justified.

Applications will be accepted from now until April 10, and more details are available here

THE LARGER TREND

Last week, Singapore-born, Boston-based digital therapeutics startup Biofourmis announced that its technology is being utilized in a remote monitoring and disease surveillance program in Hong Kong involving patients with diagnosed or suspect cases of COVID-19. The program is being administered by the University of Hong Kong. 

Elsewhere in APAC, governments or public agencies are collaborating with healthtech startups to tackle the management and/or diagnosis of COVID-19. Singapore’s national HIT agency, IHiS, has worked with local healthcare AI startup Kronikare to pilot iThermo – an AI-powered temperature screening solution that screens and identifies those having or showing symptoms of fever, HealthcareITNews reported.

Singapore-based Veredus Laboratories worked with the Home Team Science and Technology Agency (HTX), a statutory board under the Ministry of Home Affairs, to develop its VereCoV Detection Kit, a portable Lab-on-Chip application capable of detecting the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in a single test, according to MobiHealthNews report.

ON THE RECORD

“The aim of the call is not only to promote the realization and commercialization of local R&D outcomes, but also to encourage the public sector to use technologies for tackling the COVID-19 epidemic in Hong Kong, thereby bearing dual significance,” said an ITC spokesman in a statement. 

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