140 for 140: Great Minds for Grand Challenges

Frequently Asked Questions


Living in Hong Kong

What is living in Hong Kong like?

  • Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Situated on the south coast of China, Hong Kong comprises a beautiful a large mainland and hundreds of Islands, most famously Hong Kong Island itself, where the HKU main campus is situated. The city is known for its expansive skyline, deep natural harbour and stunning mountainous scenery. 
  • The University of Hong Kong Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine is located on the west side of Hong Kong Island in Pok Fu Lam, where the campus enjoys a beautiful sea view dotted with islands. Hong Kong has a humid, subtropical climate. Summers are hot and humid, while winters are mild and sunny, never reaching temperatures that qualify as cold in most of the world. The city boasts a vast array of recreational, cultural, and entertainment facilities, including world-class restaurants, internationally famous shopping districts and local markets, jaw-dropping scenic hikes, and endless opportunities for outdoor and cultural activities.

Getting Around

  • The high population density in Hong Kong has generated outstanding transportation facilities, including the clean, efficient, and inexpensive Mass Transit Railway (MTR), which connects Hong Kong Island with Kowloon, the New Territories and Lantau Island. Additionally, public light busses, double-decker busses, and the city’s iconic trams and Star Ferry help transport commuters. 
  • As a global business and transport hub Hong Kong enjoys excellent air links with the rest of the world, acting as a connecting airport for many international flights, and consistently ranking among the world’s best airports.

Further information

Salary & Benefits at HKU

How is salary determined at HKU? 

  • At HKU, appointments are linked to salary scales. Where appointees are placed on the salary scale depends on the level of appointment, individual qualifications and experience.
  • For academic appointments, HKU has salary scales for respectively clinical professoriate and non-clinical professoriate.

Further information

Housing at HKU

Does the University provide/subsidise housing?

  • Housing support comes in one of two forms:
    • a fixed housing subsidy provided as a monthly cash allowance
    • subsidised residence in HKU senior staff quarters, charged at 10% of basic salary
  • For each of the above, we need to confirm eligibility for HKU senior staff quarters or the amount of housing allowance on offer.

Further information

Health Care Benefits

What health care benefits are provided? 

  • HKU employees may access care from both public and private health care providers. Faculty members are entitled to medical care at University Health Service, with most regular outpatient services provided free of charge. In addition, the University provides a Catastrophic Insurance Plan for all faculty, and offers faculty members the option of enrolling in a Top-Up Medical Insurance Plan to provide more comprehensive coverage. 
  • Medical care in Hong Kong is world class. Hong Kong has a well-developed public health care system and numerous options for private health care provided in clinic and hospital settings.  

Further information

Education Subsidy for Dependants

Does the University provide education subsidy to cover school tuition for dependants?

  • No. While HKU does not provide tuition remission for faculty children, we will work with you throughout the process to answer questions about schooling options in Hong Kong. Schools in Hong Kong are excellent and there are many options from which to choose.

Schooling

  • Hong Kong has a wealth of international and local private schooling for students of all ages offering American, British and Canadian curriculum studies as well as International Baccalaureate Programs. The English Schools Foundation, where many expatriates send their children, is comprised of 22 schools and is subsidised by the Hong Kong government to provide an English-language education, with priority given to students who cannot speak Chinese. 
  • In addition, while most of Hong Kong’s international schools offer Putonghua as an additional language with English as the language of instruction, there is now a number of schools that place an emphasis on bilingual Mandarin/English instruction, which some parents may favour.
Retirement & Pension

What is the retirement age at HKU? 

  • Currently, the formal retirement date at HKU is June 30 following the appointee's 60 birthday.
  • Applications for re-appointment beyond the retirement age of 60 may be submitted at the appropriate time.

What kind of retirement benefits does the University provide?

  • The Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) Scheme is the Hong Kong government's formal system of retirement protection, and all HKU employees between the ages of 18 and 65 are required to participate. 
  • Professoriate staff appointed on a tenured/substantive basis may elect to join the Staff Provident Fund, for which the University's contribution to the fund is 15% of monthly salary with a 5% mandatory contribution from the appointee. 
  • Professoriate staff appointed on a fixed-term basis are eligible for a gratuity (bonus) equivalent to 15% of the salary they earn during the contract period. 

Further information

Academic Life

What are the review criteria for promotion and tenure?

  • "Tenure" is a continuous appointment offered to professoriate staff members up to the normal retirement age of 60, subject to termination only on “good cause”, and is awarded to staff with demonstrated excellence in, and contribution to: teaching and learning, research and scholarship, knowledge exchange, and service/administration.  Granting tenure is a major commitment of the University in recognising demonstrated, and potential for continuing, outstanding performance and excellence in these four areas.  A comprehensive, holistic and rigorous review is therefore conducted in order to ensure that the very best staff are rewarded.
  • The award of tenure to an Assistant Professor will be coupled with promotion to Associate Professor.  Achievements prior to joining the University will also be considered.   Tenure is to be obtained by the end of a maximum of two consecutive fixed-term contracts at the University, viz. two 3-year contracts for non-clinical professoriate staff, or two 4-year contracts for clinical professoriate staff.
  • The review for tenure will normally have to take place before the end of the second contract (i.e. the end of the tenure clock).  Newly-recruited Associate Professors/Professors requesting tenure on entry will undergo the tenure assessment process before a contract is offered.

How are performance reviews conducted?

  • The Performance Review and Development programme covers all professoriate and academic-related staff inclusive of Research Assistant Professors and Post-doctoral Fellows.  It provides an opportunity for colleagues to update their portfolio of achievements, engage in self-reflections and discuss with their reviewers their performance and career plans in the context of the university’s strategic directions.
  • The review period is normally the preceding academic year, from July 1 to June 30, and colleagues’ performance will be reviewed with respect to the relative weightings of work portfolios in the respective areas of teaching; research and scholarship; service/administration; and clinical service (where applicable).

When do faculty receive sabbatical leave?

  • Sabbatical leave is accumulated at the rate of one month of leave per six months of service. Up to one year of sabbatical leave can be taken at a time.

What types of research funding are available at HKU?

  • There are three general categories of research funding:
    • Research start-up package for new appointees
    • Internal funding opportunities, including Faculty and University funding for research
    • External funding opportunities, including Hong Kong government, Chinese government, and international sources of funding for research

Further information

Outside Practice & Professional Leave

Does the University allow employees to conduct consulting and other outside work? 

  • Yes, faculty members could participate in consulting and other outside work. Applications must be filed to the Department Head/relevant authority before undertaking such outside practice activity.

How does the professional leave system work at HKU?

  • Professional leave may be granted to enable staff members to leave Hong Kong for any academic, research or professional purposes. Applications must be filed to the Department Head/relevant authority before undertaking such professional leave.