Q. What is the way forward for PIs from Chinese side proposal submission ? where exactly Chinese PIs can submit their proposals inside china as there are universities mentioned in the list but clarity required about proposal submission from Chinese side (List of Members of CPEC Consortium of Universities)? or only those PIs can collaborate with Pakistani PIs ?  

A. This funding initiative is purely supported by HEC (Pakistan). The Pakistani PI will have to find a partner / Co-PI in a member university from China. Projects will be awarded to (Pakistan-China) joint research teams. 

Q. We are unaware of the status whether Chinese side accepting the proposals likewise HEC is expecting proposals against ongoing CPEC-CRG call for proposals ? or Chinese PIs must find a Pakistani team to become a part of any research proposal ? 

A. All (joint) research proposals are to be submitted to HEC only—not to any Chinese university or organization.

Q. What is the selection criteria for CPEC Consortium of Universities from Pakistan and China for ongoing CPEC-CRG Grant? Why only 36 Pakistani universities are included in this list along with 19 universities of China?

A. "CPEC Consortium of Universities" was established in 2017. It is a voluntary forum of China-Pakistan universities working under mutually agreed Articles of Association. There were nineteen founding members (10 Pakistani and 9 Chinese)—others have joined over the last three years.

Q. Is it possible to include other recognized universities in this list now?

A. All HEC recognized universities are eligible for membership. Desirous universities may submit a formal request with a profile of the university. New requests will be presented in the annual meeting of the Consortium tentatively scheduled to be held in China in October-November 2021.

Q. PI wants to collaborate with China Europe International Business School (CEIBS). CEIB's name is not directly mentioned in HEC's list, however it is affiliated with Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) and SJTU is listed in the HEC list. Is collaboration with affiliated institutes allowed?

A.The PI's (in Pakistan) are required to be faculty members of the Consortium universities. Likewise, the Co-PI's must be from the member universities in China. The PI's and Co-Pi's can co-opt researchers from other universities / institutes.

Q. As per CPEC-Collaborative Research Grant eligibility criteria, the lead PI must be from universities. Which universities are categorized as research intensive?

A. Be a  faculty member (PhD or FCPS/MCPS/FRCS) working on regular/ contract basis (contract duration equivalent to project duration) in the Higher Education Institutions (public or private) of Pakistan that are members of CPEC Consortium of Universities, as per list provided on HEC Website (List of Members of CPEC Consortium of Universities)

Q. What constitutes Subawards? What comes under the head of Subawards?

A.Each participating partner shall have to prepare a separate budget sheet. The total of those sub-budgets will be included in the main sheet of the lead partner as sub-awards. They will have to furnish agreements among themselves to provide proof of their commitment to the project and develop mechanisms for fund disbursements from the lead PI to partner PI universities.

Q. Is there any template to apply for CPEC-CRG? The general HEC research portal does not have a tab for this grant? 

A. Full details of the CPEC-CRG with template are available on the Higher Education Commission website available at downloads at https://www.hec.gov.pk/english/services/faculty/cpec-crg/Pages/Downloads.aspx The FPP template needs to be filled and uploaded in the online form at research.hec.gov.pk   

QWhat criteria/basis should we fill in the column of salaries/stipend of PI, Co PI and students involved in the proposal form? What is the amount to be consider according to the time spent per year?

A. All desired details of the CPEC-CRG with all templates and budget guidelines are available on the Higher Education Commission website available at downloads section in: https://www.hec.gov.pk/english/services/faculty/cpec-crg/Pages/Downloads.aspx

Q. Can a faculty member working in Pakistani university with foreign citizenship are eligible to apply under this grant?

A. All grants programs are open to faculty members as PI or Co-PI who are currently employed at Pakistani universities irrespective of their citizenship. In case they are not employed at Pakistani universities, they can still join the project as Co-PI but we will not be funding their participation.

Q: Can a collaborator be from a foreign university from Chinese universities?

A: Yes, collaboration is required from selective Chinese universities for CPEC-CRG.

Q: Can PI include personal salary and travelling expenses for foreign faculty members?

A: PI can include limited costs for personal salary and travelling expenses for the foreign faculty to contribute to your research agenda, but the equipment related costs for the foreign university will not be supported.

Q: What would be the range (Cost distribution mechanism) of limited cost for foreign faculty (How PIs are going to pay them, i.e., in PKR or in their respective foreign currency)?

A: HEC will pay to the PI's University (Lead University) and they will be responsible to pay to the foreign participants (In their respective foreign currency)

Q: What are cost components that can be covered for foreign participants?

A: They can cover personal cost (salary) in accordance with the time spent on the project.

Q. Is ERC certificate mandatory for all disciplines? Or certain disciplines (e.g., Management Sciences, Engineering & IT etc.) are exempted from ERC certificate submission?

A. It is not mandatory for all disciplines. Research Projects which involve research on living organisms/personal data requires ethical certificate.

Q. Kindly clarify, can I serve as an academic collaborator for CPEC-CRG project submitted from i.e., University of Karachi, Karakoram international university or any other institution?

A. Yes, collaboration is possible with lead PI / institute in desired capacity.

Q. Can faculty members who are serving in public sector universities on Adhoc or on IPFP, apply for CPEC-CRG?

A. No, they are not eligible.

Q. Are there any specific thematic areas for CPEC-CRG?

A. Priority thematic areas of national interest can be seen in call for proposals guidance at https://www.hec.gov.pk/english/services/faculty/cpec-crg/Pages/Priority-Themes.aspx  

Q. Can research associate only include M-Phil or Ph.D. students, can I include graduates into my project as research associate?

A.  Yes, as per new policy there is provision of graduate students to engage in research project @ Rs. 5000/- per month.

Q. Do we need to upload Final proposal on prescribed template as other documents at https://research.hec.gov.pk/ ?

A.   Yes

Q. Do we need to upload Quotations and Budget as well as other documents?

A.  Yes, PIs must make sure that they have attached required quotations in full proposal.

Q. Can a faculty, working on an on-going NRPU project as PI or Co-PI, become a PI for CPRC-CRG (2021) project? 

A.  Yes

Q. Can a Postdoctoral fellow work as part time with ongoing CPEC-CRG call for proposals?

A.  Yes

Q.  I am a full-time contractual faculty member in a university, I am not a permanent faculty member. Can I apply for CPEC-CRG grant?

A.  Yes, if contract is at least equal to length of the proposed project.

Q.  How many co-PIs can be added in one project? In how many projects a person e can acts Co-PI?

A.  It depends upon the scope of project; a project can have more than one Co-PIs as per project requirements. Furthermore, there is no restriction for a person to be Co-PI in one project only.  

Q.  Can a PI apply for CPEC-CRG grant, if he/she is already executing any research project i.e., NRPU, TDF, etc.?

A.   Yes, PI can apply for CPEC-CRG grant  

Q. Do PIs need to submit hard copies for CPEC-CRG 2021 grant, or only online proposal submission at HEC research portal is acceptable?

A. For ongoing call for proposals of CPEC-CRG, no hardcopies are required, only softcopies are accepted which can be submitted on https://research.hec.gov.pk/    

Q.  Can PI and Co-PI be from different universities?

A.   Yes, they can be from different universities.

Q. If Co-PI is from different University, do we need to add his/her details against the "Academic Collaborators" too?

A.   Yes, all desired details are required and must be incorporated with endorsement.

Q. In previous calls funding limit was linked to the cumulative impact factor of the PI. Is this policy still valid? (Because I do not see any such limit in the new policy documents.)

A.  Not previous policy is not applicable for ongoing call for proposals, any position in paper is acceptable.

Q. Personnel Cost" for "Principal Investigator/Faculty Member" in the "Guidelines for Budget", (attached) "Personnel cost of Principal Investigator (PI) & Co-PI is linked with the proportionate time spent on the given project i.e., Gross pay of PI x % time spent. How personnel cost for each year should be calculated?

A. Personnel cost should be calculated as % of time multiplied with gross monthly pay of the PI/faculty member, multiple by 12 for the whole year.

Q. Faculty members having Major Clinical degrees such as FCPS or FRCS are eligible to apply or not?

A: Faculty members having PhDs are only eligible for being PIs and FCPS or FRCS cannot be considered equivalent to a PhD.

Q: I want to ask that is Bachelors' studentship is possible?

A:  Bachelors studentship @ Rs=5000/- PM is acceptable.

Q: Is it allowed to engage Co-PI from any other educational institution in Pakistan?

A:  Yes, it is allowed.

Q: A faculty does not have prior experience of NRPU/TDF/GCF/LCF etc. Can he/she apply for CPEC-CRG grant as a principal investigator?

A:  Yes, if he/she fulfils the eligibility criteria, he/she can apply for CPEC-CRG grant.

Q: Who is eligible to be a principal investigator?

A:  Any individual with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out relevant research may work with his or her institution to develop a grant application.

Q: If my application is not funded what can I do?

A: Grant application can be submitted after making necessary modifications in next call for proposals.

Q: What type of work does CPEC-CRG support?

A: The CPEC- CRG is anticipated to support promising research partnerships between Pakistan and China, aiming at finding solutions to CPEC-related problems through joint research by the universities of Pakistan and China.

Q: Can I submit multiple proposals for the same grant opportunity?

A: An applicant may submit only one application for the same grant opportunity.

Q: Is there a limit to the amount of funding I can request?

A: Budgets for CPEC- CRG awards will range upto Rs. 50 Million, with a maximum project duration of 3 years. In exceptional cases, budgets may go up to Rs. 100 Million. Principal Investigators are encouraged to seek co- and complementary financing from the project collaborators from China.

Q: What is required if a proposed project involves human/animals subjects research?

A: The proposal should have a description of ethical considerations relating to the study. This section should document the issues that are likely to raise ethical concerns. It should also describe how the Principal Investigator is planning to address it and how he/she plans to obtain informed consent from the research participants (the informed consent process). Ethical Certificate duly signed by Ethical Research Committee of Institute is required at submission of full proposal.

Q: Do I need to submit letters of support?

A: Yes, letters of support are required during the full proposal stage.

Q: Is it possible to edit the application after submission, if the deadline is not passed?

A: No, Applications once submitted cannot be edited/resubmitted.

Q: How can I make my application stand out?

A:  A high-quality application that shows you put time and effort into developing it.

Tips for producing a high-quality application include:

  • Take time to develop your application. If you rush through it at the last minute, it shows in your writing and might unintentionally signal to reviewers that you did not take the application seriously.
  • Familiarize yourself with the review criteria; this is what reviewers will use to rate the quality of your application.
  • Tailor your resume, personal essays, and any other application materials to the opportunity. Reviewers notice when you use application materials from another opportunity and simply replace some keywords.
  • If you are reapplying to an opportunity and received feedback on your past application, look it over—or have a colleague look it over—to ensure you are responsive to the reviewer comments.

Q: Is there a limit on how long the proposed project can take?

A: CPEC-CRG projects will be funded with a maximum project duration of 3 years.

Q: How does HEC decide which applications to fund?

A: All proposals are reviewed by independent peer review panels consisting of researchers and practitioners. Panel members read each proposal, assess the technical merits and policy relevance of the proposed research, and meet to discuss their assessments.

Q: Do the quotations for budget need to be submitted at FPP stage?

A:  Yes

Q: Can two people from different universities be PIs for the same project?

A:  No, there will be one PI for the project.

Q: My department is not visible on the academic tab of profile. What should I do? 

A: Please ask the HEC focal person in your university to add the missing department through the eportal and submit the request to HEC. Once the request is submitted, the same will be approved by Quality Assurance Division of HEC after review. Only then, the concerned department will be visible on the eportal. The list of focal person is available on HEC website https://www.hec.gov.pk/english/services/universities/pqr/Pages/HEIs-Focal-Persons.aspx