Communities of Practice (CoPs) funding

(Last updated on 18 Oct 2016)


What is the Communities of Practice (CoPs) funding?


As one of the recommendations of the UGC’s report “Aspirations for the Higher Education System in Hong Kong” published in December 2010, the establishment of Communities of Practice (CoPs) is one of the means to encourage high quality teaching and to sustain institutional emphasis on teaching.

As defined by the UGC, a community of practice shares a common interest to promote teaching and learning quality. The CoPs funding should be used to bring together a network of outstanding teachers and other participants to involve in the scholarly discussion of teaching and learning, and to work on a teaching and learning topic of their concern.

Aligning with our whole person education ethos, the following five themes have been determined as the main CoPs initiatives at HKBU (in no particular order).

  • Assisting the development of the new 4-year cohort by enhancing our existing mentoring system into a full-fledged academic advising system.
  • Assessing learning outcomes to ascertain that students are achieving the intended learning outcomes of their programmes and attaining the University’s Graduate Attributes.
  • Enhancing teaching and learning with online resources and eTools; examples include but not limited to: social, networking, e-communities and mobile learning.
  • Enabling students to achieve excellence – showcasing/publishing high quality students’ works, particularly their capstone experience like the Honours Projects.
  • Establishing a community of scholars to further the cause for interdisciplinarity.

“Helping our students to think creatively, critically and positively” is an overarching principle linking through these five themes.

The CoP initiative to be proposed should demonstrate that:

  • it can further assist our students to achieve the HKBU Graduate Attributes
  • it can facilitate the University to address the issues as set out in our long term vision for teaching and learning – Vision 2020

This funding will support projects which are of direct relevance to teaching and learning. Production of scholarly work on teaching and learning issues as part of the project will also be strongly encouraged.



Who can apply?


All full-time staff members (including academic and non-academic staff whose duties involve aspects of teaching and learning of UGC-funded programme) are eligible for applying for the CoPs funding. Existing CoP projects could also make applications to sustain their worthwhile initiatives and to propose new endeavours with justifications. As CoPs involved collaborative efforts, it is envisaged that each proposal to establish a CoP should consist of ONE principal coordinator and at least ONE coordinator. Members of the CoPs can include academic/teaching colleagues, administrators, research assistants, UGC-funded undergraduate and postgraduate students. To nurture and sustain a culture for CoPs in the University, it would be ideal to include participants at different levels and different stages of their career. As a suggestion of Dr. Milton Cox, our CoP consultant, the optimal size of a CoP would be ranged from 8 to 12 people.



How to apply?


Application form for the CoPs funding is obtainable from the following link: Application Form Unlike the proposals for the Teaching Development Grants, a proposal for CoP should come from a group (at least 1 principal coordinator, 1 coordinator and with other members) and no application on an individual basis will be entertained.

Authority has been delegated to the Teaching Development Grants (TDG) Panel for routine operations of this funding. Completed application forms should therefore be submitted to the TDG Panel for vetting via Dr. Eva Wong, the Secretary to the TDG Panel (email:



Selection Criteria

CoP proposals should be in line with HKBU’s institutional teaching and learning objectives. Each proposal will be reviewed by up to FIVE reviewers. Reviewers will apply the following criteria in considering applications for funding:

Relevance: Does the proposed project address a pertinent teaching and learning issue at HKBU, that falls within the remit of our five themes for CoPs, or other relevant themes?
Design: Is the project designed with clear goals, specific activities and intended outcomes? Are the roles and responsibilities of CoP coordinators and members clearly defined? Does the project have a variety of activities?
Influence: Is the project likely to enhance the teaching and learning environment for sizeable numbers of teachers and students within and/or outside the University?
Sustainability: Is there any plans for extending the CoP to a broader population in the University community and for sustaining the initiative(s) in the future?
Monitoring Mechanism: Will the project implement any mechanisms to monitor the effectiveness of the project?
Evaluation of Effectiveness: How does the project evaluate its effectiveness and outcomes and what processes are in place for improvement?
Outcomes Dissemination: Through what ways the project will share the findings/outcomes within and outside the University community?

If deemed appropriate, reviewers can request the principal coordinator to provide more information or to refine their proposals for resubmission.



Funding Ceiling

To assure that each CoP is sustainable in terms of its size and its impact, requests for the CoPs funding should range from HK$200,000 to HK$500,000.



Budget Items to be Supported

Budget items proposed should be of direct relevance to the project and with sound justifications. Items to be supported by the CoPs funding are as follows:

  • attendance in relevant workshops and local and overseas conferences for individual colleagues (Funding support to individuals for workshops and conferences attendance should not account for more than 20% of the budget requested, and should have a ceiling of HK$20,000 per person per project);
  • organizing relevant events and functions like conferences, seminars, retreats, study visits, networking etc.;
  • engagement of renowned consultants/facilitators for the CoPs, either discipline-specific or theme-based;
  • acquisition of reference materials;
  • creation of web-based platform to facilitate sharing by the CoPs members;
  • dissemination of the good work and materials produced by the CoPs to encourage expanded and continued participation from frontline academic staff, postgraduate and undergraduate students;
  • employment of administrative/project staff to support the CoPs activities;
  • provision of assistance/relief on teaching/research to facilitate members’ participation in the CoPs; and
  • assessment of the CoPs initiative and publication of outcomes/output of CoPs.

Please note the above list of items is not exhaustive. However, it must be noted that renovation or conversion of physical space for CoPs, and other one-off expenditure without sustainable outcomes will not be supported. Regular items/consumable/activities normally supported by Departments/Faculties/Schools should not be supported with the CoPs funding.



Reporting and Outcomes Dissemination

As a condition of receiving the funding, principal coordinators and members of the CoPs (completed and on-going) have to:

  • submit a final report to the TDG Panel within three months after the completion of the project; the requirement of a progress report is subject to the duration of the project;
  • participate in the University’s overall assessment of the entire CoPs initiative; and
  • facilitate/participate in teaching and learning workshops/seminars organized by HKBU and/or the UGC. The main objectives of these activities are to promote a culture of professional development and sharing of good practice within the University, and with the global education sector.



Can the project investigators of approved TDG project apply for the CoPs funding for top-up grant?

Although both the TDG and the CoP initiatives are closely related to teaching and learning, project investigators of TDG projects cannot apply for top-up grant from the CoPs funding as their projects are of different nature. However, TDG project investigators are encouraged to make independent and separate applications for the CoPs funding, or to participate as a member of any established CoPs.


Any questions?

For any enquiries, please feel free to contact Dr. Eva Wong, Secretary to the TDG Panel (tel: 3411 7242, email: