IFEC Grant for Research into Financial Education Call for Proposals


The 2019/20 funding round has been closed. The next round of call for proposals will be announced in the last quarter of 2020.

Research and evaluation is critical to the development of financial education, and IFEC is keen to encourage high-quality research to advance financial literacy in Hong Kong.

As such, IFEC has established an annual research grant programme to stimulate new financial literacy research projects. Two types of research grants are offered:



Criteria for eligibility



Each application must be submitted by a team consisting of one or more researchers. Researchers must be affiliated with a university or academic research institution in Hong Kong and either hold a PhD or be currently pursuing a PhD in a relevant discipline – which can be as diverse as Economics, Finance, Education, Social Work, Sociology, Psychology, Decision Sciences, etc. Priority will be given to projects with collaboration between researchers and financial education practitioners.


All applications must be research projects related to financial literacy in Hong Kong.


Research areas


All submissions must present a rigorous study design and the project outcomes should be actionable in the field of financial literacy and directly relevant to the financial well-being of the Hong Kong population.


Topic-specific research grants


For the 2019/20 funding round, priority will be given to research projects falling under the five areas listed below:



Other research topics that fall outside these areas but seek to contribute to advancing financial literacy in Hong Kong may also be considered. Researchers are encouraged to submit a brief research outline to confirm relevance before working on a full proposal.


Seed grants


Seed grants are for early-stage research of ideas that researchers want to develop or feasibility studies as a preliminary step to in-depth empirical research. Research projects on all areas of financial literacy are eligible.


Seed grant recipients will be given priority in future funding rounds.


Grant amount and project duration


IFEC awards grants in varying amounts, depending on the number and type of requests received, the size and scope of the projects for which funding is requested. All grants are made at the sole discretion of IFEC.


Proposals shall indicate the overall cost of the project with breakdown of the major cost items. Grants up to HKD500,000 are available depending on the scope of the project. All funding requests are capped at HKD500,000.


The IFEC is open to co-sponsor research projects, especially for longitudinal studies or large-scale projects that require significant resources. Other funding organisations, which have been approached for funding related to the project, should be detailed and any contracted outputs and intellectual property rights should be outlined.


There is no limit on the project duration as long as it is within a reasonable time frame with regard to the scope of the project.


Application process

A research grant committee consisting of both leading academics and financial education practitioners has been formed to assess all applications and make award selection.

Applications are scored on a variety of aspects including the strength and methodological rigor of the research design, as well as the relevance of the research to the progression of financial education in Hong Kong.

Grant process

  • Applicants submit a project proposal before midnight of 28 February 2020.
  • Proposals are reviewed for eligibility and referred to the research grant committee for assessment relative to funding priorities.
  • Applicants may be asked to provide further information or they may be invited to present their proposals.
  • Grant agreement negotiations are undertaken for approved proposals (Note: Funding is not released until a grant agreement is fully executed).
  • Payments are made in instalments according to an agreed project plan.

Key project information required for the proposals

All proposals should be in MS Word format and should cover the following items:

Please email the proposals to elliechiu@ifec.org.hk before midnight of the closing date on 28 February 2020. Any applications received after the closing date will not be accepted.


Research projects funded by the grant

Funding has been granted to the following research projects :

Impact evaluation of a financial education programme for foreign domestic helpers

A study of investor motivations and fraud

Impact evaluation of a financial education programme targeting secondary school students

Financial Education Needs of Low-income Single Parents

Impact evaluation of “HSBC Young Financial Planners Programme”

Advance Financial Planning in the Third and Fourth Age in Hong Kong


Definitions of key terms

IFEC has adopted below definitions for the purpose of this research grant:

Financial literacy1

Financial literacy is a combination of awareness, knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours necessary to make sound financial decisions and ultimately achieve financial well-being.

Financial well-being2

Managing one's finances so that an individual and his/her family:

Financial education initiatives

Any online and offline resources,events/activities, programmes or content with financial education elements.

Financial education practitioners

Any individuals or organisations involved in producing financial education initiatives.

1 OECD/INFE High Level Principles on National Strategies for Financial Education, August 2012
2 Hong Kong Strategy for Financial Literacy, September 2015


Resources for reference

IFEC annual report

Current IFEC research

Hong Kong Strategy for Financial Literacy

Financial Competency Framework

Interested applicants are encouraged to conduct a review of existing research on financial literacy, below list some of the resources available:

OECD International Network for Financial Education


Publications, materials and data

Global database on financial education

Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center (GFLEC)


Research section

The World Bank Financial Education Studies Database


G20 Fukuoka Policy Priorities on Aging and Financial Inclusion




For enquiries, please email: elliechiu@ifec.org.hk