For discussion
on 12 February 1998


Subhead 001 Salaries

Members are invited to recommend to Finance Committee the creation of the following supernumerary post in the Government Secretariat : Trade and Industry Bureau for a period of two years from 1 April 1998 to 31 March 2000 -

1 Administrative Officer Staff Grade C

(D2) ($110,000 - $116,800)


We need to set up a secretariat with staff at appropriate levels to provide administrative and executive support to the work of the Committee on Technology and Innovation (the Committee) now being established.


2. The Secretary for Trade and Industry (STI) proposes to create one supernumerary post of Administrative Officer Staff Grade C (AOSGC) for a period of two years from 1 April 1998 to 31 March 2000 as the secretary to the Committee and the head of the secretariat.


3. With the shifting of comparative advantages brought about by the globalisation of production, Hong Kong has to adapt to new technologies and develop new industries. The ability to commercialize the results of technological research is critical to our industrial sector's continued development. To this end, it is important that we tap the talents and results of scientific research. It is also important to ensure that appropriate channels exist for the exchange of ideas among researchers on the one hand and potential users of their research results on the other.

4. Against this background, we are establishing the Committee to advise the Chief Executive on the steps that Hong Kong should take and the institutional arrangements required to turn Hong Kong into an innovation centre of the East Asian Region. The Committee will be an important part of the Administration's strategy in strengthening Hong Kong's long-term competitiveness as it moves into the next century.

5. Given its remit, the composition of the Committee will likely include a good representation at senior levels of academics, industrialists and businessmen, as well as relevant Government officials. Originally, the Chief Executive invited Nobel laureate Professor Yang Chen Ning to be the Chairman of the Committee. Detailed discussions with Professor Yang on the membership and terms of reference of the Committee had started. Unfortunately, recently Professor Yang had to withdraw from the chairmanship due to health reasons. We are now actively identifying a suitable replacement for Professor Yang. The exact terms of reference and membership of the Committee will therefore have to be finalised somewhat later than originally expected. Nonetheless, in line with the outline given in the Chief Executive's Policy Address in October 1997, the Committee will likely consider the steps that Hong Kong should take to stimulate the exchange of ideas between university researchers, businessmen and industrialists, and customers to drive forward innovation and turn technological development into commercial products. It may also consider a related question on the tapping of talents and results of scientific research in the Mainland. We also expect the Committee to advise on the institutional arrangements needed to make Hong Kong an innovation centre in the East Asian Region.

The Secretariat and the Directorate Post

6. STI proposes to establish a dedicated secretariat within the Trade and Industry Bureau to facilitate and support the work of the Committee. The current plans are that the Committee, given its specific tasks, will work towards producing a report on its deliberations and recommendations within a specified period, say, in 12 to 18 months' time. The report will chart the course for Hong Kong in its pursuit of becoming an innovation centre. Its recommendations will also carry long-term implications on a wide range of Government policies, which could range from human resources development strategies to Government support to industries. It is therefore important for the secretary to assist the Committee in formulating proposals, drafting discussion papers, preparing report and providing a high level of policy and intellectual input. The task-specific and result-oriented mode of operation of the Committee will require frequent meetings, which will inevitably compress the time available for research and preparation of papers. This would translate into a very heavy workload for the secretariat and we expect a high level of managerial skills from the head of the secretariat.

7. One of the major functions of the Committee is to advise the Chief Executive on the institutional arrangements necessary to make Hong Kong an innovation centre. Therefore, it is imperative that the secretary has a firm grasp of the current industrial institutional set-ups and support programmes available, so that he may assist the Committee in effectively formulating and assessing new proposals.

8. In drawing up the recommendations for Hong Kong, the Committee will have to consider the experience in other economies, such as the United States, Japan, Germany and the like. The secretary will need to liaise closely with overseas institutions to obtain the necessary information and ideas. He will also have to canvass the views of prominent representatives of the industry and academics in carrying out his work. This work will require a high level of liaison and research skills, maturity as well as a high level of political acumen from the secretary. In addition, he has to be highly resourceful in helping to organize the committee's work to optimize the contributions made by the chairman and members, who are likely to be very busy people dividing their time between Hong Kong and overseas.

9. Having regard to the maturity, experience and administrative ability expected of the secretary of this high level Committee and the proactive nature of the job, STI considers that she requires an AOSGC officer for a period of two years from April 1998 to serve as secretary to the Committee and head of the secretariat. A copy of the proposed job description for the post of the Secretary to the Committee and the proposed organisation chart are at Enclosures 1 and 2 respectively.


10. The notional annual salary cost of the proposed AOSGC post at MID-POINT is -

$No. of Post

The full annual average staff cost of the post, including salaries and staff on-cost, is $2,438,640. STI will create five additional non-directorate posts in 1998-99, at an annual average staff cost of $3,184,908, to assist the AOSGC in delivering his duties.

11. We have included sufficient provision in the 1998-99 draft Estimates to meet the cost of the proposed AOSGC and related non-directorate posts.


12. In his policy address to Members at the Provisional Legislative Council meeting on 8 October 1997, the Chief Executive announced that a high level committee of academics, industrialists, businessmen and officials would be set up to advise him on the steps that Hong Kong should take, and the institutional arrangements required to make Hong Kong an innovation centre in the East Asian Region.


13. The Civil Service Bureau agrees that an AOSGC is needed on a supernumerary basis to service the Committee. It also considers the ranking, grading and duration of the proposed post appropriate having regard to its duties and responsibilities, and the timetable for producing a Committee report.


14. We shall report the creation of this supernumerary post, if approved, to the Standing Committee on Directorate Salaries and Conditions of Service in accordance with the agreed procedure.

Trade and Industry Bureau
January 1998

Enclosure 1 to EC(97-98)67

Proposed Job Description for the Post of Secretary to the Committee on Technology and Innovation

Rank : Administrative Officer Staff Grade C

Post : Secretary to the Committee on Technology and Innovation

Main Duties and Responsibilities

Responsible to the Deputy Secretary for Trade and Industry (2) for-

  1. serving as the Secretary to the Committee;

  2. identifying new ideas and initiatives in the promotion of innovation;

  3. formulation of proposals and preparation of papers for the information of and consideration by the Committee;

  4. drafting report(s) of the Committee;

  5. establishing the necessary interface between the Committee and other relevant institutions and organisations;

  6. liaising with parties within and outside the Government including overseas organisations with a view to furthering the above purposes; and

  7. overseeing the operation of the Secretariat.