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Content archived on 2024-05-28



The project was to assess and reconcile the two faces of innovation in China by analyzing China’s innovation challenges and pinpointing the impacts of such challenges on European countries. The project was launched on 10th October 2012 when I formally joined the School of Contemporary Chinese Studies (SCCS), the University of Nottingham, as a Marie Curie (MC) Research Fellow.

*Fieldwork in China*
During the two years, I have been in China in December 2012, June 2013, August 2013, December 2013, June 2014 respectively, carrying out interviews in Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin and Dalian of Liaoning province. During my first fieldwork in December 2012, I interviewed 11 famous scholars and related policy-makers at Fudan University, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Tsinghua University, Institute of Policy and Management of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Ministry of Science and Technology, Dalian Municipal Science and Technology Bureau and Dalian University of Technology, with respect to China’s indigenous innovation. During the second and third fieldworks in 2013, I interviewed several professors and administrators at the Dalian University of Technology with respect to China’s technology transfer from university to industry. During the fourth and fifth fieldworks, I interviewed several young scholars recruited into the Thousand Talents Program and returnees at the Dalian University of Technology, Tianjin University and so on with respect to China’s policy on “brain gain”.

*Research topics and main results*
Since October 2012, I and Dr Cong Cao, the scientist in charge of the fellowship, have analysed Chinese public expenditure on research & development (R&D) based on departmental annual reports on financial budgets and final accounts and various statistical documents issued by the government. This work tries to reveal the linkages between the government expenditure on science & technology (S&T) and gross domestic expenditure on R&D so as to open the “black box” of China’s public R&D expenditure. We have published a paper entitled “Demystifying Central Government R&D Spending in China” in Science.
The second work is about China’s intra-regional and inter-regional research collaborations. Both intra-regional and inter-regional research collaborations are significant determinants for regional innovation, however only a few cases of systematic empirical research have been reported integrating both of them. Using two-dimensional quadrant (TDQ) and social network analysis (SNA), this work investigates China’s regional balance patterns and network position of intra-and inter-regional research collaborations measured by inventive patents application in SIPO instead of granted utility patents in USPTO. We have submitted the paper to Technological Forecasting and Social Change.
The third work is about China’s innovation policy network. The concept of policy network is now in common use in policy study. However, existing literature does not agree on whether policy network is a metaphor, a theory, a method, or a way to describe and understand the policymaking process and seldom empirically examines policy network and its evolution. This work clarifies the notion of policy network by addressing three basic questions in the study of policy network: What is policy network? How do we understand policy network? How is policy network managed? Then, it tries to map innovation policy network in China and study the characteristics of policy network at the macro, meso and micro levels by analyzing 463 policy documents issued by central government agencies between 1980 and 2011.
The fourth work is about China’s Mega-Engineering Programs (MEPs), launched under China’s Medium and Long-Term Plan for the Development of Science and Technology in 2006, to understand the role of the state in industrial innovation. Our research intends to propose a theoretical framework of identifying the preconditions for the state to adopt mission-oriented mega-programs as an intervention approach while also considering the characteristics of the industry under which it tries to intervene. Then, we will apply the framework to the examination of the extent to which China’s MEPs comply to these preconditions and industrial characteristics.