Monday, 30 June 2014

China fieldwork on Emerging Technologies

By Yanchao Li

In a round of in-country fieldwork for the Rising Powers project on Emerging Technologies and Implications of Next Generation Innovation System Development, a group of researchers carried out a series of interviews and visits in China in May 2014. The research team included Philip Shapira and Yanchao Li (University of Manchester), Alan Harding (University of Liverpool), Jan Youtie (Georgia Institute of Technology), and Jie Ren (Beijing Institute of Technology). The research team sought a first-hand understanding of China’s innovation system dynamics in transition with a special focus on the role played by emerging technologies such as nanotechnology and graphene. On the China side, colleagues from our project partner, the Beijing Institute of Technology, supported the trip with additional support from Xi’an Jiao Tong – Liverpool University and Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

Extensive preparation work was conducted beforehand to select and approach interview participants; eventually the researchers (working in parallel teams) completed 29 interviews with industry, government, academia, and intermediary bodies. Fieldwork interviews were concentrated in Beijing (the national capital and a massive metropolitan agglomeration of business and research activities) and Jiangsu (a rapidly growing and leading region of innovation in southern China). Among the interviews, we spoke with representatives of the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology and related agencies, the Zhongguancun National Innovation Demonstration Zone Administration Committee and some of its tenant firms, the Suzhou Industrial Park Administration Committee and some of its tenant firms, Nanopolis and Biobay Suzhou, and academic institutions such as Peking University and China Academy of Sciences. One interview team went to Changzhou city to visit the Jiangnan Graphene Research Institute (JGRI), a local government funded institute focused on applied graphene research and commercialization, and the Sixth Element Inc., a start-up associated with JGRI and specialized in making graphene powder materials. The team also visited the huge new graphene research and industry complex now in advanced stages of construction in Changzhou.

In Shanghai, the research team piloted a different approach by organizing a focus group workshop – the International Workshop on Scenarios for Emerging Technologies and Implications of Next Generation Innovation System Development in China, held at Shanghai Jiao Tong University on May 15, 2014. The workshop took a semi-structured form, engaging a group of 12 invited participants from academia and industry in open discussion and breakout groups on issues and opportunities facing the current and future Chinese innovation system. Participants were highly engaged, and keen to discuss and express their views: in short, the workshop was very successful.

Team members also participated in a Beijing lab meeting of the Innovation Co-Lab (University of Manchester, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Beijing Institute of Technology), and presented papers at the International Workshop on the Management of Innovation and Technology and Data Science organized by Zhejiang University. Team members also contributed to the 2014 International Forum on Enterprise Technology Innovation Management and Information Strategy – Innovation and Industry & Information Technology Integration organized by Beijing Institute of Technology. Further project fieldwork in China is planned over the next year.

1 comment:

  1. Emerging Technologies America Has Fallen Behind On

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