This project, led from Lancaster University, is an international collaboration between researchers in the UK and at leading institutions in China to investigate different models of innovation and their role in low carbon transitions.
Running from late 2013 to 2017, the project has compared government-led, high-tech ‘indigenous innovation’ approaches with emergent, lower-tech approaches in the areas of agriculture, energy and mobility, as briefly explained in the short videos below.
The project’s aim has been to explore the extent, nature and social implications of low-carbon transitions in China, a key concern for the whole world. There is a burgeoning literature on low-carbon innovation in China, including from thinktanks, global governance institutions and INGOs. But these reports tend to downplay the social nature of technical change, and thus questions of political change and power. They also thus restate conventional policy recommendations that remain ignored or are proving impossible to implement. Low carbon transition fails to emerge even as socioeconomic change continues at spectacular pace.
Research for this project aims to fill this gap in knowledge by offering in-depth academic analysis of several key areas of low-carbon innovation that acknowledges these key issues. It seeks to inform policymakers and stakeholders on opportunities for prospective low-carbon transitions, and optimising their global impact, as well as advancing knowledge of contemporary low-carbon innovation in China beyond.
There will be a clear project focus on impact, communications and engagement, strengthened through collaboration with the STEPS Centre ICE Unit, the Work Foundation and ChinaDialogue.net. The project is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).
We are very sad to share the news that Prof John Urry, Principal Investigator on the project, died on 18 March 2016. An announcement and tribute can be found on the Lancaster University website.
- Principal Investigator: Prof. John Urry, Centre for Mobilities Research (CeMoRe), Lancaster University, UK
- Co-Investigator and Lead Co-ordinator: Dr. David Tyfield, CeMoRe, Lancaster University, UK
- Co-Investigator: Dr. Frauke Urban, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), UK
- Co-Investigator: Dr. Adrian Ely, STEPS Centre and SPRU – Science and Technology Policy Research (University of Sussex), UK
- Co-Investigator: Dr. Yu WANG, Tsinghua University, China
- Co-Investigator: Dr. Ping Li, Tsinghua University, China
- Co-Investigator: Dr. Yiching Song, Centre for Chinese Agricultural Policy, China
- Research Fellow: Sam Geall, ChinaDialogue.net and SPRU – Science and Technology Policy Research (University of Sussex), UK
- Research Associate: Dr.Dennis Zuev, Researcher at the Centre for Research and Studies in Sociology, CIES-ISCTE, Lisbon, Portugal and CeMoRe, Lancaster University, UK
- Media partner: ChinaDialogue.net
- New approaches to low carbon innovation in China
Project Briefing, November 2015: a short overview of the project’s findings
- Governing low-carbon innovation in China – social innovation (Read the policy briefing in English or in Mandarin).
- Governing Low-Carbon Innovation – the importance of public perceptions (Read the policy briefing in English or in Mandarin).
- Governing low-carbon innovation – Demand, not just supply (policy briefing in English and Mandarin).
- China’s low carbon future offers global opportunities
chinadialogue / Low Carbon China / Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit report, December 2015
by Sam Geall and Lulu Ning Hui
Working Papers – China Low Carbon Reports
- Low-Carbon Innovation in China: Prospects, Politics and Practices
STEPS Working Paper 69
David Tyfield, Adrian Ely, Frauke Urban, Sam Geall, Dennis Zuev and John Urry
- Pathways Towards Renewable Energy in China: Prospects, Politics and Practices
STEPS Working Paper 70
Frauke Urban and Sam Geall
- Low Carbon Innovation in Chinese Urban Mobility: Prospects, Politics and Practices
STEPS Working Paper 71
David Tyfield, Dennis Zuev, Ping Li and John Urry
- Pathways Towards Sustainable Maize Production and Consumption in China: Prospects, Politics and Practices
STEPS Working Paper 72
Adrian Ely, Sam Geall and Yiching Song
- Tyfield, D., Ely, A., and Geall, S. (2015) Low Carbon Innovation in China: From Overlooked Opportunities and Challenges to Transitions in Power Relations and Practices, Sustainable Development, 23(4)
- Tyfield, D. (2014) Putting the Power in ‘Socio-Technical Regimes’ – E-Mobility Transition in China as Political Process, Mobilities, 9 issue 4
- Solar PV can help China’s poorest by Suzanne Fisher-Murray, China Dialogue, 24 November 2016
- 中国农村光伏扶贫试点启动在即 苏珊娜•费希尔-穆雷 24.11.2016
Why low carbon innovation matters by Sam Geall, ChinaDialogue, 13 January 2014
低碳创新缘何重要 吉尔 山姆· 中外对话 13.01.2014
Citizens and science in a greener China by Adrian Ely and David Tyfield, The Guardian, 16 October 2013 As China and the UK seek to collaborate more closely in science and innovation, there are lessons they can share about how to govern and debate new technologies
Could China reach peak carbon ahead of schedule? by Sam Geall, China Dialogue, 25 July 2014
- 中国或提前达到碳排量峰值? 山姆 吉尔· 中外对话 25.07.2014
- GM in China: ‘paranoia’ and public opinion, by Sam Geall, China Dialogue, 14 October 2014
- 中国对转基因食品的恐惧与争论 山姆 吉尔· 中外对话 14.10.2014
- Tesla-Unicom deal ignites new possibilities in China’s EV market by David Tyfield, China Dialogue, 23 October 2014
- 特斯拉携手联通点燃中国电动车新机遇 田 大卫· 中外对话 23.10.2014
- What next for China after historic climate deal? by Sam Geall, The Conversation, 13 November 2014
- In China-U.S. Climate Pact, Hope for Global Talks and Evidence of China’s Shift Sam Geall quoted in Businessweek, 12 November 2014
- Barack Obama and Xi Jinping look to a future with lower carbon emissions Sam Geall interviewed by PRI, 12 November 2014
- Small-scale solar is a big player in China’s clean energy mix by Frauke Urban, China Dialogue, 9 December 2014
- 太阳能热水器：中国混合能源的重要角色 弗劳克 艾尔本· 中外对话 9.12.2014
- Winners and Losers of China’s Green Transformation Suzanne Fisher-Murray, STEPS blog, 31 October 2016
- Four scenarios of future urban e-mobility in China David Tyfield, STEPS blog, 16 June 2016
- GM Nation or GM Planet? How to involve citizens in decisions about transgenic crops Adrian Ely, STEPS blog, 29 August 2014
- More than a “clean energy race”? BRICS investment and innovation could lead the way on green transformation Adrian Ely, STEPS blog, 17 March 2014
Professor John Urry, Lancaster University, gives a short overview of the project (2.11)
Dr David Tyfield, Lancaster University, gives a short overview of the mobility case study (3.12)
Dr Frauke Urban, SOAS, gives a short overview of the energy case study (2.25)
Dr Adrian Ely, SPRU, gives a short overview of the agriculture case study (1.42)
View photos from our project on our Flickr channel.