Low carbon innovation in China: prospects, politics and practice

Overview | Team | Contact | Publications | Video | Media | Slides | Photos

Date: late 2013 – 2017


Low Carbon Innovation in China logoHow do government-led, high-tech ‘indigenous innovation’ approaches compare with emergent, lower-tech approaches in the areas of agriculture, energy and mobility? This project aims to answer that question, as briefly explained in short videos below.

The project is exploring 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 think tanks, 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.

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. It seeks to identify opportunities for prospective low-carbon transitions, and to optimise their global impact, as well as to share knowledge of contemporary low-carbon innovation beyond China.

The project focuses on sharing findings from the research more widely by collaborating with the STEPS Centre Information Communications and Engagement Unit and ChinaDialogue.net. The project is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

Project team:

Low Carbon Innovation in ChinaWe 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 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

Find out more:





Working Papers – China Low Carbon Reports

Journal articles


Press releases:

Blog posts:

Video :

Project overview

Professor John Urry, Lancaster University, gives a short overview of the project (2.11)

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nO9oU-SaP_s[/embedyt]


Dr David Tyfield, Lancaster University, gives a short overview of the mobility case study (3.12)

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-V1DofT_g7U[/embedyt]


Dr Frauke Urban, SOAS, gives a short overview of the energy case study (2.25)

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SpoEgpiYvQ[/embedyt]


Dr Adrian Ely, SPRU, gives a short overview of the agriculture case study (1.42)

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdEVupha-MU[/embedyt]














View photos from our project on our Flickr channel.


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