East meets West: research transcending borders

05 July 2012

Researchers from the UK and Hong Kong will be researching themes that arise in our everyday lives including parenting styles, education and management practices as well as global issues including sustainability and migration. The UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Research Grants Council (RGC) of Hong Kong, China are pleased to announce eight new awards. 

Each of the eight projects will have lead researchers in the UK and Hong Kong working together on one research question. Social science research questions often transcend national borders and so it is important for these projects to have an international perspective right from the inception. This scheme also welcomed research questions from all strands of social science in order to support new and emerging research questions. These new projects will have the advantage of the combined skills and experience of the lead researchers but also be able to compare the problem from both countries perspectives. 

These projects include:

  • Dr Claire Hughes, University of Cambridge and Dr Zhenlin Wang, Hong Kong Institute of Education: Theory of mind development and use in children from Hong Kong and the UK - A latent variable study- £112,622

  • Dr Linda Hargreaves, University of Cambridge and Professor Peter Kutnick, University of Hong Kong: The effects of social pedagogical contexts in the teaching of primary mathematics: facilitating learning in two cultures- £107,809

  • Dr Ian Roper, Middlesex University and Dr Paul Higgins, City University of Hong Kong: The professionalisation of human resource management in Hong Kong and the UK- £110,385

  • Dr Merideth Gattis, Cardiff University and Professor Terry Kit-fong Au, University of Hong Kong: Cultural and individual influences on parenting during infancy- £105,316

  • Dr Qing Gu, University of Nottingham and Professor Allan David Walker, Hong Kong Institute of Education: Reshaping Educational Practice for Improvement in Hong Kong and England: How Schools Mediate Government Reforms- £110,157

  • Dr Alex Mesoudi, Durham University and Professor Lei Chang, Chinese University of Hong Kong: An experimental study of East-West differences in social learning- £104,494

  • Professor Chee Wong, University of Hull and Dr Christina Wing Yan Wong, Hong Kong Polytechnic University: How partner firms coordinate their environmental management practices? Green supply chain integration and its performance implication- £107,385

  • Professor Caroline Knowles, Goldsmiths College and Dr Wing Chung Ho, City University of Hong Kong: What Calculations and Strategies Drive Young Migrants? An Investigation of the Traffic Between London, Hong Kong and Beijing- £113,329

Professor Paul Boyle, Chief Executive of the ESRC, said: 

"Developing international partnerships between researchers is a key priority for the ESRC. I am pleased to be working with the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong to foster collaborations between social scientists which enable the best researchers to work together regardless of international borders."

Professor Roland Chin, Chairman of RGC of Hong Kong, said:

"Collaborative research not only promotes scientific exchanges between UK and Hong Kong, but also drives research excellence through intensive interaction.  This fourth round exercise has attracted many high-quality proposals.  I look forward to the fruition of these bilateral research projects."

For further information contact:

ESRC Press Office:

Notes for editors

  1. Figures given here is the total amount of funding from both ESRC at 80 per cent full economic cost and RGC in GBP, this was based on the exchange rate from An exchange rate 1.0 HKD = 0.083558 GBP (8 June 2012) has been used . Each Research Council is funding the domestic elements of the projects. Total amounts figures can be provided in Hong Kong Dollars if required on request. A breakdown of the cost by each Council for each grant can also be provided on request.
  2. For the purposes of this initiative the social sciences are defined as inclusive of the subjects of economics, economic and social history, political science, socio-legal studies, education, psychology, cognitive studies, linguistics, management and business studies, human geography, environmental planning, international studies, area and development studies, social statistics, demography, social science computing, sociology, social anthropology, social policy and social work. A fifth ESRC-RGC call is expected in autumn 2012.
  3. The Research Grants Council (RGC), which was established in 1991, operates under the aegis of the University Grants Committee (UGC) and functions as an advisory body on research matters within the organizational structure of the Committee. It is a non-statutory advisory body responsible for advising the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, through the University Grants Committee (UGC), on the needs of Hong Kong's higher education institutions in the field of academic research and for the distribution of funding for academic research projects undertaken by academic staff of those UGC-funded institutions. http://www.ugc.edu.hk/eng/rgc/index.htm
  4. The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK's largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues. It supports independent, high quality research which has an impact on business, the public sector and the third sector. The ESRC’s total budget for 2012/13 is £205 million. At any one time the ESRC supports over 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students in academic institutions and independent research institutes. More at www.esrc.ac.uk