Substantial funding has been granted for collaborative research initiatives involving social scientists from Australia and China, following the announcement of the Australia-China Joint Action Program allocations for 2024. The program, jointly led by the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), facilitates collaborative research ventures between Australian and Chinese researchers in common research domains.

The program aims to support international social science research cooperation and provide a strategic platform for early-career researchers to collaborate with international colleagues on projects that could become a springboard for larger-scale future research opportunities. Four collaborative Australian-Chinese pairs were selected through a competitive selection process to receive the awarded funds toward projects that span multiple disciplines, including management, economics, political science and social policy. The four Australian scholars will each receive $7,000 AUD , while the Chinese scholars will each receive ¥35,000 RMB.  The recipients and their projects are outlined in further detail below.

The Academy extends its congratulations to the recipients and looks forward to seeing the results of continued international cooperation.

The successful projects are:

Volatile Mining Revenue and Sub-national Fiscal Risks: A Comparative Study in Australia and China

Dr Shawn Chen (UWA) & Professor Hongfu Ni (CASS)

This project aims to study the impact of the volatile public revenue generated from mining industries on fiscal risk and sustainability of sub-national governments in Australia and China. Australia and China are both significant players in the global mining industry, with vast reserves of mineral resources such as coal, iron ore, gold, and rare earth elements. The mining sector is a cornerstone of their economies, contributing to GDP, export earnings, and government revenue (Wei, 2023). However, the mining industry is inherently volatile mainly subject to fluctuations in commodity prices. This volatility has implications for sub-national governments in both countries, as they often rely on mining revenue to fund services and infrastructure projects. The proposed project seeks to provide practical solutions, policy recommendations, and comparative insights that can enhance fiscal stability and resource management in both countries and potentially serve as a model for other resource-dependent regions worldwide.


Research on Social Service and Community Integration of Aging Migration in China and Australia

Professor Bingqin Li (UNSW) & Dr Jing Wang (CASS)

This project aims to study older (im)migrants, with a particular interest on older (im)migrants who moved to cities in China and Australia after retirement. In recent years, many older people moved from rural areas to cities in China or relocated to different cities. They are called “Lao Piao” migrants (old age floating migrants) in Chinese, indicating that they do not have deep roots in the cities they live in (Xue & Yun 2019). ‘Lao Piao’ migrants often provide informal childcare at home, mitigating the childcare burden on urban working parents. Australia faces a similar social phenomenon. Older people immigrate to Australia to be reunited with their children. Many of these older immigrants provide support in raising grandchildren. Facing language and cultural barriers, they are often underrepresented in social services and more susceptible to social isolation and depression (Fang and Fisher 2019; Marcus, Balasubramanian et al. 2022; Han, Jung et al. 2019).

This study aims to highlight the need for filling the service gap for this growing social group, contribute to academic knowledge regarding the emerging needs, and develop a focus for future research projects that are truly relevant to both societies.


Environmental Security and Governance in the Mekong Subregion and Australia-China Cooperation 

Associate Professor Fengshi Wu (UNSW) & Dr Zhifei Li (CASS)

This research collaboration aims to examine policy priorities related to environmental security in the Mekong subregion by both the Australian and Chinese governments, including the rationales and broader implications. The Mekong subregion is home to one of the richest areas of biodiversity on the planet. It is estimated that 50 million people live in the Lower Mekong basin alone, which has experienced significant challenges related to food security, ecological degradation, industrial pollution, and natural disasters in the context of global climate change. Therefore, environmental security has emerged as a policy priority in the region and beyond.

For both Australia and China, environmental and climate-related issues have increasingly become the focus of bilateral and multilateral discussions with the countries of the Mekong subregion; and, environmental sustainability and security in the Mekong subregion has the potential to be an area for

cooperation with vested interests between Australia and China. This research project aims to examine Mekong basin-related strategies in Australia and China’s foreign policy and explore the potential for Australia-China cooperation in this subregion.


Integrating AI in Decision-Making: A Comparative Study on Managerial Cognition and Performance Outcomes in Sustainable Enterprises across China and Australia

Dr Miles Yang (Macquarie University) & Assistant Professor Jiang Hong (CASS)

Today’s managers are increasingly burdened with the responsibility of aligning economic, environmental, and social objectives into their organisational strategies (Stahl, Brewster, Collings, & Hajro, 2020). The utilisation of AI-embedded systems offers innovative pathways to meet this challenge by providing real-time analytics, predictive modelling, and various decision-support tools that facilitate a comprehensive stakeholder engagement approach. However, the existing literature lacks empirical depth in understanding the influence of AI-embedded management systems on sustainability in business management practices. Drawing upon Fisher’s (2001) framework on critical thinking, this research aims to fill this gap by systematically investigating how AI-embedded management systems affect the quality and speed of decision-making in the pursuit of sustainable management across diverse business sectors.

Australia and China both occupy critical roles in the Asia-Pacific business landscape but differ substantially in cultural background, management philosophies and legal frameworks. This juxtaposition provides a unique comparative context to examine the nuanced effects of AI on decision-making across disparate business environments. Furthermore, the study will examine the moderating effects of various contextual variables, such as cultural background, management philosophies, and legal frameworks, in the two countries. The research aims to offer comprehensive insights into the intersection of AI technologies and sustainable management practices across different organisational functions and cultural settings.