Uncovering the future of economic governance: CIBEL researchers’ innovative ARC project on China’s Belt and Road Initiative

7 February 2022


Four CIBEL researchers were awarded a $283,250 research grant under the Australian Government’s Australian Research Council (ARC) 2022 Discovery Projects scheme for their innovative project titled ‘China’s Belt and Road Initiative: A New Model of Economic Governance?’, which will investigate the future of economic governance at the extra-regional level. 

This three-year project will be led by chief investigators CIBEL co-director Professor Heng Wang, and CIBEL members Dr Jonathan Bonnitcha, Associate Professor Kun Fan and Scientia Professor Ross Buckley. The international collaborators are Associate Professor Matthew Erie (University of Oxford) and Professor Wei Shen (Shanghai Jiao Tong University).  

As one of China’s grand foreign trade and infrastructure plans, the multibillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) involves many transnational projects that connect Asia, Europe and Africa. Under the BRI, China is developing new norms and legal institutions to govern international economic activity. In CIBEL's view, these arrangements and their operation in practice are under-researched.  

Drawing on expertise of the project team, this socio-legal project will examine how the BRI is affecting the way that cross-border economic interactions are governed and explores the implications of these changes for the world economy. Focusing on cutting-edge issues including China’s central bank digital currency (CBDC), investment, and dispute settlement, the team will not only contribute to research in the area of focus, but also to translate the research findings into practical insights for policymakers, business, practitioners, and the general public. 

This grant is one of only seven 2022 ARC Discovery Project grants in law. The success of the application is a testament to the quality of CIBEL’s academic research and its leadership in international business and economic law and practice. It also reflects CIBEL’s work on China and on the future of economic governance in the region and beyond. The team is very grateful for the support of the colleagues at UNSW in the preparation of this grant application. 

Keen to find out more about CIBEL’s research on BRI? Read these articles and subscribe to our newsletter for more future resources. 

Update: PhD Scholarship in China’s role in transnational economic governance

We are now offering one PhD Scholarship in conjunction with the Australian Research Council (ARC) 2022 Discovery Project 'China’s Belt and Road Initiative: A New Model of Economic Governance'. Applicants should have outstanding research potential and a demonstrated interest in China’s role in transnational economic governance. The scholarship will commence at a mutually agreed date between September 2022 and July 2023. Applications are open until 31 May 2022. More details can be found here.