Successful Applicants for the 1st Round 2017 China Studies Seed-funding Research Grant

Dr Xianbi Huang, Senior Lecturer, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, ASSC

Project Title: Social Networks and Subjective Wellbeing in China: A Qualitative Investigation

Research Project Summary

Remediating social wellbeing is increasingly a major objective of social development set by the United Nations and many countries. Social scientists and policy makers have recognised that people’s family, friendship and other social connections matter for their social wellbeing. However, it remains unclear why networks are important and what kinds of positive and negative effects they might have on subjective wellbeing such as life satisfaction and happiness. Extant research has also been confined to developed countries. This project conducts in-depth interviews to investigate the processes and mechanisms through which social networks affect subjective wellbeing in China, aiming to produce new empirical data, enrich the study of Chinese guanxi networks, and contribute evidence-based findings from the largest developing country to the global academic literature. This project has significant policy implications and provides practical insights to inform governments and community organisations for program design and delivery in areas relating to social wellbeing.

Dr Jasvir Kaur Nachatar Singh, Early Career Development Fellow, Business School, ASSC

Project Title: Exploration of Employability Experiences of La Trobe Alumni in China

Research Project Summary

International students from China seek international education primarily to add value and improve their employment opportunities. The recent trend shows that Chinese international students are returning to their home country for mainly professional and personal purposes. Little is known about La Trobe alumni’s  employability experiences and employment prospects in China. This project seeks to understand and explore La Trobe alumni employment experiences with a particular focus on how is  human capital (knowledge, skills and know-how) and global citizenship skills are applied in  their workplaces and how alumni are navigating their international networks (social capital) in their positions at workplace when they return home to China. This project will contribute theoretical and empirical understanding of these employment trends, while also providing recommendations to enhance post-repatriation programs, strengthening alumni international networks with Australia and facilitating employability skills of Chinese alumni to match the needs of Chinese employment practices and policies.

(Final approval of this grant is subject to Ethics Committee's approval)

In addition, the following grant was also approved:

CSRC Targeted Seed Funding for Cross-College Interdisciplinary / Multidisciplinary Signature Research Theme Projects (2017)

Dr Ruth Gamble, David Myers Research Fellow, La Trobe University

Dr Samantha Grover, Research Fellow, Department of Animal, Plant and Soil Sciences, La Trobe University

Project Title: Bridging Scientific and Local Knowledge on Tibetan-Plateau Wetlands

Research Project Summary

Most of Asia’s largest rivers descend from the Tibetan Plateau, and almost half of the world’s population lives in its watershed. But this watershed is under threat from climate change and increased human activity. One of the least understood but most valuable parts of this water system is the Tibetan Plateau’s wetlands, which include extensive peatlands. The proposed project will work with government, NGO and industry partners to establish community-based, peatland conservation programs in Sershul County (Ch. 石渠县 Shiqu Xian), Sichuan, China, on the headwaters of the Yangtze River. The researchers developing this program will combine scientific assessments of the region with investigations of its environmental history and sacred geography. This inter-disciplinary approach will establish ways indigenous knowledge about the Plateau can be used as a source of information for scientists and, conversely, as a tool to explain and contextualise scientific and historical data.