Dr Ceren Ergenc from Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University’s Department of China Studies has been appointed as a Fellow at the India China Institute of The New School for the 2021-22 academic year.

Founded in 2005, the India China Institute is located within The New School in New York City, serving as a hub for research and public engagement on India, China, and beyond. Focusing on exploring and discussing global concerned issues, the institution actively seeks collaborative research opportunities to build transnational networks among scholars and practitioner from India, China, and other countries across the world.

“Historically, global academia has always been Western-centric,” Dr Ergenc says.

“The establishment of the India China Institution helps to open the doors for scholars in Asia to contribute more to the future academic research.”

A total number of 12 fellows were elected with consideration of geography. The design requires four fellows from China, four fellows from India, and another four from elsewhere in the world, but with expertise on China, India or both.

“I believe the geographical diversity can encourage scholars from non-Western institutions to engage in dialogue with Western institutions,” Dr Ergenc says.

Policy research

Fellows are also elected based on their outstanding contributions to research, their application proposal detailing the research they are going to do during the fellowship, and what they have already achieved towards completing their project.

Dr Ergenc’s research concentrates on the role of experts in participatory policymaking in China. “There are mechanisms for participatory governance in urban China, which means there are ways for non-state actors to participate in the policy making and implementation process.

“Previously, the deliberative meetings targeted the stakeholders; however, I’ve recently noticed a shift from stakeholder participation to expert participation.”

She suggests that it is understandable for the local government to prefer to hold meetings with experts in the issue areas rather than with stakeholders.

“Meeting with experts leads to more efficient policy outcomes because of their professional knowledge and experience,” she says.

“But stakeholder meetings have the merit of providing representation to all segments of society.

“Consequently, I would like to empirically demonstrate the shift from prioritising representation to promoting efficiency.”

As a political scientist, Dr Ergenc is hoping to raise public awareness of policies’ importance and influence.

“Policy is not detached from our lives, it is actually about our lives and in our lives,” she says.

In addition to the funding support of the research project, the fellowship also grants Dr Ergenc access to various academic resources.

“We all will present our research and discuss it together throughout the year. A network among scholars from China and India will be created, and the contribution of the literature on China and India will also be improved on a comparative basis.”

Dr Ergenc says: “I’m happy to be a part of this initiative. In the current uncertainty of a global pandemic, we need to continue exchanging our thoughts globally and be inspired by fellow scholars. Our workshop sessions will consist of discussions and will hopefully be conducive to long term collaborative research networks.”

By Ying Jiang

Edited by Xinmin Han and Patricia Pieterse

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