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China-UK Workshop on Disruptive Low Carbon Innovation in China

Date: 15 December 2009

On 21st November the Sociology Department, together with the Lancaster China Management Centre and the College of Public Administration, Zhejiang University, hosted the 'China-UK Workshop on Disruptive Low Carbon Innovation in China' in Hangzhou, China. Sponsored by the UK's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills via the British Consulate in Shanghai, the workshop brought together innovators, business people, policy-makers and scholars to discuss the opportunities for so-called 'disruptive' low carbon innovation in China. 'Disruptive' innovation involves production of 'cheaper, easier-to-use alternatives… often produced by non-traditional players that target previously ignored customers' and/or use in novel contexts, but which have the medium-term potential for radical restructuring of economic sectors. As a report from the UK's leading innovation think-tank, NESTA, has noted (see, this capacity for profound socioeconomic change is precisely what is needed for an effective and timely low-carbon shift.

Along with leading policymakers from Zhejiang Province - the 'California' of China, both in terms of its economic prosperity and its innovative and entrepreneurial reputation - keynote speakers included Rebecca Willis, Vice Chair of the UK's Sustainable Development Commission and lead author of the NESTA report, and Ping ZHENG, Programme Officer for Climate Change & Energy at WWF China.

The workshop was organized by Dr David Tyfield of the Centre for Mobilities Research (CeMoRe) at Lancaster, as part of the ongoing AIM/ESRC project on 'UK-China Low Carbon Networks' (that also includes Prof John Urry and Prof Brian Wynne) and Prof CHEN Jin and Dr JIN Jun of Zhejiang University. The event will be followed by a follow-up report for NESTA focusing on disruptive low carbon innovation in China, together with a special issue of the Journal of Knowledge-based Innovation in China.

For more information, please consult the workshop website ( and the AIM/ESRC project website ( or contact Dr Tyfield at

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Further information

Associated staff: David Tyfield

Associated departments and research centres: Centre for Mobilities Research (CeMoRe), Sociology


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