Portrait photograph of: Xiaolan Fu

Xiaolan Fu

Country Of Origin: China

Degree: PhD Economics, 2003

Director of Technology & Management for Development Centre, University of Oxford

I chose to undertake doctoral studies at LUMS because of its reputation for research excellence. I did both the MSc in International Business and then my PhD in Economics in the Department of Economics at LUMS. My PhD thesis investigated the impact of trade and foreign direct investment (FDI) on economic development in China.

According to the department's requirement for the PhD candidates, I took the MSc in International Business in the first year. It was an intensive course and later proved to be very beneficial. It equipped me well with the skills to use econometrics for empirical research, and broadened my knowledge in relevant subjects.

I benefited tremendously from discussions with my supervisor, Professor Balasubramanyam, a world-leading scholar in trade, FDI and economic development. He guided my research direction, influenced the way I think and research, and encouraged me to aim high. His words and expectations significantly changed the career trajectory of a young scholar whose potential at that time had not been fully explored.

Staff in the Economics department is very friendly and supportive. I was able to get easy access to faculty in the department and benefited from their skills and knowledge in many different areas. The research training I received at Lancaster also built up a solid foundation for my future academic career.

I stayed in Lancaster with my family for three years and lived in university student accommodation. The University is very family-friendly and supportive and I have to say the University has become an important part of my life. My son went to the University's pre-school centre on campus. He still remembers the giant sports field and the beautiful duck pond.

Career after LUMS

My first academic appointment after completing my PhD at Lancaster was as a Research Fellow and, two years later, as a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Business Research at the University of Cambridge. In September 2006, I moved to the University of Oxford. Now, I am Professor of Technology and International Development at Oxford University, and Founding Director of the Technology and Management Centre for Development (TMCD). My research interests include innovation, technology and industrialisation; trade, foreign direct investment and economic development; emerging Asian economies as well as innovation and productivity in UK/US.

I received the European Commission Gate2Growth 2005 'European Best Paper' Award along with research grants from prestigious funding bodies including the European Commission, ESRC, EPSRC, British Academy, and the Cairncross Foundation. I have conducted consultancy research for UNDESA, UNCTAD, UNIDO, ILO, the Commonwealth Secretariat, UKTI and the Chinese government. I serve on the Advisory Expert Group of the OECD Global Investment Forum and the DFID/ESRC Economic Growth Directorate (DEGP), and am President of the Chinese Economic Association (Europe) and CEA (UK) in 2010-2011.

The training in Lancaster built up the crucial theoretical and methodological foundation for my later career development. The benefits are life-long. The environment here allows people to highly concentrate on study and research; one becomes very productive as well as develops a calm and pure mind which is important for academic research.