Professor Yanarella Receives Research Grant From Shanghai University

By Gail Hairston and Whitney Hale

Ernest Yanarella, chair of the Department of Political Science for the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences, is one of 10 scholars worldwide who have received a Shanghai Elite Collaborative Research Grant. The grant will allow Yanarella to join his colleague Lu Chao, professor of management at Shanghai University, for a month in China, enhancing their research. Yanarella's research was eligible for this prestigious grant due to the joint effort of UK’s Confucius Institute and the Office of China Initiatives whose mission is to create collaborative research opportunities for UK faculty by working closely with UK’s China partners. Yanarella is the second UK scholar to be awarded this grant.

“This grant will enhance the work Dr. Yanarella has been conducting on urban sustainability in China for several years. The collaboration with Dr. Chao will be invaluable in furthering their important research on eco-city initiatives,” said Mark Lawrence Kornbluh, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “Dr. Yanarella is a very deserving recipient of this honor.”  

Yanarella said his colleague Lu Chao “is a very productive scholar whose management interests in low carbon economy and circular economy, as well as his past employment at the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, will be invaluable in carrying out the collaborative research on eco-city initiatives in China that is part of my forthcoming (one-year) sabbatical.”

According to Yanarella, Lu focuses on two areas of specialty and strength, low-carbon eco-cities and the circular economy.

“It’s a kind of industrial ecology that turns waste from one manufacturing process into resources for another in a virtuous circle,” Yanarella explained.

China boasts five of these eco-cities. Yanarella and Lu will travel to three of them — Suzhou, Wuxi and Tianjin — to do preliminary fieldwork.

“My involvement in teaching the four past summers at Shanghai University and Shantou University has provided me with a marvelous opportunity to open up a new area of research on urban sustainability,” Yanarella said. 

These teaching opportunities were provided by UK Confucius Institute which facilitates and organizes the UK faculty summer teaching programs in China. While teaching in China, UK faculty have opportunities to present their academic research interest to Chinese graduate students and faculty, and network with Chinese scholars. “I am deeply grateful for these many opportunities and wish to express my appreciation to the UK Confucius Institute,” Yanarella said.

“Exploring these three sites with a native Chinese collaborator, I expect to be able to establish preliminary foundations for a rounded policy evaluation of the present course of China’s sustainable urbanization program and uncover a host of policy recommendations germane to the Chinese political/ecological context,” he said. “My hope is that these policy proposals will provide valuable lessons for such urban sustainability programs in China and elsewhere in the developing and developed worlds.”

Later, he plans to write a book about his fieldwork with Lu Chao while on an extended sabbatical in China. 

The Shanghai Elite Collaborative Research Grant is presented by Shanghai University. As a recipient of the grant, funding of Yanarella's international travel fees, accommodations and living expenses during his work period at Shanghai University will be provided. 

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