About ACRI

The Australia-China Relations Institute (UTS:ACRI) is an independent, non-partisan research institute established in 2014 by the University of Technology Sydney. Chinese studies centres exist in other Australian universities. UTS:ACRI, however, is Australia’s first and only research institute devoted to studying the relationship of these countries.

In the past Australia’s dominating economic relationships have been with the British Empire, the United States and Japan. Australia’s most important trading relationship is now with China, a nation very different in governance, politics and values. As China’s economy grows, so too does its strategic weight and the challenges and opportunities this presents to Australia.

UTS:ACRI seeks to inform Australia’s engagement with China through research, analysis and dialogue grounded in scholarly rigour.


UTS:ACRI’s Management Committee monitors the Institute’s activities and performance, and approves the budget and strategic direction of UTS:ACRI’s research and other programs.

The Management Committee is headed by UTS Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International) Ian Watt and comprises Professor Glenn Wightwick, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Innovation and Enterprise); Professor Kathy Walsh, Finance Discipline Group, UTS Business School; Dr Lai-Ha Chan, Senior Lecturer, Social and Political Sciences Program, School of Communication, UTS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences; and Professor James Laurenceson, UTS:ACRI Director. 


The role of the UTS:ACRI Advisory Board is to provide advice for the UTS:ACRI Management Committee's consideration. 



Through its honorary appointments program, UTS:ACRI values its engagement with research, educational and industry partners.

UTS:ACRI honorary appointments are made in line with the UTS Honorary Titles and Awards Policy.

Adjunct Professors

Adjunct Associate Professors

  • Dr Chengxin Pan, Associate Professor of International Relations, Deakin University
  • Dr Jingdong Yuan, Associate Professor, Department of Government and International Relations, University of Sydney

Research Associates

Learn more about UTS:ACRI’s Research Associates Program here.


UTS:ACRI offers a research grants program to support the development of research by academics in UTS faculties and institutes across a variety of disciplines that will help inform Australia-China relations.

In 2020, 10 recipients were awarded UTS:ACRI Research Grants.

  • Dr Lai-Ha Chan, UTS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Australia’s half-hearted engagement with the FOIP and the BRI: the role of middle power identity
  • Associate Professor Colin Hawes, UTS Faculty of Law, The Chinese corporate ecosystem
  • Dr Susie Khamis, UTS Business School, The role of popular social media and digital public diplomacy in Australia-China relations: Analysis of how Facebook and WeChat influence nation branding and mutual perceptions
  • Associate Professor Shiko Maruyama, UTS Business School, Not only exporting education but also importing brains? Chinese students’ migration decision after graduation 
  • Professor Greg McCarthy, UTS:ACRI, Australia-China relations: understanding Australia in China
  • Dr Suwin Sandu, UTS Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology, The role of hydrogen energy in shaping the future Australia-China economic relationship: A macroeconomic analysis
  • Associate Professor Song Shi, UTS Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building, Do Chinese buyers push up Sydney housing prices?
  • Professor Kathy Walsh, UTS Business School, Could China’s digital currency be a catalyst for internationalising the Renminbi?
  • Associate Professor Jingqing Yang, UTS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, New narratives and novel coronavirus: China’s COVID war on mass media
  • Dr Yi Zhang, UTS Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology, What is the role of Australia-China collaboration in Australia’s AI research: A study of competitive technological intelligence

Grant applications underwent strict and rigorous assessment by the UTS:ACRI Grants Assessment Committee. The Committee is comprised of four academic members with extensive experience and research credentials.


UTS:ACRI relies on a mix of funding sources, including from the University of Technology Sydney central research and operational budget, industry partners and registration fees received from the hosting of the UTS:ACRI China Masterclass. 

$1.8 million donation in December 2013 from Founder and Chairman of the Yuhu Group, Mr Xiangmo Huang enabled UTS to establish ACRI.

UTS:ACRI is honoured to have the support of the following industry partners:

  • Ashurst
  • China Construction Bank
  • HSBC
  • John Holland
  • King & Wood Mallesons
  • Moelis Australia
  • PwC
  • Star Entertainment
  • Yancoal

Industry partners do not provide strategic direction nor do they shape or influence UTS:ACRI’s academic activities. UTS:ACRI has a fully independent, academically rigorous and transparent research agenda.


The Institute is a UTS entity providing rigorous and independent scholarly research and evidence-based analysis of the highest quality to key stakeholders in the Australia-China relationship, including the Australian public.

The Institute’s day to day activities and the strategic actions of the Management Committee and Members are bound by UTS policies and procedures relating to academic integrity, independence and transparency. Key UTS policy instruments relating to the work of the Institute include:

The full set of UTS Policies can be found here

Annual Reports