​A Summary of the Project: East Asia's clean energy shift: enablers, obstacles, outcomes and lessons
This project aims to reveal the drivers of the transition to a low carbon economy, and the key enablers and obstacles to this transition. It will investigate how states in our region are seeking to overcome these obstacles, and the effectiveness of their efforts. The project will develop and analyse four new longitudinal case studies of clean energy industry creation in two of Australia's top Asian trading partners. Findings will advance scholarly and policy debates and strategies about the role of the state in high-tech industry creation and clean energy transitions, and benefit Australian exporters seeking new market openings.

The Researchers


Dr. Elizabeth Thurbon, Deputy Head of School (Research), Scientia Fellow and Associate Professor of International Relations / International Political Economy at the School of Social Sciences, UNSW Sydney, completed her Economics (Social Sciences) Degree at Sydney University, where she was awarded first class Honours and the University Medal for Academic Excellence. She holds a Ph.D. in Government (International Political Economy) from the University of Sydney. She has also held Visiting Fellowships at Seoul National University (Korea Foundation Fellow) and China Foreign Affairs University.

Elizabeth is a Founding Member and Chair of the FASS Globalisation & Governance Research Network. She is also a Board Member of the Jubilee Australia Research Centre, a NGO dedicated to research-based advocacy on questions of social, economic and environmental justice in the Asia-Pacific, with a particular focus on Australian government and corporate accountability: http://www.jubileeaustralia.org/.

Covering areas of government-business relations, industrial transformation, financial activism, institutional/ideational change and state capacity, Elizabeth’s research specialism is the political economy of techno-industrial development and change, with a particular focus on East Asia and Australia. Her most significant contributions to the field examine the rise and transformation of Northeast Asia’s developmental states, and the relationship between international trade and financial integration and the pursuit of transformative economic and social goals in Australia and the region. She has written widely on these topics for academic and popular audiences. Her most recent book Developmental Mindset: Revival of Financial Activism in South Korea (2016, Cornell University Press) examines the ways in which developmental ways of thinking have informed a strategic approach to financial policy in South Korea from the 1960s to the present. She is also the co-author of two popular books on Australian political economy: National Insecurity (2007, Allen & Unwin) and How to Kill a Country (2004, Allen & Unwin), the latter short-listed for the Queensland Premier’s Literary Award for Advancing Public Debate. She has been a regular contributor to public debates on Australian trade and industry policy and was Guest Editor of a 2015 Special Issue of the Australian Journal of International Affairs dedicated to this topic.

Click here for details of Elizabeth’s publication and grant funding record.

Dr. Elizabeth Thurbon can be reached via e.thurbon@unsw.edu.au.

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Dr. Sung-Young Kim in a Lecturer in the Department of Modern History, Politics & International Relations at Macquarie University Sydney. He is currently leading a project on 'The Sources of Competitive Advantage in Exporting Green Energy Systems', which examines why, what and how governments and corporations are promoting green energy solutions as a new developmental opportunity. He publishes broadly on the political and economic development of East Asia while pursuing two specific streams of inquiry:

1.    The evolution of East Asia’s developmental states as they leapfrog from technological imitation to innovation 

2.     Greening and the evolution of development strategy in East Asia

His journal articles include 'Hybridized industrial ecosystems and the makings of a new developmental infrastructure in East Asia’s green energy sector' Review of International Political Economy (2019); ‘Korea's Greening Strategy The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus (2016) (with John A. Mathews); ‘Developmental Environmentalism’ Politics & Society (2015) (with Elizabeth Thurbon); ‘The Rise of East Asia’s Global CompaniesGlobal Policy (2013); ‘Transitioning from Fast-Follower to Innovator Review of International Political Economy (2012); ‘The Politics of Technological Upgrading in South KoreaNew Political Economy (2012).

He has contributed to international media outlets including Project Syndicate, The Korea Times, The Conversation, ABC News Australia, East Asia Forum, Taipei TimesThe Japan TimesEco-BusinessThe Jordan TimesTimes of Oman, The Daily Star Lebanon, The Asset, The News Today, The Times KuwaitInvest Money UKGulf TimesDaily Outlook Afghanistan, and Arabnews

He teaches undergraduate and postgraduate courses on International Political Economy and East Asian politics at Macquarie University.

Click here for details of Sung-Young’s publication and grant funding record.

Dr. Sung-Young Kim can be reached via sungyoung.kim@mq.edu.au.


Dr. Hao Tan is Associate Professor with Newcastle Business School in the University of Newcastle Australia. He had worked in other Australian universities including Macquarie U, UTS and U Western Sydney. Prior to coming to Australia, A/Prof Tan had worked in industries in China for a number of years. His research interests are in the energy and resource transitions in China and their global implications from a management research perspective. He has published in Nature (in 2014 and 2016), Foreign Affairs, and other leading journals such as Journal of World Business, Industrial & Corporate Change, California Management Review, Journal of Business Research, International Journal of Production Economics, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Energy Policy, Journal of Cleaner Production, and Journal of Industrial Ecology. He currently serves on the Editorial Board of the journal Technological Forecasting & Social Change, and has acted as a Reviewer for over 30 international journals. He also writes frequently for English and Chinese-language media, such as UK Financial Times’ China website and Australia’s theConversation.com on energy transition-related management and policy issues. He was a visiting professor/visiting fellow in Tsinghua University, Nankai University, National Tsinghua University (Taiwan), Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in UC Berkeley, and Institute of Development Studies in the UK.


Click here for details of A/Prof Tan’s publication and grant funding record. Click here to visit A/Prof Tan’s personal website.

Dr. Hao Tan can be reached via haotan@newcastle.edu.au or haotan1@gmail.com


Dr John Mathews, Emeritus Professor of Department of Management at Macquarie University Sydney, received his PhD from the University of London (Imperial College). He is recognized nationally and internationally as a leading scholar of East Asian technological and industrial dynamics for over two decades.


Professor Mathews’ work on Latercomer strategies in International Business was recognized by a conference on “Dragon Multinationals” held at Macquarie University in 2017. He has been awarded a full-time Chair of Competitive Dynamics and Global Strategy at LUISS Guido Carli University, in Rome. He also won the “Best paper award” by Asia-Pacific Journal of Management in 2009 and a highly prestigious Rockefeller Foundation fellowship tenable at the Bellagio Centre at Bellaggio, Italy.


Professor Mathews has pursued a varied career, focusing on the dynamics of technological catch-up by East Asian countries in such high-tech industries as semiconductorsflat panel displays and most recently in alternative energy industries, solar photovoltaics and LEDs. He has developed dynamic strategy frameworks for analyzing these processes, and formulated an original strategic synthesis in terms of the fundamental categories of resources, activities and routines. His most recent work applies this framework to explicating the reasons for success of industrial clusters, particularly those found in TaiwanChina and India.


Professor Mathews’ recent research has focused on the greening of business with an emphasis on the role of China. His articles “Manufacture renewables to build energy security” and “Circular Economy: Lessons from China” (coauthored with Dr Hao Tan) were published in Nature. His book Global Green Shift: When CERES Meets GAIA, won him the 2018 Schumpeter Prize. With more than 4900 citations, his research has contributed to the understanding of the ways in which industry is challenged to drive greening strategies and at the same time to focus on the industrialization of East Asia.

Click here for details of Professor Mathews’ research outputs and grant funding. Click here to visit Professor Mathews’ personal website.

Emeritus Professor John Mathews can be reached via john.mathews@mq.edu.au.