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Lin Boqiang: Energy Economist

XMUICE    Public:ICE    Datetime:2010-12-21


Ambitions as a returned overseas professor; passion for his alma mater

Professor Lin Boqiang graduated in 1982 with a BA in Finance from Xiamen University. He then went to undertake further studies in the US in 1983 under the auspices of the Ministry of Education as one of the first to receive a government scholarship following the implementation of reform and opening-up in 1978. He received his doctoral degree in economics from the University of California, and then stayed on in the US to teach and carry out further research. He moved to the Asian Development Bank in 1993 as their chief energy economist, but left in 2006 to undertake the establishment of the Xiamen University China Centre for Energy Economics Research. In 2008, he was created a member of the Ministry of Education Changjiang Scholars Programme.

Professor Lin is frank about the pressure he has been under since his return to Xiamen University. Firstly, since energy economics is a newly established discipline, there are no precedents he can refer to for guidance. Energy economics has hitherto been the domain of scientists and engineers; however, in Professor Lin´s view, economic concerns are a major factor in China´s energy issues, and therefore, it is economists who should take the lead in deciding energy strategies and plans. Secondly, the development of energy economics is fundamentally a question of political priorities, and Xiamen is geographically limited. Professor Tang Min, another renowned economist, has expressed the concern that in Xiamen Professor Lin might not have a large enough stage for his abilities. It is often the case that, when Professor Lin is taking part in some high-level conference on energy economics in Beijing, he is the only expert who doesn´t come from Beijing, and he is often finds himself staying alone in a hotel. Despite the fact that his salary is only 10% of what he used to receive overseas, Professor Lin is firmly convinced that he has made the right choice in returning to China and to Xiamen University, since he understands the importance of energy economics to China and its vast development potential. Xiamen University is a peaceful place for real academic research, and Professor Lin has always believed that his hard work will pay off eventually; this is now proving true.

Despite the short time he has been in China, Professor Lin has already achieved a high reputation amongst academics and the general public. He has recently published over 30 papers in well-known academic journals both in China and internationally, including Social Science in China, Economic Research, Management World, and Energy Economics and Energy Policy. He is currently a special consultant to the SGS, the global leader in third-party inspection, a special consultant to the Energy Research Institute of the State Grid Corporation of China, a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Financial Research, and a member of the board of many other journals and websites in the field of energy research. In addition to this, he has been active in promoting an understanding of energy economics studies among the general public. He has published over 200 articles in mainstream newspapers and magazines to raise public awareness, including Southern Weekend, 21st Century Business Herald, First Financial Daily and China Bond.

Professor Lin´s contribution to China´s energy policy lies in the fact that he has been actively involved in research into national energy policy and has put forward valuable proposals. He has been writing articles for the Xinhua News Agency - sent directly to senior government officials - and providing free technical support and consultancies for the Energy Bureau, the Department of Prices and the Department of Climate Change under the National Development and Reform Commission, the State Electricity Regulatory Commission and the Bank of China. His report on his National Social Science Foundation project published in the Achievements Report has been studied closely by senior officials of the National Government, in respect of which the National Planning Office for Philosophy and Social Science wrote letters of congratulation to the Publicity Department of the Fujian Provincial Government and the Xiamen University CPC Committee. The State Electricity Regulatory Commission, the Ministry of Finance and the Bank of China have also written to Xiamen University in full praise of his outstanding consultancy reports and proposals.

Establishment of the Xiamen University China Centre for Energy Economics Research

With full support from Xiamen University, Professor Lin has led the China Centre for Energy Economics Research over a mere four years to grow rapidly into a well-known and highly-influential institute in the field of energy in China. Its academic research and teaching programmes are the leaders in the energy economics field in China.

The Centre is the first in China to offer both master´s and doctoral programmes in energy economics, with a fully developed capacity to train specialists and construct programmes. An undergraduate programme in energy economics is to start soon, for which the Centre has received approval from Ministry of Education. The Centre has gathered together a well-balanced team in teaching and research; most of the teachers have published papers in leading economics journals both, domestic and international, and 60% of its academic staff have published at least one paper in Economic Research as lead or second author.


To date the Centre has nurtured a total of 45 masters, doctors and post-doctoral fellows. They are currently working for the Beijing headquarters of many major energy enterprises including the China National Offshore Oil Corporation and the State Grid Corporation of China and for universities like Xi´an Jiaotong University.

Many doctoral students in the Centre have published papers in major domestic and international journals in economics. Three doctoral students have been selected for the "Outstanding Doctoral Student" training programme, and two doctoral students have published papers in Economic Research as lead author, with another two published in Journal of Financial Research as lead author.

The CCEER has itself published a number of works including the 2006 Energy Development Report of China, the 2008 Energy Development Report of China, Energy Issues and Energy Policy Choices in China, Energy Issues and Energy Policy Choices in China II, and Lin Boqiang: Thoughts on China´s Energy Policy. Furthermore, Modern Energy Economics, a textbook for undergraduate and master´s students and Advanced Energy Economics for doctoral students, have filled a gap in Chinese textbooks on energy economics, and represent latest educational publications in energy economics internationally. The Energy Development Report of China series has become a major source of reference for governments, business organisations and academic institutions.

In terms of academic exchanges, the CCEER has established co-operations with several international energy companies and universities. It has hosted or participated in nearly 20 energy-related high-level international forums including the Annual Conference of China Energy Developing Situation Forecast and Analysis, the China Renewable Energy Resources Seminar, the launch of the China National Human Development Report 2009/10, the China Power Generation and T&D Summit and the China Oil Trade Conference. In addition, the CCEER frequently hosts guest research projects, inviting economists from both home and abroad for short-term visits and research.

The development of a low carbon economy, with its focus on energy and the environment has inevitably become a mainstream topic in China´s economic circles and a major challenge facing modern economists. The fundamental goal of the CCEER is to develop a number of energy economists with a thorough background in economics who can help and promote the reform of the national energy policy and make further contribution to future energy policy and sustainable development. The CCEER will maintain its people-oriented development outlook and uphold the University motto "Pursue excellence; strive for perfection"; it will continue to pursue its strategy of promoting development through academic advances while promoting academic advances through development in return. It will do its utmost to ensure its reputation at home, even while developing into an internationally renowned teaching and research institution in energy economics. As a young and dynamic institution, the CCEER is undergoing rapid development. It would like to have more experts on the team, who could contribute to promoting the discipline construction and academic development of energy economics in China, and is keen to welcomes students who are interested in studying energy economics.
XL/59.77.1.156/5885/2010年12月27日

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