"There is nothing we don't have that we need from you," Chinese emperor Qianlong asserted to George Macartney, the first envoy of Britain to China, in the 1790's. Dr Manuel Pérez-García (Renmin University) will now asses why this statement became invalid, within the framework of an ERC project "GECEM: Global Encounters between China and Europe: Trade Networks, Consumption and Cultural Exchanges in Macau and Marseille (1680-1840)".
On Tuesday 12 January 2016, EURAXESS invited Dr Pérez-García, who was awarded the ERC Starting grant in December 2015, to share his experience and tips with fellow Beijing-based researchers and research professionals at the EU Delegation in Beijing.
Dr. Manuel Pérez García is currently an Associate Professor at the Department of International Politics, School of International Studies, Renmin University of China. He is the first (European) researcher fully based in China to win an ERC Grant. Dr. Pérez García was awarded the grant in December 2015 with the project, in which the Universidad Pablo Olavide (UPO) of Seville (Spain) will act as the European host institution.
At the beginning of the event, Dr Laurent Bochereau, Head of the S&T Section of the EU Delegation, first introduced the European Research Council. He outlined the purpose of the top EU's research funding body, established in 2007, and introduced ERC's prestigious funding schemes. He also focused on the recently concluded agreement between the ERC and the National Science Foundation of China, the aim of which is to foster cooperation between China-based scientists and EU-based scientist through research visits to ERC funded projects (you can find more details here).
Next, Dr Peréz García introduced his „road to the ERC". An economic historian with a speciality in economic and knowledge transfer between East and West, he explained how he independently developed this project over the course of several years; and carefully selected the host institution. He elaborated on how to build an ERC project from China, how to prepare the proposal, and shared his personal experience with how he went through the two-stage interview process. He also outlined existing support structures for researchers' networks in China, e.g. EURAXESS.
In his speech, Dr Pérez outlined the need for novelty and impact. As Global History in China is a new field, he intends to use both Chinese and European sources to give a new perspective on processes of consumption and trade. He wants to achieve his project through a case study of two port cities (Macau / Marseille) and study the connections and differences of 2 localities of China and Europe through diverse processes of consumption and trade in luxury goods (tea, porcelain, silk), and assess the reasons behind acceptation (or rejection) of new goods in China and Europe.
After his relocation to China in 2011, Dr Pérez García also started the Global History Network.
Dr Pérez García, who has been a member of EURAXESS network in China since 2011, also outlined the important of EURAXESS as a crucial platform for information on academic research, mobility and funding.
As the ERC funds frontier research in all disciplines, it funds projects with a „high risk/high gain" ratio. Dr Pérez-García intends to solve a problem not solved previously: interactions between China and Europe through changes on consumer behaviour and how this was correlated with economic growth. He is also interested in what implications such interactions have created for today's globalised world.
After his talk the audience engaged in a lively Q&A session focused on ERC, project management, how to choose a team, as well as questions realted to the project itself, work with Chinese and European archives and databases. The evening was concluded by a small networking cocktail.
Around fifty attendees attended the event. The audience included representatives of European embassies, European research and funding agencies, and Chinese Academy of Sciences and researchers and PhD students from Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, and several Chinese universities, such as Peking University, Renmin University or Tsinghua.
The European Research Council (ERC) is the EU's top funding body, encouraging the highest quality research in Europe through competitive funding. ERC supports bottom-up driven, frontier research across all fields, on the basis of scientific excellence. The grants are open to researchers of any nationality.
The European Research Council (ERC) launched over the last years new initiatives in the form of "Implementing Arrangements". These arrangements provide opportunities in Europe for early-career scientists supported by non-European funding agencies to temporarily join a research team run by an ERC grantee. The agreement with China was signed 29 Jun 2015, with the National Natural Science Foundation (NSFC).
Principal Investigators funded through the ERC Starting Grants shall spend a minimum of 50% of their total working time in an EU Member State or Associated Country and a minimum of 50% of their total working time on the ERC project.
Dr Pérez García will keep his position at Renmin University and will be affiliated to both Renmin University as well as Universidad Pable Olavide in Seville. We wish him good luck wih the upcoming ERC project and we look forward to welcoming him at future events in China.