Cong Cao

Professor of Innovation Studies

Nottingham University Business School China
Staff Profile Portrait Image



Room 424, IEB


University of Nottingham Ningbo China


199 Taikang East Road, Ningbo, 315100, China


+86 (0)574 88180000 ext. 8690


PhD (Columbia University)


Educated in both China and the U.S. and in both the natural and social sciences, Professor Cao has worked at the University of Oregon, the National University of Singapore, the State University of New York, and the University of Nottingham before joining the University of Nottingham Ningbo China in 2015.

As one of the prolific scholars in the social studies of science, technology, and innovation in China, Professor Cao has published extensively in scientific elite; human resources in science and technology; innovation and entrepreneurship in nanotechnology and biotechnology; and the reform of science and technology system.  He is the author of China’s Scientific Elite (RoutledgeCurzon, 2004 and 2012) and GMO China: How Global Debates Transformed China’s Agricultural Biotechnology Policies (Columbia University Press, 2018).  He also is a co-author of China’s Emerging Technological Edge: Assessing the Role of High-End Talent (with Denis Fred Simon, Cambridge University Press, 2009) and Innovation in China: Challenging the Global Science and Technology System (with Richard Appelbaum, Xueying Han, Rachel Parker, and Denis Fred Simon, Polity, 2018).  His papers have appeared in international leading journals of science, technology, and innovation and edited volumes.

Professor Cao’s research has been supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), European Union, the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), among others.


Globalisation and Innovation in China

Research interests

Science, Technology, and Innovation; Technological Entrepreneurship; Talent Migration; Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods.


Selected recent publications

  • Cong Cao. 2015. “China.” Pp. 620−641 in UNESCO Science Report: Towards 2030, edited by Susan Schneegans. Paris, France: UNESCO Publishing.
  • Cong Cao. 2017. “Zhongguancun and China’s High-Tech Parks in Transition: ‘Growing Pains’ or ‘Premature Senility’?” Pp. 978−1001 in Volume 2 of Key Papers on Chinese Economic History Since 1949, edited by Michael Dillon. Leiden, the Netherlands: Brill.
  • Cong Cao and Richard P. Suttmeier. 2017. “Challenges of S&T System Reform in China.” Science 355 (6329):1019−1021.
  • Yutao Sun and Cong Cao. 2018. “The Evolving Relations between Government Agencies of Innovation Policymaking in Emerging Economies: A Policy Network Approach and Its Application to the Chinese Case.” Research Policy 47 (3):592–605.
  • Cong Cao, Ning Li, Xia Li, and Li Liu. 2013. “Reforming China’s S&T System.” Science 341 (2 August):460−462. 
  • Cong Cao. 2014. “The Universal Value of Science and China’s Nobel Prize Pursuit.Minerva 52:141−160. 
  • Yutao Sun and Cong Cao. 2014. “Demystifying Central Government R&D Expenditure in China.” Science 345 (29 August):1006−1008.

Please refer to the following website for Professor Cao’s publications and their citations: