My research spans a range of challenges in the delivery of infrastructure projects, including risk allocation, contracting behaviours, social acceptance and social sustainability, among others. I am particularly interested in sustainable infrastructure development and public-private partnerships (PPP) and their potential to drive new investment and collaboration opportunities between Australia and China.
My current work encompasses two funded projects. The first project aims to establish a "social license for infrastructure" framework in Chinese contexts. The second project focuses on studying value co-creation in infrastructure projects. Additionally, I am exploring the topic of social sustainability in PPP projects and examining the potential of procurement as a means of creating social value not only within the scope of the project, but also beyond its initial objectives.
Previously, I have produced highly regarded research on the cultural and contractual differences between infrastructure project management teams in Australia and China, as well as the use of social media to measure community sentiment towards infrastructure project delivery and Chinese investment in Australia. I have received funding from a range of academic and industry organisations, including the Australia-China Relations Institute, the Project Governance Control Symposium and the Project Management Institute.
I am serving as an Editor for the Project Management Journal, the Communications Coordinator of CIB-W122 Public-Private Partnerships, a Guest Professor at Chang′an University in China and a Research Associate at the Australia-China Relations Institute. I hold a PhD in Management Science and Engineering and a Bachelor of Engineering from Tsinghua University in China.
In my role as a postgraduate Project Management program instructor, I advocate for practice-oriented and research-integrated learning methods that emphasises the use of team-based simulated projects to solve real-world industry problems.
As a dedicated supervisor, I am particularly interested in working with students from construction project management backgrounds. I have a proven track record of successfully supervising PhD students. One of my students, during her PhD study, published five journal papers, had another three journal papers under review and won the 2020 Research with Most Potential Award at the 7th Infrastructure Research and Innovation Competition in China. I am currently co-supervising one PhD student and have previously co-supervised two students to completion.
- I won the 2010 Highly Commended Award of Emerald/EFMD Outstanding Doctoral Research, 2010 Outstanding PhD Dissertation Award and 2010 Outstanding PhD Graduate Award from Tsinghua University.
- I have 140 publications, many in leading journals, including in the ASCE Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, Internaional Journal of Project Management, and Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management.
- My work has generated 6322 citations, and I have an h-index of 32 and an i10-index of 62.
- Public-Private Partnerships: Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) are a contractual means to deliver public assets and public services. I have been doing research on PPPs since my Bachelor thesis in early 2005. In the field of PPPs, I was the top 7th influential author according to "Comprehensive Metrological and Content Analysis of the Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) Research Field: a New Bibliometric Journey" published in 2020; 2nd most cited author according to "A Holistic Review of Public-Private Partnership Literature Published between 2008 and 2018" published in 2019; and 4th most productive author according to "A Review of Emerging Trends in Global PPP Research: Analysis and Visualization" published in 2016.
- Risk Allocation and Management: Risk allocation in China′s PPP projects was the topic of my PhD study. One of the outputs, "Preferred risk allocation in China′s public private partnership (PPP) projects", is my top cited paper, which has been cited 559 times as of January 2023. Despite the fact that this topic has been studied for almost two decades, the risk allocation in practice is still a mess because often, in projects, risks are not allocated to the party who is best able to manage but to the party who has less power.
- Project Management: My research focuses on infrastructure project delivery, but at the same time considers and discusses the implications for project management and organising more generally. My recent completed international project with Prof Ralf Muller and a few other renowned project management researchers investigated inter-organisational network governance of organisations that jointly execute projects over time. We plan to validate the multi-level governance framework in the Chinese PPP market.
- Infrastructure: Most of my studies apply to infrastructure projects, except a few focusing on a specific sector. We published a case study paper about PPPs in the electric vehicle charging infrastructure, another two looking at PPP non-profit hospitals in China and the Northern Beaches Hospital in Sydney, a few on problems and social sustainability in aged care facilities, and some specifically in transport infrastructure projects. We are now collecting data to examine the design of output specifications in PPP smart cities projects.
- Relational Contracting: The international joint research project, involving Singapore, Hong Kong, Beijing and Sydney that I worked as a Research Fellow in Singapore, aimed to investigate ways to manage transactions in public construction contracts to boost project outcomes through relational contracting. We compared views of public sector owners and private sector contractors and consultants on factors that facilitate and deter relational contracting, and developed a relational contracting framework for implementation in large public construction projects.
- Social Sustainability: I supervised successfully a PhD student to completion, who looked at social sustainability in PPP aged care projects. Social sustainability in aged care has not attracted enough attention, and its realisation status is poor. Her study provides a more complete picture of the social sustainability of aged care PPP projects in China. The proposed indicator framework and the realisation paths with corresponding behaviours and decisions at different project stages can enable both public and private sectors to calibrate their policies and contracting behaviours to deliver aged care PPP projects successfully. The empirical data shows the applicability of stakeholder theory in social sustainability research on aged care.
- Social Media Use: We conducted two pilot projects to explore the possible use of social media in project management. One output reports on an exploratory study on how social media could provide an opportunity to evaluate benefits qualitatively by analysing tweets from metro rail projects in India and Australia. We suggest that transport agencies can use social media as an additional way of studying public perception about benefits derived besides their existing benefit realisation assessments. We also found that social media can be a useful tool for transport agencies to monitor operational issues, such as problems, delays or other sources of stakeholder dissatisfaction. Another article aimed to examine the public perceptions of general Australians on Chinese investment in Australia on social media.
- Social License for Infrastructure: I am working with a team led by Prof Yong Liu from Zhejiang Sci-Tech University to conduct a systematic and in-depth analysis on the theoretical framework, formative mechanism, dynamic measurement, and promoting strategies of the social license to operate in Not-in-My-Backyard (NIMBY) infrastructures in China. My contribution is to develop a measurement model to evaluate the level of social license. Expected results can provide useful strategies and implications for the governments and relevant enterprises in coping with social risks (e.g. public opposition and mass incidents) occurred in the construction and operation process of NIMBY infrastructures. This project is funded by the National Science Foundation of China.
- Value Co-creation: Infrastructure projects that involve much community engagement and face complicated operational demands can become more complex in the project life cycle. I am working with a team led by Prof Yan Ning from Nanjing University to take value co-creation as a theoretical lens, intending to capture value in infrastructure projects with an integrated perspective of the whole life-cycle and different stakeholders and explore the mechanism of value co-creation among different stakeholders. This project is funded by the National Science Foundation of China.
- I edited a Special Issue "Tradition and Innovation in Construction Project Management" on the Buildings journal. The aim of this Special Issue is to provide a platform to showcase the latest international research and development in both tradition and innovation in construction management. This issue has published 23 papers and has garnered over 30,000 views and received 45 citations, indicating its significant impact.
- Müller, R., Alix-Séguin, C., Alonderienė, R., Bourgault, M., Chmieliauskas, A., Drouin, N., Ke, Y., Wang, L., Pilkienė, M., Minelgaite, I., Šimkonis, S., Unterhitzenberger, C., Vaagaasar, A.L., & Zhu. F. (2023). A (meta)governance framework for multi-level governance of inter-organizational project networks. Production Planning & Control. accepted on 25 October 2022.
- Unterhitzenberger, C., Müller, R., Vaagaasar, A.L., Ke, Y., Alonderiene, R., Minelgaite, i., Pilkiene, M., Wang, L., Drouin, N., Chmieliauskas, A., Simkonis, S., & Mongeon, M. (2023). A multi-level governance model for inter-organizational project networks. Project Management Journal. accepted on 19 June 2022.
- He, X., Xu, M., Cui, C., Xia, B., Ke, Y., Skitmore, M. & Liu, Y. (2023). Evaluating the social license to operate of waste-to-energy incineration projects: A case study from the Yangtze River Delta of China. Journal of Cleaner Production, 388, 135966.
- Xu, M., Liu, Y., Cui, C., Xia, B., Ke, Y., & Skitmore, M. (2023). Social acceptance of NIMBY facilities: A comparative study between public acceptance and the social license to operate analytical frameworks. Land Use Policy, 124, 106453.
- Wang, K., Ke, Y., Liu, T., & Sankaran, S. (2022). Social Sustainability in Public-Private Partnership Projects: Case Study of the Northern Beaches Hospital in Sydney. Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management. 29(6), 2437-2460.
- Zhou, Q., Xu, M., Liu, Y., Cui, C., Xia, B., Ke, Y., & Skitmore, M. (2022). Exploring the Effects of Spatial Distance on Public Perception of Waste-to-Energy Incineration Projects. Waste Management. 143, 168-176.
- Wang, K., Ke, Y., Sankaran, S., & Xia, B. (2021). Problems in the Home and Community-Based Long-Term Care for the Elderly in China: A Content Analysis of News Coverage. International Journal of Health Planning and Management. 36(5), 1727-1741.
- Ge, Y., Cui, C., Zhang, C., Ke, Y., & Liu, Y. (2021). Testing a Social-Psychological Model of Public Acceptance towards Highway Infrastructure Projects: A Case Study from China. Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management. 28(9), 2772-2787.
I am temporarily working from home. If there is anything I can assist with, please do not hesitate to contact me. Email is the best way of getting in touch. You can find me on LinkedIn, UTS Profile, and Google Scholar. Last but not least, I also have a copy of complete CV here.