U-M China Data Center hosts most visiting scholars ever

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  • Contact Mark Thompson-Kolar, (734) 615-7904, mdmtk@umich.edu

ANN ARBOR—The visiting scholars program at the University of Michigan China Data Center has accepted a record 16 participants in the current academic year.

The center was founded in 1997 to advance the study and understanding of China, with a primary goal of integrating historical, social and natural science data of China into a robust geographic information system that advances a range of quantitative and spatial research.

"Not many scholars understand what kind of data are available, and what kind of methodology can be applied to the main research areas they are interested in," said China Data Center director Shuming Bao. "They learn the spatial technology here, and spatial methodology. We provide the data support and training to do this kind of research."

Spatial information services incorporate a variety of data into a computer system that can be used to generate maps overlaid with visual information, as well as charts. Data types include demographic and economic statistics, industrial censuses, geographic and environmental data and administrative maps.

Spatial tools such as those developed by the China Data Center help researchers visualize connections among data and geographic regions. This facilitates data-driven decision making in the areas of regional planning, business investment, demographic trends, public health and religious adherence. Additionally, as data often cover multiple years, trends can be observed.

"The University of Michigan has significant long-term connections with China," Bao said. "Many people in China know U-M is a top university and would like to visit it with this kind of hosting opportunity."

This year, all of the visiting scholars are studying spatial economy—the analysis of the location of economic activity and allocation of resources over geographic areas. In prior years, scholars explored the field of spatial religion, relating spatial methods and statistical data on religion in China to their primary research interests, such as urbanization or international trade.

This year's China Data Center visiting scholars include:

  • Liwei Fan, Wuhan University
  • Zhuojuan Hu, Xiamen University
  • Xiang Kong, East China Normal University, Shanghai
  • Jinjuan Li, Lanzhou University
  • Hao Luo, Sun Yat-sen University, Canton
  • Haiying Ma, East China University of Science and Technology, Shanghai
  • Jianxun Rui, Shanghai Normal University
  • Renli Shao, Xianyang Normal University
  • Miao Shui, Wuhan University
  • Juergen Symanzik, Utah State University
  • Xiaojuan Wang, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences
  • Ruan Xiaobo, Guangzhou Academy of Social Sciences
  • Kailiang Yu, Fudan University, Shanghai
  • Fayong Zhang, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan and Beijing
  • Xueliang Zhang, Shanghai University of Finance and Economics
  • Yexi Zhong, Jiangxi Normal University, Nanchang

The China Data Center is affiliated with the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research at the Institute for Social Research, but reports to the U-M Office of Research and is operated as an independent data service.


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Established in 1949, the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research is the world's largest academic social science survey and research organization, and a world leader in developing and applying social science methodology, and in educating researchers and students from around the world. ISR conducts some of the most widely cited studies in the nation, including the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers, the American National Election Studies, the Monitoring the Future Study, the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, the Health and Retirement Study, the Columbia County Longitudinal Study and the National Survey of Black Americans. ISR researchers also collaborate with social scientists in more than 60 nations on the World Values Surveys and other projects, and the institute has established formal ties with universities in Poland, China and South Africa. ISR is also home to the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research, the world's largest digital social science data archive. For more information, visit the ISR website at www.isr.umich.edu.

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