This month Dr Alec Zuo is our Researcher in Focus.
What is the aim of your research?
My research aim is to answer research questions that can advance knowledge and have policy implications. My research mainly concentrtes in the agricultural and resource economics field, and in particular irrigation water markets, farmer behaviour, farm management and climate change adaptation. I also do research on issues of internal migration and social security participation of rural migrants in China.
What type of research do you do (e.g., field work)?
I mainly conduct empirical research using in-house irrigator surveys, external surveys and datasets. The main research method I use is regression modelling and I try the best to keep myself up to date the latest and most advanced techniques.
What was your PhD topic?
My PhD thesis title is ‘Foreign direct investment (FDI) in China: locational choices and backward linkages’. It seeks to enrich the literature from a novel empirical approach, on locational choices of multinational enterprises in China and economic development path of China in the presence of multinational firms. There is a strong quantitative component in my thesis which involves extensive longitudinal econometric models.
What is your favourite part of being a researcher?
There are many aspects of research that I love about, such as talking to colleagues and coming up with great research ideas, finding some unique datasets and getting to know specific models to tackle certain problems. But my favourite part is to be able to use robust methods to answer research questions. This will fill the research literature gap and potentially assist policy making in the relevant areas as well.
What is the hardest part of being a researcher?
Rejection of either publication or funding is the hardest part, in my view. But the right attitude towards rejection will alleviate the hardest part. Not giving up and treating the feedback seriously will make the next go closer and closer to success.
What advice would you give to other aspiring researchers?
It’s important for aspiring researchers to collaborate with other researchers. Often researchers have complementary skills and collaboration can make the research process more productive.