In November, 2018, the University of Chicago and Tsinghua University announced a new partnership, forming the Joint Research Center for Economics and Finance. The Joint Center is a first-of-its-kind collaboration that supports frontier economics research, as well as faculty and doctoral student exchanges. It hosts regular workshops and forums to share results and discuss areas of mutual interest. The Joint Center’s seminar series is a premier forum featuring well established economics scholars discussing frontier research, methodologies and issues related to policymaking in China.

Director of the Becker Friedman Institute in China (BFI-China) Zhiguo He, a professor at Chicago Booth, and Yi Lu of Tsinghua University serve as the Joint Center’s founding faculty directors. The steering committee is led by Professors Chong-En Bai of Tsinghua University and Michael Greenstone of the University of Chicago.

This partnership is a uniquely important and promising opportunity to advance world-class economics research and develop the next generation of leading economists. In particular, the Joint Center serves three main purposes:

  1. Support economics research focused on the Chinese economy, including through the use of large economic, commercial, and other data sets;
  2. Support economics faculty visits and exchange between Tsinghua University and the University of Chicago;
  3. Support student exchanges between the two universities.

The Joint Center initiates an annual call for proposals from faculty. In the spring of 2020, it announced its inaugural award of 10 research grants. Each research team receiving awards includes faculty from both the University of Chicago and Tsinghua University, with topics ranging from trade dynamics to energy, housing, and more.