Dr Elizabeth Yi Wang

Dr Elizabeth Yi Wang


Dr Elizabeth Yi Wang is a statistician and an artist by training. She specialises in econometric modelling of behaviours of multi-unit and multi-location organizations such as multinational enterprises (MNEs) and business groups. Starting as a “spillovers” scholar, she examined the dynamics of inward foreign direct investment and innovation in China’s subnational regions, and subsequently focused on understanding how firms develop capabilities in economies that are trying to catch up. Her research has an inclusive development agenda, specifically international technology transfer for inclusive growth, capability building of emerging market firms, green innovation, international business policy, and carrying capacity. 

Dr Wang has intellectual interests in several disciplines. She has been an advocate of “carrying capacity” and its implications for sustainable development. She is critical of institutional failures and the resulting challenges to achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). She is committed to being an excellent educator, making contributions in not only scientific discovery but also rigorous knowledge transfer to generate positive impacts in the wider society. She has been invited by overseas institutions to provide academic advice on embedding pedagogy development into public education and on strategic issues including regional development, regional branding, poverty reduction, and cross-border e-commerce education.

Dr Wang had been a long-standing Co-Chair of the European Academy of International Business (EIBA)/ EIASM Doctoral Symposium in International Business (EIBA-DS) between 2013 and 2019, during which the DS was renamed as the Danny Van Den Bulcke Doctoral Symposium in International Business (DVDB-DS) to honor Danny who made significant contribution to developing and encouraging new researchers. 

Dr Wang is the founder of the Mainstreaming Impact in International Business initiative (MIIB), which aims to meet increasing calls to advocate and advance International Business (IB) research in tackling urgent global issues, such as SDGs and geopolitical uncertainties.

As a contributor to sustainability development initiatives, Dr Wang co-chairs a panel in the ICSD 2020 and a special panel in AIB UK&Ireland chapter conference 2022.

Dr Wang is a strong supporter of mentoring. She regularly acts as a mentor. Most recently, she mentors Michael Beverley Innovation Fellows.


Winner of Women of Achievement 2021

Winner of Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence 2018

Winner of the Neil Hood and Stephen Young Prize for the Most Original New Work, awarded by the Doctoral Colloquium at the AIB UK & Ireland Annual Conference 2007

Ph.D. International Business and Economics, University of Leeds. The third year of her Ph.D. study was financed by the Sino-British Fellowship Trust and Chinese Student Award. Ph.D. title: “Foreign direct investment spillovers in China”. Supervisor: Professor L Jeremy Clegg, Professor Peter J Buckley, and Dr Chengqi Wang. External Examiners: Professor Steven Young, Business School, University of Glasgow, UK, and Dr Axèle Giroud, Manchester Business School, The University of Manchester, UK.


  • Director of Student Education in International Business (2011-2012, 2015-2018)
  • Programme Director, MSc International Business (2013-2015)
  • Head of Year 2 (BSc International Business)

Research interests

The keywords that describe best Dr Elizabeth Yi Wang’ research interests are enterprise, place, space, and governance. She is interested in examining how these factors interact and how to harness the benefits of their interactions for achieving sustainable development. Specifically, her research aims to answer the following questions:

  • How do organisational, geographic, and societal boundaries influence sustainable development?
  • How do spillovers, control, and identity contribute to the changes in the world we see today? 
  • How do entrepreneurship, innovation, and governance drive changes in sustainable development over time?
  • How can new knowledge generated from the above make an effective impact on society? What are the roles of international business policy and grassroot interventions?

Dr Wang has supervised a number of PhD projects in areas relating to the above and continues to welcome PhD candidates to work closely with her in these areas. 

Research contributions on the COVID-19 Pandemic and its impact on society:

Her recent three research grants:

  • “Building Effective Multilateralism in GVC Governance: The Role of Green Policy and Green Innovation”  Receiving this Research Development Fund in June 2022 awarded by the University of Leeds has enabled the team to build impact into the design of the research project to directly work with stakeholders.
  • “How does policy exert real effects?” Foreign Experts Grant awarded by the Ministry of Science and Technology of PR China. The grant is the highest-level award given by the Chinese government to support the engagement of foreign experts in scientific research and scholarly exchange. The grant aims to foster long term international research and scholarly collaborations, and therefore is renewable on an annual basis. The total amount for this year is 855,000 RMB (£94,119).
  • Strategic Crafting of Country-of-Origin-Image: Strengthening Competitive Advantages of Firms in Times of Global Geopolitical and Economic Uncertainty” Challenge Fund (£19, 500) awarded by Leeds University Business School that aims to produce impactful research through large grant applications. This is a multi-disciplinary research project with experts from Leeds University Business School and the School of Design, and industry and institutional partners from the UK, China, India, and Brazil. The research team is passionate about creating the science of strategic crafting of Country Image that benefits trade negotiations, firm exports, regional competitiveness, and societal cohesion. 

Her recent research on the spillover effects of inward foreign direct investment (FDI) on performance of indegenous multi-location business groups:

Location still matters! How does geographic configuration influence the performance-enhancing advantages of FDI spillovers?, Journal of International Management, Volume 26, Issue 3, September 2020, 100777. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.intman.2020.100777

The policy implication of her research is that multinational enterprises (MNEs) are particuarly strong in protecting own technology and knowledge in a host economy, and policymakers would be wrong to focus on attracting FDI without understading “how” indegenous businesses actually learn from FDI. Indeed, indegenous firms face significant challenges but can succeed in reaping the benefits of FDI spillovers by carefully configuring (1) their “spatial” operations to maitain proximity to MNEs AND (2) the mandates of each affiliate in the group.  See research blog “How emerging market firms learn from multinational enterprises”. Enjoy reading!

Dr Wang’s recent contribution to the 7th World Investment Forum, 18-22 Oct 2021, includes a panel discussion on the topic of Aligning multinational firms for the “decade of action”: a real prospect or wishful thinking?For details of the in-depth study she and her co-authors  conducted and her suggestions of how MNEs can contribute to SDGs, please see here, and the session recording here.


  • PhD International Business and Economics, University of Leeds
  • MSc International Finance, University of Leeds
  • BSc Economics and Statistics, Capital University of Economics & Business, Beijing, China

Professional memberships

  • The Higher Education Academy
  • European Academy of International Business
  • Academy of International Business
  • British Academy of Management

Student education

Dr Elizabeth Yi Wang is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and the Executive Coordinator of the Teaching and Education Special Interest Group (T&E SIG) of the Academy of International Business (AIB).

During the past years, she has developed and managed 5 undergraduate (UG) modules, 5 postgraduate (PG) modules, two masters programmes – MSc International Business (IB) and MSc International Business (with Study Abroad). As Director of Student Education in International Business, she oversaw the strategic development of UG and PG IB Curriculum and, during my term, both UG and PG programmes achieved national excellence (top NSS ranking of UG programmes) and global excellence (top Financial Times Masters in Management Ranking of our MSc IB). As AACSB Accreditation Champion, she led the re-articulation of IB programme and module learning outcomes, and ensured successful accreditation of 4 UG programmes, 1 PG programme, and more than 40 associated IB modules.

She is an advocate of research-based-learning and research-led teaching. 

Recent modules:

Chinese Business (PG)

The Emerging Markets (PG)

Research Methods for International Business (UG)

Managing International Business (UG)

Research groups and institutes

  • Centre for International Business at the University of Leeds

Current postgraduate researchers