Projects per year
I am a political scientist currently leading a fascinating project on 'The Sources of Competitive Advantage in Exporting Green Energy Systems', which examines why, what and how governments and corporations are promoting smart grids. As a revolutionary step forward from the 'dumb power grids' still in use today, smart grids are the technological infrastructure upon which a clean energy transition will be possible. I am also currently one of four Chief Investigators on an ambitious Australia Research Council Discovery Project (ARC DP) examining 'East Asia's clean energy shift: enablers, obstacles, outcomes and lessons' (2019-2021), which examines the state's role in China and Korea's clean energy transitions.
All my research is driven by one fundamental question: Why - and under what conditions - are some individual countries able and willing to use state power for economic advancement, while others are more likely to shun this role, or else engage in predatory behaviour? Drawing on foundational concepts in the social sciences including Michael Mann's 'infrastructural power', Linda Weiss' 'governed interdependence', John Mathews' theorising on the organization of technological industries, and more recently through my own concept of 'Hybridized Industrial Ecosystems', I have attempted to address this question through publishing broadly on the political and economic development of East Asia while also pursuing two specific streams of inquiry:
1. The evolution of East Asia’s developmental states as they leapfrog from technological imitation to innovation
My first article, ‘Transitioning from Fast-Follower to Innovator’, published in Review of International Political Economy (RIPE) (2012), was one of the first studies to examine the recombination of institutional features associated with developmental states as countries approach the technological frontier (in the telecommunications sector). My second article, ‘The Politics of Technological Upgrading in South Korea’ was published in New Political Economy (NPE) in 2012. This article traced the influence of the broader political environment on technology upgrading efforts in the telecommunications sector. My third article in this stream, ‘The Rise of East Asia’s Global Companies’ (2013), published in Global Policy examined changes in institutional structures of governance in East Asia as a response to the growth of national firms into highly capable and independent technological innovators, which has helped strengthen their footprint on the world stage.
2. Greening and the evolution of development strategy in East Asia
After years of extensive fieldwork in East Asia, in 2015 I published ‘Developmental Environmentalism’ in Politics & Society journal (with Elizabeth Thurbon). I coined this concept to explain South Korea’s ambitious 'green growth' initiative, which frames climate change as an industrial challenge. In an effort to understand the political factors holding back a wider shift in the embrace of renewable energies in South Korea (and the strategies being deployed to overcome such challenges), I (with Emeritus Prof John Mathews) published an article on ‘Korea's Greening Strategy’ in The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus (2016). My article in RIPE (2019), 'Hybridized industrial ecosystems and the makings of a new developmental infrastructure in East Asia’s green energy sector', examines the emergence of a new type of developmental thinking centred on what I call ‘hybridized industrial ecosystems’ in Korea and Taiwan. I have coined this new concept as a means of explaining East Asian success in shifting economies to clean energy and Circular Economy foundations. In 'National Competitive Advantage and Energy Transitions in Korea and Taiwan', published in NPE, I shifts the analytical focus onto international greening processes and their impact on domestic actors (and the interactions between the two levels) to account for the most significant change in Korea and Taiwan's energy policies since the end of WWII - the scaling down of nuclear energy use and the rapid build-up of renewable energy markets.
I am currently Senior Lecturer in International Relations in the Discpline of Politics and International Relations (Macquarie School of Social Sciences). I currently serve on the Executive Committees of two national academic organisations: the Australian Political Studies Association (APSA) (Chair of Organising Committee for the 2021 APSA Conference) and as the Treasurer of the Korean Studies Association of Australasia (KSAA). I have been a Visiting Researcher at Seoul National University, Korea University and Waseda University. Before returning to Australia, I was Lecturer (2012-2016) in Politics & International Relations at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Prior to my move to New Zealand, I was a Sessional Lecturer in the political science departments/schools at the University of Sydney, University of New South Wales and Macquarie University. I undertook my doctoral training under the supervision of Emeritus Professor Linda Weiss in the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney. The title of my PhD thesis was ‘Telecommunications Inc.: Korea’s Challenge to Qualcomm’ (2009).
EXTERNAL RESEARCH GRANTS:
2019-2021 Australia Research Council Discovery Project (ARC DP) 'East Asia's clean energy shift: enablers, obstacles, outcomes and lessons', Chief Investigators: A/P Elizabeth Thurbon, Dr Sung-Young Kim, A/P Hao Tan, Prof. Emeritus John A. Mathews, Value: $301,000
2013-2017 Academy of Korean Studies (AKS) ‘Overseas Leading University Programme for Korean Studies awarded to The University of Auckland, Principal Investigator: Dr Changzoo Song; Associate Investigators: Dr Sung-Young Kim and Dr Sunhee Koo, Value: $854,000.
- 'The case for an East Asian ‘climate club’ led by Australia' East Asia Forum (July 2020) (with John Mathews, Hao Tan and Elizabeth Thurbon)
- 'Submission to the Commonwealth Government’s Technology Investment Roadmap Discussion Paper Consultation Process' Dev-env.org (June 2020) (with John Mathews, Hao Tan and Elizabeth Thurbon)
- 'Want an economic tonic, Mr Morrison? Use that stimulus money to turbocharge renewables' The Conversation (May 2020) (with John Mathews, Hao Tan and Elizabeth Thurbon)
- 'It might sound ‘batshit insane’ but Australia could soon export sunshine to Asia via a 3,800km cable' The Conversation (February 2020) (with John Mathews, Hao Tan and Elizabeth Thurbon)
- 'Australia’s dangerous dirty hydrogen plans' East Asia Forum (May 2020) (with John Mathews, Hao Tan and Elizabeth Thurbon)
- 'Taking the Confucius Institutes at face value' The Interpreter (November 2019) (with Kieran Donelly)
- 'Grand opportunities for Australia's hydrogen industry – and for a strategic regional rebalancing' East Asia Forum (December 2019) (with John Mathews, Hao Tan and Elizabeth Thurbon)
‘China succeeds in greening its economy not because, but in spite of, its authoritarian government’ The Conversation (May 2019) (with John Mathews, Hao Tan and Elizabeth Thurbon)
- 'A Greener Grid for East Asia' Project Syndicate (August 2017) (with John Mathews)
- 'Clean energy transitions in Korea, Taiwan' Korea Times (July 2017) (with John Mathews)
- 'Korea's strategy for smart grids' Korea Times (March 2017) (with John Mathews)
- 'Asia's Clean Tech Transition: Balancing Green Development and New Market Growth' Canada-Asia Agenda (May 2017)
- Interview on The Scholars' Circle (June 2016) hosted by Dr Maria Armoudian
- 'South Korea doubles down on Green Growth' East Asia Forum (December 2015)
- 'Green Growth: re-booted in Korea, booted-out in Australia' The Conversation (February 2014) (with Elizabeth Thurbon)
- 'Sorry, Apple: Samsung is winning the war on 4G platforms'The Conversation (September 2012)
Research student supervision
I am always eagar to work with doctoral candidates on any area broadly related to the fields of comparative politics, international political economy and international relations. Feel free to email me if you wish to discuss your potential Master of Research (MRes) or PhD project with me!
COMPLETED POSTGRADUATE SUPERVISIONS:
2015. Jianglin (Jenny) Qin ‘China in the Climate Change Regime Complex: The Efficiency of the Climate Change Regime Complex and a Discussion of the Bottom-up Approach’ (Co-Supervisor)
2014. Xiang Gao ‘Understanding China as a Responsible Power in International Society' (Co-Supervisor)
2015. Corey John Wallace ‘The Evolution of the Japanese Strategic Imagination and Generation Change’ (Co-Supervisor)
2019. Kieran Donelly 'Cultural Statecraft The Confucius Institute Project in Australia'
2016. Le-Minh Si Truong ‘Climbing Up the Ladder - the Case of Vietnam and its Information Communication Technology industry’
2015. Nicholas Mignacca ‘Latecomer Strategies in Forging a Renewable Energy Economy: An Examination of India’s Efforts in Building Domestic Capabilities in Renewable Energy Technology Industries’
2015. Scott Russell ‘The Green Developmental State? The Political Limitations of Taiwan's Green Industry Policy’
2014. Richard Hudson ‘Pursuing Techno-Nationalism in an Age of Globalisation: Chinese Foreign Direct Investment in Angola’
2014. Lauren Gent ‘Governance of Green Growth in New Zealand: Intermittent, Ungoverned Interdependence’
2020. Sophie Pantcheff 'Financialisation of the UK Economy: Helping or hindering the development of innovation?'
I am a teacher of International Relations, International Political Economy and Comparative Politics (East Asia) at all levels of study.
Undergraduate (introductory and senior):
22/03/19 → 21/03/22
1/01/17 → …
Hybridized industrial ecosystems and the makings of a new developmental infrastructure in East Asia's green energy sectorKim, S-Y., 2019, In : Review of International Political Economy. 26, 1, p. 158-182 25 p.
Research output: Contribution to journal › ArticleOpen AccessFile
Transitioning from fast-follower to innovator: the institutional foundations of the Korean telecommunications sectorKim, S-Y., 2012, In : Review of International Political Economy. 19, 1, p. 140-168 29 p.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article35 Citations (Scopus)
Kim, S-Y. & Thurbon, E., Jun 2015, In : Politics and Society. 43, 2, p. 213-240 28 p.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article
The politics of technological upgrading in South Korea: how government and business challenged the might of QualcommKim, S-Y., 2012, In : New Political Economy. 17, 3, p. 293-312 20 p.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article13 Citations (Scopus)
8 Citations (Scopus)
PhD submitted to Department of Government & International Relations, University of Sydney, Australia.Sung-Young Kim (Examiner)2019
‘Tracking Developmental Environmentalism in East Asia: Korea and China’s efforts to drive clean energy transitions’. Paper prepared for presentation at the 2019 International Studies Association Asia-Pacific (ISA AP) Conference, ‘Asia-Pacific and World Order: Security, Economics, Identity and Beyond’, Nanyang Technological University (NTU One-North campus), Singapore (with Elizabeth Thurbon, Hao Tan, John A. Mathews).Sung-Young Kim (Speaker)4 Jul 2019 → 6 Jul 2019
Activity: Talk or presentation › Oral presentation
'The Developmental Logic of Creating Green Energy Markets in East Asia'. Presentation at the 10th Australian International Political Economy Network Workshop (AIPEN X), University of Western Australia, Perth,Australia.Sung-Young Kim (Speaker)14 Feb 2019 → 15 Feb 2019
Activity: Talk or presentation › Oral presentation
'East Asia’s new development strategy in green energy: the nature of the state’s power in hybridized industrial ecosystems’. Paper prepared for presentation at the 2019 International Studies Association Asia-Pacific (ISA AP) Conference, ‘Asia-Pacific and World Order: Security, Economics, Identity and Beyond’, Nanyang Technological University (NTU One-North campus), Singapore.Sung-Young Kim (Speaker)4 Jul 2019 → 6 Jul 2019
Activity: Talk or presentation › Oral presentation