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Dr Qian Li


Lecturer in Sustainable Business Operations

Cardiff Business School

+44 29208 79247
Aberconway Building, Room B49, Colum Road, Cathays, Cardiff, CF10 3EU
Available for postgraduate supervision


Qian (Jan) Li is a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Sustainable Business Operations at Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University. 

Qian's research predominantly focuses on the empirical links between sustainability issues and firm financial performance, and aspects of socially responsible investment. Interdisciplinary in nature, her work draws from diverse strands of literature including sustainable finance, strategic management, environmental economics and business ethics. She has been working on several sustainability-related research projects: i) Corporate social (ir)responsibility and shareholder value; ii) NGO activism on climate change issues and firm value; iii) The exploratory investigation of big data and artificial intelligence on sustainable finance; iv) The impact of human capital drivers on employee wellbeing and retention; and v) The application of blockchain in circular construction supply chains.

She has won the FIR/PRI research grant with Prof. Michael L. Barnett, Dr. Xing Chen, and Prof. Andreas Hoepner for the research project ‘Responsible Investment and the Chinese Stock Market’, which is administered by the French Social Investment Forum and the United Nations-backed Principles for Responsible Investment. Additionally, following the Paris Agreement and TCFD recommendations, she has acted as the external expert reviewer for the Carbon Disclosure Project's (CDP) multimillion proposal ‘Reimagining Disclosure’ which aims to provide a new and innovative approach for greenhouse gas (GHG) emission disclosure to fundamentally change business and sustainable practices to achieve a well-below 2-degree world. She has published numerous works in refereed journals, book chapters, and conference proceedings, such as Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Journal of Business Research, Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management, IEEE conference proceedings and Academy of Management (AOM) Annual Conference proceedings. She has presented her work at international conferences, such as Strategic Management Society (SMS) Annual Conference, European Financial Management Association (EFMA) Annual Conference, International Association of Business and Society (IABS) Annual Conference, Academy of Management (AOM) Annual Conference, Work, Employment and Society (WES) conference, and European Business Ethics Network (EBEN) Annual Conference.

Qian is the module leader for MSc modules Sustainability for Business and Building Sustainable Supply Chains and she also contributes to MBA module Confronting Grand Challenges and EMBA module International Sustainable Business at Cardiff Business School. She led a public value engagement project that aimed to reduce Scope 3 carbon emissions through interdisciplinary teaching.

Prior to joining Cardiff Business School, she worked as a postdoctoral researcher for the Economics of Mutuality Lab at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford. Her work focused on natural capital accounting, the development of economics of mutuality (EoM) metrics based on multiple forms of capital, and conducting randomised controlled trials (RCT) in microfinance. She also served as the Oxford research lead on a business pilot in China.

Qian holds a double bachelor’s degree in law and economics, respectively from Central China Normal University and Wuhan University in China, and a Master’s degree in Banking and Finance from Newcastle University. She began her PhD studies at the University of St Andrews and received her PhD from the ICMA Centre at the University of Reading.








  • Li, Q. 2015. Responsible investment in China. In: Hebb, T. et al. eds. The Routledge Handbook of Responsible Investment. London and New York: Routledge, pp. 166-181.


Book sections



I have a broad range of interests in examining the impact of sustainability and technology on firm performance. More specifically, I am interested in:

  • Business Ethics (incl. Corporate Social (Ir)responsibility, Environmental, Social and Governance Issues)
  • Sustainable Finance (incl. Responsible Investment, Impact Investing, Shareholder Engagement, Microfinance)
  • Fintech (incl. Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Blockchain, Big Data Analysis)
  • Asset Management (incl. Asset Pricing, Alpha Modeling, Risk Analysis)
  • Corporate Governance (incl. Board Diversity)

My recent list of work is available on Google Scholar and SSRN.

Research-related funding and awards:

  • Principal investigator (PI) of Cardiff Business School Public Value Engagement Fellowship, "Net Zero Neighbourhoods in South Wales", 2023-2024, £5000
  • Principal investigator (PI) of On-Campus Research Project (CUROP) with Prof. Jon Gosling, 2023, approx. £3000
  • Co-investigator (Co-I) of On-Campus Research Project (CUROP) with Dr. Anthony Flynn, 2023, approx. £3000
  • Co-investigator (Co-I) of EPSRC-funded project "Scalable Circular Supply Chain for the Built Environment" with Prof. Yingli Wang (PI), Prof. Omer Rana, Prof. Jon Gosling, Prof. Yacine Rezgui, Dr. Charith Perera, and Prof. Rajiv Ranjan et al. (Newcastle University), 01.10.2021-30.09.2024, £975,500
  • Principal investigator (PI) of Cardiff Business School Public Value Engagement Fellowship, "Reducing Scope 3 Emissions of SMEs in Wales", 2019-2020, £3000
  • Principal investigator (PI) of FIR/PRI research grant for the research project ‘Responsible Investment and the Chinese Stock Market" with Prof. Michael L. Barnett, Dr. Xing (Jimmy) Chen, Prof. Andreas G.F. Hoepner, €3000


I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA). I am currently teaching the following modules:

  • MSc module – BST821 Building Sustainable Supply Chains (module leader, since 2019)
  • MSc module – BST806 Sustainability for Business (module leader, since 2019)
  • MBA module – BST905 Confronting Grand Challenges (contributor only, since 2021)
  • EMBA module – BST611 Sustainable Business Management (contributor only, since 2020)

My teaching-related internal and external roles include:

  • Member of Cardiff University Future-Proofing Learning and Teaching Group
  • Member of UK Green Building Council (GBC) Learning and Development Focus Group (Two-year post 2023-2025)

Teaching-related awards:

  • Excellent Module Enhancement Survey results for BST821 Building Sustainable Supply Chains 2022/23 - Nominated by Prof. Julian Gould-Williams, Pro-Dean Education and Students  
  • Excellent Module Enhancement Survey results for BST806 Sustainability for Business 2022/23 - Nominated by Prof. Julian Gould-Williams, Pro-Dean Education and Students  
  • Enriching Student Life Award - Nominated by students as “Most Uplifting Staff Member of the Year” at Cardiff University, 2022
  • Supervised MSc student Xinyu Zhang’s case study won FIBREE Writing Competition Award, 2022 
  • Supervised MSc student Xitian Yuan’s live dissertation project won the “2021 PARC Award
  • Exceptionally high level of satisfaction for BST821 Building Sustainable Supply Chains 2020/21 - Nominated by Prof. Julian Gould-Williams, Pro-Dean Education and Students  



  • FHEA, Higher Education Academy
  • PhD in Business Ethics and Asset Management, ICMA Centre, University of Reading
  • MSc in Banking and Finance, Newcastle University
  • BA in Economics (Dual bachelor's degree), Wuhan University (China)
  • BA in Law, Central China Normal University (China)

Professional memberships

  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) (Since 2023)
  • Full Accredited Researcher (AR) - Office for National Statistics (ONS)
  • Academy of Management (AOM) 
  • Academy of International Business (AIB)
  • British Academy of Management (BAM)
  • European Financial Management (EFA)
  • European Decision Sciences Institute (EDSI)
  • European Operations Management Association (EUROMA)

Academic positions

  • Lecturer in Sustainable Business Operations, Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University, January 2019 - present
  • Public Value Engagement Fellow, Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University, September 2023 - July 2024
  • Public Value Engagement Fellow, Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University, July 2019 - July 2020
  • Postdoctoral Researcher – Mutuality in Business, Saïd Business School, Oxford University, March 2017 - September 2018

Committees and reviewing

Grant Reviewer

  • Carbon Disclosure Project’s (CDP) multimillion funding proposal ‘Reimagining Disclosure’

Book Reviewer

  • Sustainable Operations Management: Key Practices and Cases 

Journal Reviewer

  • Emerging Markets Review
  • Journal of Business Ethics
  • Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money
  • Production, Planning and Control
  • Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal
  • Strategic Management Journal
  • The European Journal of Finance


I am interested in supervising PhD students in the areas of:

  • Sustainable finance (e.g. ESG investing)
  • Business ethics (e.g. corporate social irresponsibility)
  • Machine learning to tackle climate change (skills in textual analysis are essential)
  • The application of big data in sustainability research (skills in managing large datasets are essential)
  • Blockchain and circular supply chains