Making results count: Translating independent China research into actionable recommendations – CHERN Training School

The China in Europe Research Network (CHERN) and SKEMA Business School, are organizing a CHERN Training School.

The focus of the training school is to empower early career researchers to increase the policy impact of their research. Special attention is paid to identify policy relevant results of the trainees’ research on contemporary China and how to turn those into actionable recommendations. The program of the training school includes skills workshops, practical group exercises, and encounters with policymakers and senior China experts.

In addition, the training school provides the participants with a platform to connect with peers in academia and think tanks from different European countries.

The training school starts with a virtual onboarding session on March 15, 2024. The in-person training takes place in Paris on April 4 -5, 2024.

Training School organizers:

Matthias Stepan

Dr. Matthias Stepan has a unique background working in different sectors on China: academia, think tanks, business, government bodies on different levels, and civil society. Thus he has built a broad network across sectors and countries over the last decade. He is experienced in effectively communicating complex issues to different audiences and providing advice to policymakers.
He has a track record as public speaker for different audiences, university lecturer (bachelor and master’s level), and as organizer of training schools and formats addressing young professionals. E.g. he designed and organized the CHERN training school “China Scholarship and Policy Advice (04/2023-05/2023), and acted as Coordinator of the “Sino-German Young Professional Campus” (09/2019-11/2022).
His appointments include (1) lead of knowledge management in the Horizon Europe Project “China Horizons (11/2022-12/2023), (2) principal investigator of the project ” Higher Education Institutions as Actors in the Dialogue with China” at Ruhr University Bochum (09/2021-11/2023), (3) Chief Representative of Stiftung Mercator to China, (4) member of the management board and co-director of the research area Politics, Society and Media at the Mercator Institute for China Studies – MERICS (2014-2019), (5) Doctoral researcher at VU University Amsterdam (10/2009 – 01/2014), (6) Junior consultant at the EU-China Social Security Reform Cooperation Project (2009), (7) Trainee Mercedes-Benz China (12/2008-06/2009).

Maximilian Rech

Maximilian Rech is an Assistant Professor & the Scientific Director of the Mastere Specialise® Supply Chain &
Purchasing Manager at SKEMA Business School in Lille & Paris, France. He is affiliated with the Digitalisation
Academy & member of the SKEMA Research Centre for Global Risks & the Research Centre for Analytics &
Management Science.
Maximilian specializes in geopolitics & macro-economic cooperation between Europe & Asia. He focuses on the
digital transformation of business models & best practices in global supply chain management & procurement.
From 2014 to 2020 Maximilian served as Programme Director & Assistant Professor for International Affairs at
ESSCA School of Management, Shanghai. He was the Academic Director of the Campus and led the double degrees
MSc in Global Management ‘China-Europe Business’ in cooperation with Antwerp Management School and the
MSc in Digital Marketing & Business in cooperation with EFAP Ecole de Communication.
Before that, Maximilian worked as Programme Manager for the Brussels-based think tank Friends of Europe from
2009 to 2012 where he implemented the European Union financed ‘Understanding China Programme’ with its
China Advisory Council to the European Commission & as Programme Fellow for the Carnegie Endowment for
International Peace from 2008 to 2009 focusing on European security & defence policy.
Maximilian holds an M.A. & a B.A. of European Studies from Maastricht University, The Netherlands, with an
international experience at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques / Sciences Po Grenoble, France. Maximilian is a frequent
media commentator & has published with PalgraveMacmillan, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, & Springer Nature,
among others.

Alexandra Filius

Alexandra Filius is grant holder manager for COST Action China in Europe Research Network (CHERN). In addition, she is Program Manager for the VU Graduate School of Social Sciences and junior lecturer within the Organization Science and Public Administration program at VU. Alexandra Filius has extensive management and organizational skills in research and education.
Alexandra holds a bachelor degree in China Studies from Leiden University and a master degree in Culture, Organization and Management from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. During her studies she lived Beijing for one year. She wrote her master thesis about the experiences of Chinese PhD students in the Netherlands.


Jelena Gledić

Jelena Gledić is Senior Instructor at the University of Belgrade where she teaches a range of undergraduate courses in the field of Chinese language and culture at the Faculty of Philology. She also held a cross-appointment at Osaka University’s Graduate School of Language and Culture as Specially Appointed Associate Professor, and was Program Director at Petnica Science Center. Her recent research has mainly been focused on the Chinese presence in the Western Balkans and especially Serbia. 

In addition to her research on China, she has been active in the field of teaching and learning innovation, doing extensive fieldwork at universities in the US, UK, China and Japan, and working as project assistant at the University of Zurich’s Language and Space Lab. She gave a workshop on Effectively Communicating Your China Research in the 1st cycle of CHERN’s Online Series and was part of the organization team and trainer of CHERN’s 2023 Training School.

The training school addresses primarily early career researchers: doctoral students in the final phase of their PhD, researchers who obtained their PhD in the last 8 years.

Participants are expected to demonstrate a clear interest in turning the results of their academic scholarship into policy advice. Previous experience in providing policy advice is not a pre-requisite but it can be an advantage in the selection process.

There is a two-step application process: applicants need to fill in a form, which includes a statement of motivation, and send their latest CV as a PDF document to The deadline for applications is February 23rd.

Applicants will be informed about the outcome of the selection process no later than February 28th.

Accepted eligible participants will receive financial support for travel and accommodation from CHERN, in accordance with the EU COST rules. There is no tuition fee for the Training School.

Trainees eligible to be reimbursed for travel costs are engaged in an official research programme as a PhD Student or postdoctoral fellow or can be employed by, or affiliated to, an institution, organisation or legal entity which has within its remit a clear association with performing research. To be eligible, they also need to be affiliated to a legal entity in a full COST member or Cooperating member, a Near Neighbouring country (NNC), or from an Approved European RTD organization. Please see the COST Country and Organizations table.

The application period has ended



Friday, 15 March 2024
  1. Introduction 

14:00 – 14:10          General welcome (Matthias STEPAN)

14:10 – 14:20        Short introduction of program & trainers (all trainers)

  1. Breakout-sessions: Trainees get-to-know each other 

14:20 – 14:45         Trainees in breakout-rooms 

14:45 – 15:00        Discussion

  1. Panel discussion: Bridging the gap between academia & policymaking

15:00 – 16:00         Input by three senior China experts, followed by discussion

Prof. Mario ESTEBAN RODRÍGUEZ, Professor of East Asian Studies and Director of the Center for East Asian Studies of the Autonomous University Madrid & Senior Analyst at Elcano Royal Institute

Dr. Una Aleksandra BĒRZIŅA-ČERENKOVA, Director of the China Studies Centre at Riga Stradins University & Head of the Asia Programme at the Latvian Institute of International Affairs

Dr. Tim RÜHLIG, Fellow at the European Commission Directorate General Inspire, Debate, Engage & Accelerate Action (DG IDEA)

  1. Cooperation with China in Science, Technology, and Innovation 

16:00 – 16:15          Input by Gaia AIRULO, Policy Officer at the European Commission Directorate General Research & Innovation (DG RTD)

16:15 – 16:30        Discussion

  1. Outlook & closing


Thursday, 4 April 2024

09:00 – 09:30 Welcome & introduction to the Training School
Maximilian RECH, Alexandra FILIUS, Matthias STEPAN 

09:30 – 10:30   Workshop 1: The Why – Writing for impact
Jelena GLEDIC & Maximilian RECH 

10:45 – 12:15    Workshop 2: The What – Shaping the message
Jelena GLEDIC & Maximilian RECH

13:15 – 14:45    Workshop 3: The How – Bringing the message across
Jelena GLEDIC & Maximilian RECH 

14:45 – 15:30   Work on small-group exercise: policymakers’ summary and policy pitch            

17 :00 – 18:30  Evening Panel at Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales (Inalco)

From Research to Policy Impact: The role of scientific advice in adjusting the relations with the People’s Republic of China


Dr. Jean François HUCHET, President of INALCO

Dr. Alice EKMAN, Senior Analyst in charge of the Asia portfolio at the European Union Institute of Security Studies (EUISS)

Dr. Séverine ARSÈNE, Asia Project Manager at the Center for Analysis Forecasting & Strategy (CAPS) at the Ministry of Europe & Foreign Affairs, France

Host: Dr. Sebastien COLIN                        

Moderator: Dr. Matthias STEPAN

18:30 – 19:00   Networking Reception

Friday, 5 April 2024

09:00 – 10:30   Finalisation of small-group exercise: Policymakers’ summary

10:30 – 11:30    Managing challenges with China: The role of international cooperation

Karim DAHOU, Deputy Director & Head of China Unit, Organisation for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD) Global Relations & Cooperation

11:30 – 12:30    Finalisation of small-group exercise: Policy pitch

13:30 – 16:30   Presentation of policymakers’ summary & policy pitch 

Jury members:

Dr. Claude REVEL, Director of SKEMA Publika Think Tank 

Dr. Jean-Francois DI MEGLIO, President of Asia Centre

Elena LAZAROU, Acting Head of Unit, European Parliament Research Service

 16:30 – 17:00   Closing

17:00 – 18:00   Rooftop Reception

For any questions, please contact Alexandra Filius at

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