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Dr Qian Li

Dr Qian Li

Lecturer in Sustainable Business Operations

Cardiff Business School

+44 (0)29 2087 9247
B49, Aberconway Building, Colum Road, Cathays, Cardiff, CF10 3EU
Available for postgraduate supervision


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

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 irresponsibility 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; v) The application of blockchain in circular construction supply chains.

She has won the FIR/PRI research grant 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. Following the Paris Agreement and TCFD recommendations, she has acted as the external expert reviewer for the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP)’s 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, 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 teaches MSc modules Sustainability for Business and Building Sustainable Supply Chains and contributes to MBA modules International Sustainable Business and Sustainable Business Management at Cardiff Business School. She led a public value engagement project to reduce Scope 3 carbon emissions through interdisciplinary teaching.

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

Qian holds a double bachelor’s degree in law and economics, respectively from Huazhong Normal University and Wuhan University in China, and a Master’s degree in Banking and Finance from University of Newcastle Upon Tyne. She started her PhD at University of St Andrews and received her PhD from ICMA Centre, 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.


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)
  • MSc module – BST806 Sustainability in Business (module leader)
  • MBA module – BST539 International Sustainable Business (contributor only)
  • MBA module – BST611 Sustainable Business Management (contributor only)

Teaching-related awards:

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:

  • Co-investigator of EPSRC-funded project "Scalable Circular Supply Chain for the built environment" with Wang, Yingli (PI), Rana, Gosling, Rezgui, Perera, and Ranjan et al. (Newcastle University), 01.10.2021-30.09.2024, £975,500, EPSRC
  • Cardiff Business school public value engagement project to reduce Scope 3 carbon emissions, 2019, £3000
  • FIR/PRI research grant for the research project ‘Responsible Investment and the Chinese Stock Market", €3000


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

  • Sustainable finance (e.g. ESG investing) and business ethics (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 ESG datasets are essential)
  • Blockchain and circular supply chains

Past projects