Simona Grano

Simona Grano, PD Dr.

Teaching and Research Fellow Chinese Studies

Academic Advisor

Phone: +41 44 634 31 85

Room number: ZUB 3-322

Curriculum Vitae

  • 2011–2012 Research Fellow at Zhengda University, Taipei and at Hong Kong University with a grant from the Swiss National Foundation.
  • 2011 Research Fellow at Taiwan National Library, Taipei for 5 months (July–November). 
  • 2009–2010 Postdoc project at Ca' Foscari University of Venice on environmental movements in the P.R.C. (research carried out at the East Asian Department of Zürich University.
  • 2008 On the 22nd of February I have obtained my Ph.D. degree with the dissertation: “L’evoluzione del diritto di proprietà in Cina” (The evolution of property right in China).
  • 2007 (December) Obtainment of the EACS (European Association of Chinese Studies) and Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation Library Travel Grant for 2 weeks research at Leiden University of Asian Studies.
  • 2004–2007 Admission to the Ca’ Foscari University Ph.D. in Oriental Studies. Tutor: Prof. Guido Samarani. Research field: The Chinese Legal System and the Introduction of Private Property in China.
  • 2004–2005 Obtainment of a scholarship for a 10-month master degree sponsored by the Italian Institute of Commerce (ICE) for oriental languages graduates on international trade, followed by a 9 months internship for the Italian sport firm Lotto in Shanghai.
  • 2003–2004 One semester of studies spent at the Sino-Korean school Di Qiu Cun in Beijing.
  • 2002–2003 One semester at the Beijing Language and Culture University (Beijing Yuyuan Xueyuan).
  • 2002 Graduation from University in “Oriental Languages and Civilizations” with a thesis on “Economical and Political Relations between Hong Kong, Taiwan and mainland China”, on the 27th of June, 2002. The final score was: 108/110.

Short Biography

After completing my Ph.D. in the Department of Chinese Studies, Ca' Foscari University of Venice, on the topic of private property in Mainland China, I became research assistant at the Department of Sinology, University of Zürich; since 2012 I hold a permanent position as Teaching and Research Fellow in Greater China Studies at the Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies at the University of Zürich. I am also a research fellow of the European Research Center on Contemporary Taiwan (ERCCT), in Tübingen. For my postdoc research I have spent 14 months in Taiwan between 2011 and 2012 based at Chengchi University but carrying out fieldwork all over Taiwan. The research stay was made possible thanks to two scholarships, one by the Swiss National Foundation (SNSF) and one by the Center for Chinese Studies of Taiwan's National Library.

My postdoc research, which has been published last year by Routledge (see) analyses environmental governance mechanisms and actors in Taiwan through a multi-disciplinary research approach. Based on extensive and original research, the book includes four different case studies, which have all taken place since 2011.

At the University of Zürich I teach several courses related to both China as well as Taiwan's social and political transformations in the past 30 years (BA level) and several courses at MA level in which I make extensive use of Chinese language materials.

Research interests

  • Chinese contemporary society –
  • Law (environmental laws and environmental legal awareness among the general population)
  • Environmental issues (pollution and transboundary air and water problems)in China and Taiwan
  • Green social movements – NGOs (how social movements’ involvement in the policy making process could lead to better enforcement of rules and regulations and push the country towards a more democratic direction).



Grants and Awards

Year 2015

  • Recipient of the Graduate Campus "GRC Short Grants" to sponsor the workshop, Civil Society in Taiwan and Hong Kong: Looking Back and Reaching Out co-organized with Brigit Knüsel and in cooperation with the China Policy Institute at the University of Nottingham. Online at:

Year 2013

  • Recipient of the “Graduate Campus –GRC- Grants & Schools” Grant to sponsor the workshop, The Chinese Communist Party and the Politicization of Traditions, co-organized with Dr. Ralph Weber and Phillip Hectmancyz. Online at:
  • Nomination for the Mercator Award for Junior researchers 2013 as nominee for the philosophical faculty of the University of Zürich

Year 2012

  • Young Scholar Award granted from the European Association of Taiwan Studies (EATS) in June 2012 with the paper " Failure and Successes of the Environmental Movement in Taiwan: Guo Guang Shihua vs. Taipei Dome".(

Year 2011

  • Five-months scholarship awarded by the Center for Chinese Studies (CCS) to carry out fieldwork in Taiwan
  • Fourteen-months scholarship (February 2011 – April 2012) awarded by the Swiss National Foundation (SNF) to carry out fielwork in Taiwan and Hong Kong . The fieldwork has resulted in my forthcoming book: Environmental Governance in Taiwan: A New Generation of Activists and Stakeholders. Online at:

Year 2008

  • European Association for Chinese Studies, Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation Library Travel Grant

Conference papers, public talks and presentations (since 2011)

Year 2015

  • SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies) Book launch: “Continuities and Change in Policies in Taiwan”. Paper by the title “Change and Continuities: Taiwan’s Post-2008 Environmental Policies”. 9 February, London.
  • EATS 2015 (European Association of Taiwan Studies). Paper by the title: “Newly born “Tree-hugging” phenomenon in China and Taiwan: rules’ based participatory approaches”. April 8–10, Krakow.
  • Vienna Taiwan Lecture Series. Paper by the title: “Taiwan’s Post-2008 Environmental Activism”. April 22, Vienna.
  • 2nd World Congress of Taiwan Studies . Presentation of my recent book: “Environmental Governance in Taiwan: A New Generation of Activists and Stakeholders”. June 18–20, London.
  • SOAS Book launch "Environmental Governance in Taiwan: A New Generation of Activists and Stakeholders". December 3, London.

Year 2014

  • Confucius Institute Event. “Environmental and Not in My Backyard (NIMBY) Protests in China”. November 12, Basel. At:
  • SOAS conference Social Movements in Taiwan after 2008. Paper by the title: “The Evolution of the Anti-nuclear movement in Taiwan since 2008”. 16–18 June, London.
  • China Insight Workshop. Paper by the title: “China’s environmental struggle: a focus on air and water problems”.February 11, Olten.

Year 2013

  • UZH Conference New Media, Social Capital and Urban Mobilization in China. Zürich University, Political Science Department. Paper by the title “The role of microblogs in China's recent environmental protests”. February 28 – March 1, Zürich.
  • UZH Conference Political Protests, Social (Non-) Movements and the Role of Digital Media – Ph.D. Workshop. UPRP Asia and Europe. (Keynote speech) “The role of social media for environmental activists in China". April 24, Zürich.
  • 7th SOAS Taiwan Studies Postgraduate Summer School. Centre of Taiwan Studies. Papers by the title: "Nuclear Referendum Issue" and "Environmental Governance in Taiwan". June 19–21. London.
  • EATS 2013. Paper by the title: "Perception of risks towards nuclear energy in Taiwan and Hong Kong". May 2–4. Lyon.

Year 2012

  • EACS 2012, Paper by the title: Nuclear Energy Friend or Foe: the View from Taiwan and Hong Kong.September 4–8. Paris, France.
  • Young Scholar Workshop, ERCCT,  "Environmental governance in Taiwan". June 26–July 1. Blaubeuren-Tübingen.
  • EATS 2012,  Paper by the title: Failure and Successes of the Environmental Movement in Taiwan: Guo Guang Shihua vs. Taipei Dome.June 18–21. Soenderborg, Denmark.
  • UZH Public Event. Ein Jahr nach Fukushima – Die Debatte zu Atomenergie in Asien und Europa (Podiumsdiskussion). March 13. Zürich.

Year 2011

  • Symposium at Taiwan National Library.Paper by the title: 臺灣環保團體的成功與失敗:以國光石化與臺北大巨蛋為例 (Successes and Failures of Taiwan's environmental movement: KPTC vs. Taipei Dome). November 24, Taipei.
  • Assembly for Democracy in Asia, Democracy and Development: challenges for civil society organized by the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy. Title of the speech: “Active participation of youth in democratization”.August 22– 23. Taipei.
  • AAS/ICAS Joint Conference. Paper by the title: Environmental governance in Taiwan: the case of Danshui.March 31–April 3, Honolulu, Hawaii.


Academic memberships

  • AAS (Association for Asian Studies); since 2010
  • EACS (European Association of Chinese Studies); since 2007
  • EATS (European Association of Taiwan Studies); since 2012