Since its inception in 2011, the Centre for Rising Powers (CRP) has thrived as an interdisciplinary research institute that investigates the structural transformation of global order when new countries rise to power. Its core research mission is to investigate how new powers rise, how they might be accommodated, and what impact these interactions generate on systemic stability.
Under the directorship of Dr Kun-Chin Lin, CRP has responded to the academic, government and corporate demand for critically examining the classification of rising powers in the changing global order. Traditional realist thinking in international relations maps nations onto a power hierarchy based on aggregate national economic and military capabilities, and focuses on behavioural predictions on conflict and cooperation. However, the very nature of rising powers is that they create additional ideational dynamism and systemic risks for other strategic actors, as their identity is changing along with their growing influence and their enhanced capacity to shape outcomes. Harnessing rising powers' revisionist and transformative potentials to support collective progress is the single most important challenge in global governance.
The Centre for Rising Powers proposed a working concept for rising powers that is characterised by three dynamic markers:
- Countries with issue-area or regional preponderance of influence (rather than power narrowly construed)
- A national leadership with aspirations for a global role (not limited to the state), including an expressed commitment to provide public goods for the global commons
- A sustained source of developmental, foreign policy and institutional innovations that contest the existing paradigms, power structure and institutional forms of international politics and markets
Four research and impact programmes have been developed in conjunction with this dynamic concept of rising powers:
The research programmes are directed by leading Cambridge scholars with regional and sectoral expertise, and hosted in the Department of Politics & International Studies (POLIS). We aim to generate in-depth case studies of rising powers with issue-area or regional preponderance of influence, who seek to provide public goods for the global commons that constitute the basis of multilateral, multicultural, and public-private partnered governance solutions to major crises in international politics and global market. Research at the Centre promotes values of efficiency, fairness, and justice in the global order.
CRP has organised more than forty events since its inauguration in 2011, including talks by prominent academics and practitioners such as Joseph Nye, Barry Eichengreen, Miles Kahler, Rajah Rasiah, Sir Tony Brenton, Lord Jim O’Neill, and Sir Richard Dearlove. Recent CRP-sponsored conferences covered topics of the Paris climate change accord, maritime law and security in Asia, and adaptive leadership in sustainable development. CRP has provided expert opinions for DFID, The House of Lords, Chatham House, major London banks and investment firms, foreign governments and militaries, and civil societal stakeholders.