The Cairncross Economic Research Foundation was established in 2007 in tribute to the late Sir Alec Cairncross (1911-1998) who made important contributions to Chinese economic policymaking, training of Chinese economists and the development of contemporary Chinese Studies in the United Kingdom. The Cairncross Economic Research Foundation is registered at the Beijing Civil Affairs Bureau in November 2007.

Sir Alec Cairncross was a distinguished UK government official, international public servant and academic of world renown. The positions he held included: founding Director of the World Bank’s Economic Development Institute (1954-57); Economic Advisor to the British Government (1961-64); Head of the UK Government Economic Service (1964-69); Master of St. Peter’s College, Oxford (1968-70); Chancellor of Glasgow University (1972-96) and President of the Royal Economic Society (1968-70). He advised senior Chinese policymakers on their economic reforms in the 1980s under the auspices of the World Bank. Although not a China specialist himself, Sir Alec devoted much of the last decade of his life to the promotion of teaching and research on contemporary Chinese social sciences at Oxford where he was instrumental in developing a programme to train Chinese government and academic economists in modern western macroeconomic management so that they could return to China and contribute to the market reform process.

The Foundation has received generous benefactions from leading Chinese and international corporations, including China Construction Bank, China International Capital Corporation, CINDA Securities, CITIC Securities, Bank of America and China Vanke Corporation Limited. 

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