The Bartlett School of Planning


Re-orienting development: The dynamics and effects of Chinese infrastructure investment in Europe

23 November 2022, 5:30 pm–7:00 pm

Shanghai Viaduct

The OMEGA Centre is pleased to invite all to the second seminar in the 2022/23 programme.

Event Information

Open to





Hanadi Samhan


14 Upper Woburn Place
United Kingdom

REDEFINE examines what China’s rise means for how we understand global development and, specifically, Europe’s place in it. It is a €2.5 million research project funded by the European Research Council (ERC) to examine the rationale behind Chinese investments in Europe. After 15 years of ‘going out’ to access raw materials and new markets, often in the Global South, China began making assertive moves into the infrastructure sectors of developed economies, boosted by its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). At the same time, many European economies stagnated following the 2008 Global Financial Crisis with governments cutting infrastructure investment and seeking alternative sources of finance. The 2013-16 period saw China investing heavily across Europe and while investment has reduced since, it is likely to remain important especially after a new EU-China Investment Agreement was signed in December 2020.

While China views Europe as fertile ground for infrastructure investment, many European firms and governments are ill-equipped and inadequately informed to deal with these political and economic changes. REDEFINE takes a disaggregated approach to unpack project-by-project effects through comparative case studies in Germany, Greece, Hungary, and the United Kingdom. The research project produces fine-grained analysis to understand the rationales for Chinese investment in Europe, the geopolitical dynamics surrounding these financing streams, the structuring of projects, and how they interface with national and local development policy. By better understanding how investment deals operate, REDEFINE connects Chinese and European government and corporate actors to influence their strategies and practices. This research is funded by an Advanced Grant from the ERC.

The event will be streamed online via Zoom: https://ucl.zoom.us/j/97075620661

Further details about the OMEGA Seminar Programme. 

For enquiries and to join the mailing list, please contact Samhan, Hanadi (email: hanadi.samhan.18@ucl.ac.uk).

About the Speaker

Dr Samuel Rogers


Dr Samuel Rogers has a PhD in political economy from the University of Bristol. His principal research to-date has been on the changing dimensions of political economies in post-socialist Europe, with special attention to Hungary and Serbia. His book Hungarian Authoritarian Populism and State-business Relations Since 2010 (Routledge, forthcoming 2023) examines the development of the Hungarian political economy with special empirical attention to investment flows from China and Russia into critical infrastructure projects. Theoretically, this work draws on the oeuvre of Stuart Hall, finding his term ‘authoritarian populism’ an appropriate signifier for contemporary Hungarian development. Samuel is currently a Post-doctoral Research Associate at The Open University where he is part of a group of academics working on the REDEFINE project. He has held visiting positions at the Central European University (Budapest/Vienna), Columbia University (New York), and the Higher School of Economics (Moscow).

REDEFINE is a 5-year, €2.5 million research project funded by the European Research Council (ERC), which began in November 2020. Its Principal Investigator is Professor Giles Mohan from The Open University.  The REDEFINE project is structured around 3 broad themes: Theme 1: Driving - Understanding the motives for China’s move westwards and Europe’s infrastructure needs.  Theme 2: Gathering - Understanding the multi-scaled modalities of infrastructure projects China’s involvement in Europe involving state-sponsored investment vehicles and corporations plus private sources of investment that tend to be less regulated. Theme 3: Understanding the outcomes and reactions to Chinese investment in light of recent EU policy acknowledgement that the regulation of Chinese investments is critical given a range of concerns around associated financial probity, security, intellectual property and standards. Linked to analyzing regulation are other outcomes which REDEFINE aims to assess, including issues of economic localization, regulation, political resistance, and broader changes in identity.