Four research projects receive Academic Research Grant from the Cultural Affairs Bureau

Date of publication: 28/10/2020
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In order to encourage the development of original academic research on Macao’s culture and on the exchanges between Macao, Mainland China and other countries, the Cultural Affairs Bureau (IC) has set up the Academic Research Grant programme in 1988, and has been continuously improving the awarding process of the Grant. Over the past three decades, the Bureau has awarded grants to around 160 research projects, which resulted in the publication of several monographs, with the aim of promoting cultural exchange between Macao, Mainland China and other countries. After an evaluation process, four research projects by local and overseas scholars received the 2020 Academic Research Grant. 

In order to ensure the integrity and impartiality of the selection process and in accordance with the Academic Research Grant Regulations, IC has charged the Institute for Social and Cultural Research of the Macau University of Science and Technology to organize a panel of experts in order to carry out an anonymous review of the applications and to provide academic comments to the Selection Panel. The Selection Panel was composed by the Vice President of the Cultural Affairs Bureau, Leong Wai Man; the Chair Professor of the Macau University of Science and Technology, Tang Kaijian; the Distinguished Professor of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities of the University of Macau, Zhu Shoutong; the editor-in-chief of South China Quarterly of the University of Macau, Tian Weiping; and the Acting Head of the Division of Research and Publications of IC, Ng Mei Kun. After seeking advice from professionals and in-depth discussion, the Panel selected four research projects out of the 27 applications for this year’s Grant, namely: 

1. “Catalogue of Macao Shipping 1700–1833” by Paul Arthur Van Dyke, a PhD degree holder in History from the University of Southern California and now a professor at the Sun Yat-sen University. The project will present the data of more than 1,000 ships that travelled to and from Macao between 1700 and 1833, including ship names, tonnages, countries, captains, owners, ports of call, and destinations, as well as details about the imports to Macao between 1766 and 1807. The project will give more detailed knowledge of the movement of the Portuguese and Spanish ships and, to a large extent, build a much more complete picture of Macao’s maritime activities. Ships were the main means of transportation in this period and not only Portuguese merchants, governors and missionaries, but also Armenians, Jews and other Europeans and Middle East merchants travelled to and from Macao by ship. By studying the data on shipping in Macao, the project will further reveal the history of Macao’s foreign trade, as well as more detailed and reliable information about the interconnection between Macao and abroad.

2. “Studies on Immigrants in Macao after 1999” by Zhou Daming, a PhD degree holder in Ethnology from the Sun Yat-sen University and now a professor at the same university. This project will focus on the social interaction and inter-ethnic relations among the immigrant communities in Macao after China resumed its administration over the region in 1999, as well as on the implementation of the Greater Bay Area development plan, environmental changes at the international level, in order to study the relationship between the immigrants and the city’s development during different periods of time. The project will be conducted primarily through fieldwork to obtain a general idea of the immigrant communities, such as their formation process. Through the observations of ethnic recognition at different levels, the project will delve into the core culture of Macao as an immigrant city, reveal the motivations of immigration to Macao, and explore the reasons why immigrants are generally accepted into the local society as well as the impacts of economic and social changes on immigrants after the handover.

3. “Studies on Macao’s Public Finance in Modern Times (1844–1911)” by Zhao Xinliang, a PhD holder in History from the University of Macau and now an assistant researcher at the Guangzhou Encyclopedia Research Centre. The project will delve into the changes and development of the Portuguese administration’s financial systems in Macao during the city’s transformation between 1844 and 1911, and their relations with the city’s cultural exchanges with Mainland China and other countries. Based on financial theories, the project will sort out Macao’s fiscal policies, sources and the use of tax revenues in modern times and examine the revenue sources of the former Portuguese government and its financial status for an in-depth analysis of Macao’s economic structures in different periods. The project will also analyze how the Sino-Portuguese relationship affected the Portuguese administration’s policies on financial and economic development in Macao. By studying the financial issues, the research also discusses the government’s policies regarding the management of the commercial environment and its internal operation, paving way for an analysis of the city’s social and urban development during this period. Besides, the project will explore issues related to the administrative management of and taxes levied by Macao government in  areas  outside the old territory of Macao, Taipa, Coloane and other places, in order to reveal the truth and objectives of Portugal’s colonization in Macao.

4. “Macau, do oceano aos arquivos. Documentação sobre Macau e as suas rotas marítimas do século XIX em arquivos no oceano Índico” (Macao, from the Ocean to Archives — Literature about Macao and Its Shipping Routes in the 19th Century in the Archives of Indian Ocean Countries) by Pedro Manuel Sobral Pombo, a PhD degree holder in Anthropology from the ISCTE, Instituto Universitário de Lisboa and now an assistant professor at the Goa University in India. Based on the archives of certain Indian Ocean countries, as well as documents and traces about Macao’s indentured labourers (known as coolies) and the shipping routes in the 19th century, the project will study the Macao-related historical records in the archives from the perspectives of ethnography and contemporary cultural anthropology to investigate the trafficking of Macao’s coolies and the shipping routes in that period, using a different approach from the conventional methodologies applied for historical and archival studies. The study will complete the lack of Macao’s historical studies on the maritime routes in the Indian Ocean, which stands in stark contrast with the abundance of studies on the Pacific routes.

For details of the Academic Research Grant Regulations and the list of the grantees, please visit IC’s website at For enquiries, please contact IC through tel. no. 85986738 during office hours or by email to