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Tai Ming Cheung Appointed New Director of UC Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC)

Cheung will follow the footsteps of Susan Shirk, a leading China expert, and UC San Diego founding Chancellor Herbert F. York

Tai Ming Cheung is director of the University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC). Cheung also is a professor at the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IR/PS) at UC San Diego.

Tai Ming Cheung has been appointed director of the University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC), a multi-campus research unit (MRU) located on the campus of the University of California, San Diego. IGCC focuses on security and nuclear proliferation and examines how policy affects the state of conflict and peace.  

Cheung joined IGCC upon his arrival at UC San Diego in 2004. Cheung is a professor at the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IR/PS) at UC San Diego. He is a longtime analyst of Chinese and East Asian defense and national security affairs, especially defense economic, industrial,science and technological issues. He has played a major role at IGCC in creating the largest research program on the study of Chinese technology and innovation policies in the U.S., which includes collaborating with a number of leading Chinese institutions. Cheung’s latest book, “Fortifying China: The Struggle to Build a Modern Defense Economy,” was published by Cornell University Press in 2009.

“I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Tai Ming Cheung as director of the University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation,” said Sandra A. Brown, UC San Diego’s vice chancellor for research. “Professor Cheung has helped IGCC to move in important new directions. He has brought together scholars throughout the UC system with their counterparts from China and other leading research centers around the world, cementing IGCC’s reputation as a global center for excellence.”

Established in 1983 by nuclear physicist and UC San Diego founding Chancellor Herbert F. York, IGCC’s original emphasis on security and nuclear nonproliferation remains at its core, but its agenda has broadened with time. Today, IGCC researchers study a wide range of topics that include traditional and non-traditional security, the environment, economic development, technology and innovation, and regional diplomacy that shape the ability to prevent conflict and promote cooperation.

Cheung is replacing Susan Shirk, one of the world’s leading China experts and Ho Miu Lam Professor of China and Pacific Relations at the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IR/PS) at UC San Diego.

“It is a distinct privilege to follow in the footsteps of Susan Shirk and IGCC’s founder Herb York to lead one of the premier think-tanks in the UC system and also in the U.S. in examining the most vital questions of war and peace that confront us today and in the future,” Cheung said. “From China’s rise as a world power to finding ways to mitigate conflict through active dialogue on the Korean Peninsula and training the next generation of nuclear policy experts, IGCC offers innovative and policy-relevant insights by tapping into the deep reservoir of faculty at UC San Diego and throughout the UC system.”

Cheung also currently leads the institute’s Study of Technology and Innovation (SITC) project. A key component of SITC is a U.S. Defense Department Minerva Initiative project that examines China’s efforts to become a world-class science and technology power.

“I couldn’t be more happy about Dr. Tai Ming Cheung succeeding me as director of IGCC,” said Shirk. “Our founder, the late Dr. Herb York, would have been thrilled with the choice because like Herb himself, Tai Ming combines a deep knowledge of technology, international security and the Asia-Pacific region. Tai Ming is a world-renowned expert on scientific and technological innovation and its ramifications for international security, particularly in China and other Asian countries. Thanks to his entrepreneurial and managerial gifts, he has launched a number of IGCC’s most productive and impactful projects.”

Moving forward, Cheung plans to build active research partnerships with more UC campuses and work to ensure IGCC is a leader in the major debates over policy as global security dynamics shift, focusing specifically on the Pacific region and to implications of new technologies. In addition to reinforcing ties to both Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos national laboratories, Cheung plans to build on IGCC’s success in funding doctoral research for the UC system and linking students’ research to the IGCC mission.          

Shirk served as IGCC’s director dating to the early 1990s and now she is director emeritus of IGCC and chair of the IGCC International Advisory Board. 

“My long service at IGCC has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my career,”  Shirk said. “I continue to be deeply committed to the Institute’s mission of producing great research by UC faculty and students that will contribute to preventing devastating military conflict.  As director emeritus, I look forward to continuing to lead projects and serving as chair of the institute’s new advisory committee.”

For more information on IGCC, go to

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