Ruilian’s interests are in the various dimensions of resettlement, covering involuntary land acquisition and resettlement, livelihoods, social impact assessment, and the social and environmental risks of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.  He completed his PhD at the National Research Centre for Resettlement (NRCR), Hohai University, China. He has published 11 major technical reports (6 in Chinese, 5 in English), and 17 peer reviewed articles (11 in Chinese, 6 in English).

Ruilian Zhang is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining at UQ’s Sustainable Minerals Institute (SMI).

He is also a member of the International Association of Impact Assessment (IAIA), and the International Network of Displacement and Resettlement (INDR).

Industry Engagement

Ruilian has engaged in industry facing projects through applied research with hydropower developers, government bodies, international lenders, international and bilateral financial organizations. These include the World Bank (WB), Asian Development Bank (ADB), European Investment Bank (EIB), and Appraisal Centre for Environment & Engineering (ACEE) of Ministry of Ecology and Environment, China.


From 2015 to 2017, Ruilian was an assistant supervisor to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects financed by the Appraisal Center for Environment & Engineering (ACEE) of Ministry of Ecology and Environment. His projects in this area include: (i) Environmental Risk Identification of China-Central South Peninsula Economic Corridor, (ii) Strategic Environmental Assessment of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, (iii) Research on the Social Safeguard Policy Framework of “Belt & Road” initiative, and (iv) Environmental and Social Impact Assessment for Foreign Investment in Brazil.

Key Publications

Wang, Yuanni, Hailin Cao, Yingchun Yuan, and Ruilian Zhang. 2020. “Empowerment through Emotional Connection and Capacity Building: Public Participation through Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations.” Environmental Impact Assessment Review. 80 (January).

Peng, Shengping, Guoqing Shi, and Ruilian Zhang.2019. “Social Stability Risk Assessment: Status, Trends and Prospects -a Case of Land Acquisition and Resettlement in the Hydropower Sector.” Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal.

Wang, Han, Guoqing Shi, Ruilian Zhang, Junzhuo Xu, and Ziheng Shangguan.2019. “Risk Perceptions and Mining-Induced Displacement and Resettlement: A Case Study from Anhui Province, China.” Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal.

Zhang, Ruilian, Guoqing Shi, Yuanni Wang, Si Zhao, Shafiq Ahmad, Xiaochen Zhang, and Qucheng Deng. 2018. Social impact assessment of investment activities in the China–Pakistan economic corridor. Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal. 36:4, 331-347, DOI: 10.1080/14615517.2018.1465227.

Zhang, Ruilian, Francis Andam, and Guoqing Shi. 2017. Environmental and social risk evaluation of overseas investment under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment. 189: 253. DOI: 10.1007/s10661-017-5967-6.