Zheng Wang has secured a British Academy/Leverhulme Trust small research grant to look at the Gravity of Talent. In this two-year project, beginning summer 2020, Zheng plans to investigate the patterns and determinants of global talent flows. And to use rigorous evidence to inform immigration and business environment policies of governments (especially the UK in a post/Brexit era) for attracting and retaining the most talented individuals as a drive for sustainable economic growth in this challenging time.

The research will investigate the patterns and determinants of global talent flows through the lens of international business-class travels. These travellers in general possess exceptionally high levels of physical and/or human capital and are often at the forefront of identifying new business opportunities and pushing knowledge boundaries. The analysis will be based on a uniquely rich airport-to-airport-level global passenger flow database allowing for the tracking of full journey of air passengers of different cabin classes. It will depict a dynamic picture of the popularity of international business travel destinations, followed by an in-depth examination of the driving forces behind the gravity of top-class business travels. Findings from this research will have rich practical implications, in particular for countries’ talent and immigration policies. A special discussion will be held about the United Kingdom which is set to reposition itself to attract talent and enhance productivity in a changing and challenging international environment.