Image of Dr Ruby ChauDr Chui-Man (Ruby) Chau

Marie Curie Research Fellow

PhD (Sheffield), MA in Advanced Social Work Policy and Practice (Sheffield)


Telephone: 0114 222 6486 (external), 26486 (internal)
Room: Elmfield, 110


Ruby started her current position as Marie Curie Research Fellow on 1 October 2016. This two-year fellowship is funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 - Research and Innovation Framework Programme. It involves a research project aiming to explore the effects of social investment perspective on women and to identify effective work-family reconciliation measures in fostering social inclusion of women in the labour market and the family. It adopts a mixed method approach to compare the social investment perspective in the work-family reconciliation measures in five European and two East Asian countries (Sweden, Germany, Hungary, the UK, France, Hong Kong and Korea); and examines its relationship with women’s participation in the production and reproduction spheres.

Before taking up this fellowship, Ruby was a Lecturer in Sociology/Social Work (2001- 2008) and a Visiting Scholar (2014-2016) in the Department; and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Work and Administration at the University of Hong Kong (2009-2011).

Ruby has taken part in 17 funded research projects in the UK, Hong Kong and China in a number of areas, including welfare mix for adults with learning difficulties, social exclusion and women, health and social care needs of older Chinese migrants, involvement of older people in policy and practice. Her publications include 29 articles in prestigious refereed journals, six peer reviewed book chapters and five research monographs.

Ruby's international research experience has inspired her to reconsider the cultural relevance of conventional welfare theories to non-Western welfare systems. Since 2011, she has been working with an international team comprising researchers from Hong Kong, Sheffield, Taiwan and Shanghai to conduct a series of researches to examine the similarities and differences between East Asian and European welfare systems. Based on empirical data deriving from various defamilisation indexes, they argue that East Asian and European welfare systems are facing many similar challenges; and the current classifications of welfare regimes may not fully reflect their characteristics. Ruby's current Marie Curie research fellowship enables her to develop further the theoretical framework on defamilisation and study the effects of defamilisation measures on women’s labour participation and their later stages of life.

In the UK, Ruby has been working with ethnic minorities communities (the Chinese community in particular) since 1997 to explore the social exclusion they faced in health and social care and to search for the development of culturally sensitive policy and practice. By acknowledging the heterogeneity within these communities, she works with researchers and practitioners in the field to explore barriers to culturally sensitive practice and to identify feasible approaches to accommodate the diverse needs of these groups. Based on the research findings, four approaches to culturally sensitive practice in the provision of health care services have been proposed, namely the Mainstream Services (MS), Shared Cultural Knowledge (SCK), Diversity Based (DB) and Knowledge Transfer (KT) approaches. The work has been so well received by academics and practitioners that the team has been invited to produce policy briefing papers for national health organisations, to present their ideas and join in discussion at professional and academic events.

Ruby feels very privileged to have been trained as a social scientist and pursue her research career at the University of Sheffield. By co-working with Professor Alan Walker, she has recently initiated the Social Policy and Inclusive Development Research Network (SPID-net). The aim is to provide a platform for colleagues from different departments in the campus to develop research on social policy in a comparative perspective and to promote cross-continental knowledge exchange between East Asia and Europe (and the UK in particular). Ruby welcomes research collaboration with colleagues from different countries and disciplines, who have similar research interests and share her passion to improve people’s lives through research and advocacy.


Ruby's main research interests are comparative social policy in Europe and East Asia, defamilisation, social exclusion, welfare mix, culturally sensitive policy and practice in health and social care.

Funded Research Projects
Date Sponsor Details
2016 - 2018 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, European Commission PI (Research Fellow), ‘Social investment perspective in work-family reconciliation measures in Europe and East Asia’, EUR195,454.
2015 - 2016 Faculty Research Grant, Hong Kong Baptist University CI (with W K Yu, L Foster and S Su), ‘Staying part of the Family: Transnational Defamilisation/Familisation Measures of Chinese Older People in Britain’, HKD5,000.
2015 - 2016 Lai Yin Association PI (with Z Li and V Wong), ‘Health and Social Care Needs of Chinese Women in Sheffield’.
2009 - 2011 Contemporary China SRT Account, The University of Hong Kong CI (with J Leung, W Lou, Y C Wong and research partners in China) "Impact of Social Exclusion in urban China".
2009 - 2010 Seed Funding Programme, The University of Hong Kong PI (with W K Yu), ‘Flexicurity and Youth Unemployment – a Pilot Study of Youth employment Policies in Hong Kong’, HKD180,000.
2008 - 2009 Keymeida and Huiling Guangzhou CI (with W K Yu), ‘An Evaluative Study of the Development of Education of Mentally Disabled Youth in Guangzhou’, HKD20,000.
2006 - 2007 Hong Kong Council of Social Service PI, ‘Involvement of Older People in Policy Discussion – An Internal Evaluative Study of the Hong Kong Older People Policy Monitoring Consortium’, HKD10,000.
2003 - 2005 Joseph Rowntree Foundation PI (with A Walker and W K Yu), ‘Shared Expectations, Shared Commitments – An Action and Evaluative Study of the Joint Statement Approach in Involving Chinese Older People’, GBP76,063.
2002 - 2003 City University of Hong Kong CI (with A Yeung and W K Yu) ‘Extended Study on Inclusion and Exclusion of Women in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in Hong Kong HKD200,000.
2001 - 2003 Community Health Sheffield PI (with K Gerrish and A Sobowale) ‘Crossing the Language Barrier in Health: Investigating Interpreting Services in Primary Care Nursing in Sheffield’, GBP8,000.
2001 City University of Hong Kong CI (with A Yeung and W K Yu) ‘Inclusion and Exclusion of Women in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in Hong Kong, HKD90,306.
1997 - 2000 Joseph Rowntree Foundation CI (with A Walker and W K Yu), ‘Social Care Needs for Chinese Older People in Britain’, GBP77,684.
1995 - 2000 Commonwealth Scholarship PI (3 year full time PhD study) ‘Welfare Mix in Socialist China: A Case Study of Occupational Therapy Stations in Guangzhou’, The University of Sheffield, GBP40,000 approximately.
1998 Lai Yin Association and Sheffield Health CI (with W K Yu) ‘Needs of Chinese Women for Health and Social Services in Sheffield’, GBP1,000.
1994 - 1997 City University of Hong Kong CI (with M L Wu and W K Yu) ‘The Normative Basis of Family Care in Beijing’, HKD90,000.
1994 - 1995 City University of Hong Kong CI (with K K Fung, K Y Lau and H L Mok) ‘The Impact of the Regulatory Measures on Bedspace Apartments in Hong Kong’,: HKD45,000.
1994 - 1995 City University of Hong Kong CI (with W K Yu) Research on ‘The Application of the Shared Care Approach in Occupational Therapy Stations in Guangzhou’,: HKD40,000


Ruby's major teaching subjects are social divisions, social inequality, social research methods, comparative social policy in Europe and East Asia. She also supervises undergraduate and postgraduate dissertations.

Postgraduate supervision

Ruby has supervised postgraduate research projects in the following areas: community care in Taiwan, disability policy in China, higher education in China, urban migration in China.

To find out more about our PhD programmes, go to:
Studying for a PhD in Sociology

To apply for a place and for the scholarship, go to:


Journal articles

Yu, W.K.; Foster, L.; Chau, C.M. and Wong, M.Y. (forthcoming) Identifying Defamilisation/Femisation Measures to Assist Women to Save Pension Income and Strengthen the Adult Worker Model - the Case of Hong Kong, Asian Social Work and Policy Review.

Foster, L.; Chau, C.M. and Yu, W.K. (forthcoming) The Impact of Defamilisation Measures on gender and pensions: A comparison between the Uk and seven other European countires. Journal of Poverty and Social Justice.

Chau, C. M.; Foster, L.; Yu, W.K. and Yu, Y.P. (forthcoming) Defamilisation/Familisation Measures and Pension Income for Women - the case of Taiwan. Asian Social Work and Policy Review. doi:10.1111/aswp.12118.

Chau, C. M.; Yu, W. K. and Boxall, K. (2017) Combating Social Exclusion Faced by Disabled People in the Wage Labour Market in Hong Kong. Social Policy and Society. doi:10.1017/S147474641700032X

Chau, C. M., Foster, L. and Yu, W. K. (2017) Defamilisation and Leave policies – a Comparative Study of 14 East Asian and non-East Asian Countries. Journal of Asian Public Policy. doi:10.1080/17516234.2017.1322286

Chau, C. M.; Yu, W. K.; Foster, L. and Lau, M. (2017) Defamilisation Measures and Women’s Labour Force Participation – a Comparative Study of Twelve Countries. Journal of International and Comparative Social Policy, 33(1):73-86. doi:10.1080/21699763.2017.1288157

Chau, C. M., Foster, L., & Yu, S. (2017). The Effects of Defamilisation and Familisation Measures on the Accumulation of Retirement Income for Women in the UK. Journal of Women and Aging. doi:10.1080/08952841.2016.1256737

Chau, C.R. Foster, L. and Yu, S. (2016) 'Defamilisation and familisation measures – can they reduce the adverse effects of pro-market pension reforms on women in Hong Kong and the UK?' Critical Social Policy, 36(2): 205-224. doi:10.1177/0261018315621989.

Yu, W K; Chau, C M, Lee KM (2015) Using Defamilisation Typologies to Study the Confucian Welfare Regime, Journal of International and Comparative Social Policy, 31(1): 74-93.

Chau C M, Yu W K, Law S F (2014) Culturally Sensitive Health Care Services for Chinese People in Britain, Journal of Ethnic And Cultural Diversity in Social Work, 23(3-4): 256-270.

Chau, R. C. M., Yu, S. W. K. and Law, C. S. F. (2014). The Usefulness of the Political Economy Perspective to the Analysis of Social Welfare in Hong Kong – A Case Study of the Retirement Protection Measures. Taiwan United Way Review, 3 (1): 101-117.

Yu, W K; Chau, C M; Boxall, K and Chung, C Y (2014) Looking to the East and the West: The Double-Attachment Strategy used by the Hong Kong Government to develop Welfare to Work Measures for Lone Parents, Journal of International and Comparative Social Policy, 30(2):93-106.

Chau, C. M. and Yu W. K. (2013). Defamilisation of 22 countries – Its Implications for the Study of East Asian Welfare Regime. Social Policy and Society, Vol. 12 (3), p. 355-367.

Chau C M, Yu W K (2012) Understanding the Diverse Health Needs of Chinese People in Britain and Developing Culturally Sensitive Services, Journal of Social Work, 12:385-403.

Chau, C. M. and Yu W. K. (2011) Studying the Ethnocentric Bias in the Comparative Studies of Social Welfare, Development and Society, 40(2): 173-194, 2011.

Chau C M, Yu W K (2011) Ethnocentric Bias in the Comparative Study of Social Welfare – The Case of Welfare Reforms in Hong Kong, Journal of Comparative Social Welfare, 27(3):233-42.

Chau C M, Yu W K and Tran, L (2011) The Diversity Based Approach to Culturally Sensitive Practices, International Social Work, 54:21-33.

Chau C M, Yu W K and Tran, L (2011b) Understanding the Diverse Health Needs of Chinese People in Britain and Developing Cultural Sensitive Services, Journal of Social Work, 12(4): 385-403.

Chau C M and Yu W K (2010) The Sensitivity of United Kingdom Health-care Services to the Diverse Needs of Chinese-origin Older People, Ageing and Society, 30(3): 383-401.

Chau C M and Yu W K (2009) Social Quality and Social Harmony Campaign in Hong Kong, Development and Society, 38(2): 277-295.

Chau C M and Yu W K (2009) Cultural Sensitive Approach to Health and Social Care: Uniformity and Diversity with the Chinese Community in Britain, International Social Work, 52(6): 773–784.

Chau C M (2009) Socialism and Social Dimension of Work – Employment Policies on Disabled Groups in China, Hong Kong Journal of Social Work, 43(1): 19–29.

Payne S, Chapman A, Holloway M, Seymour J and Chau C M (2005) ‘Chinese Community Views: Promoting Cultural Competence in Palliative Care’, Journal of Palliative Care, 21(2): 111-6.

Yeung A, Chau C M and Yu W K (2004) ‘Managing Social Exclusion – The Strategies Used by Managerial Women in Hong Kong and Guangzhou', International Social Work, 47(4): 503-13.

Yeung A, Chau C M and Yu W K (2004) The Strategies Used by the Chinese Managerial Women to Cope with Social Exclusion, Asian Women, 18: 101-22.

Gerrish K, Chau, C M, Sobowale A and Birks E ( 2004), 'Bridging the Language Barriers: the Use of Interpreters in Primary Care Nursing', Health and Social Care in the Community, 12(5): 407-13.

Chau C M and Yu W K (2003) 'Marketisation and Residualisation - Recent Reforms in the Medical Financing system in Hong Kong', Social Policy and Society, 2(3): 199-207.

Chau C M and Yu WK (2002) 'Coping with Social Exclusion: Experiences of Chinese Women in Three Societies', Asian Women, 14: 103-27.

Chau C M and Yu W K (2001) ‘Making Welfare Subordinate to Market Activities: Reconstructing Social Security in Hong Kong and Mainland China’, European Journal of Social Work, 4(3): 291-301.

Chau C M and Yu W K (2001) ‘Social Exclusion of Chinese People in Britain’, Critical Social Policy, 21(1): 103-125.

Chau C M and Yu W K (1999) ‘Social Welfare and Economic Development in China and Hong Kong’, Critical Social Policy, 19(1): 87-107.

Chau C M and Yu W K (1998) ‘Occupational Therapy Stations in China: Economic Integration or Economic Stratification for People with Learning Difficulties, International Social Work, 41(1): 7-21.

Yu W K and Chau C M (1997) ‘The Sexual Division of Care in China and Hong Kong’, International Urban and Regional Research, 21(4): 607-619.

Chau C M and Yu W K (1996) ‘Examination of the Occupational Therapy Stations in Guangzhou with Reference to the Shared Care Approach’, Hong Kong Journal of Social Work, XXX(2): 18-24.

Chau C M (1995) ‘The Functions of Negative Aspects of Welfare in Capitalist Societies: A Case Study of Temporary Accommodation for the Homeless in Britain and Housing Policy for Small Households in Hong Kong’ International Social Work, 38: 87-102.

Book chapters

Chau, C M (2012) ‘Adulthood: Some Comparative and International Perspectives’ in K Lyons, T Hokenstad, M Pawar, N Huegler and N Hall, Sage Handbook of International Social Work, London: Sage.pp.358-71.

Chau C M and Yu, W K (2011) ‘Is Welfare UnAsian – A Brief Discussion of the Development of Welfare in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan’ in C K Wong (ed), East Asian Welfare Systems: the Role of Globalisation, Culture and Government, Beijing: Chinese Society Press. (in Chinese)

Boxall, K; Warren, L and Chau C M (2007) ‘User Involvement’ in S M Hodgson and Z Irving (eds), Policy Reconsidered: Meaning, Politics and Practices, Bristol: The Policy Press.

Chau, C M and Yu, W K (2005) ‘Is Welfare UnAsian: The Case Study of Hong Kong and Mainland China’, in A. Walker and C. K. Wong (eds), East Asian Welfare Regimes in Transition, Bristol: The Policy Press.

Chau, C M and Yu, W K (2004) ‘Pragmatism, Globalism and Culturalism: Health Pluralism of Chinese People in Britain’ in I. Shaw and K. Kauppinen (eds) The Definition and Construction of Health and Illness: European Perspectives, Aldershot: Ashgate Press.

Chau, C M and Yu, W K (2000) ‘From Double Attachment to Double Detachment: Chinese Older People in Britain’ in Care Services for Later Life: Transformation and Critiques, M. Nolan, L. Warren and A. Warne (eds), London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Scholarly monographs

Chau, C M and Wu, S (2011) (eds) I Want a Job - An Exploration of Youth Employment Issues in Hong Kong, Hong Kong: The University of Hong Kong (in Chinese).

Chau, C M (2008) Health Experiences of Chinese People in the UK, A Racial Equality Foundation Briefing Paper, London: Race Equality Foundation.

Chau, C M (2007) The Involvement of Chinese Older people: Aspirations and Expectations, Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Chau, C M, Yu, W K and Cheung, P W (2002) Report of ‘Shared Expectations, Shared Commitments – National Conference on Chinese Older People’, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, University of Sheffield (in Chinese and English).

Chau, C M and Yu, W K (1999) Survey Report on the Health and Social Needs of Chinese Women in Sheffield, Lai Yin Association, Sheffield, March (in Chinese and English).