School of Sociology and Social Policy

Image of Chui Man (Ruby) Chau

Chui Man (Ruby) Chau

Associate Professor in Public and Social Policy, Faculty of Social Sciences



Dr Ruby Chau joined the School of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Nottingham in October 2018. She was a Marie Curie Research Fellow at the University of Sheffield from 2016 to 2018. Before then, she had been an Assistant Professor at the University of Hong Kong and a Lecturer at the University of Sheffield. She received her undergraduate and postgraduate social work training in Hong Kong and Sheffield respectively. She studied social policy for her PhD with a Commonwealth Scholarship and was awarded the degree by the University of Sheffield in 2001.

ORCID ID 0000-0003-3118-4669

Expertise Summary

Dr Chau is an experienced international social researcher. She has been involved in more than 20 funded research projects in Asian and European countries. Her research specialism is in comparative welfare study, East Asian welfare systems, defamilisation/familisation, and social inclusion of women in the labour market and the family. She was the principal investigator of the European Commission funded project 'Social Investment Perspective in Work-family Reconciliation measures in Europe and East Asia' (SIPEA, Grant no. 708305), 2016-2018. In her PhD study, she was awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship to research the welfare mix for adults with learning difficulties in socialist China.

In the UK, she has a long-established reputation in the study of cultural sensitivity of health and social care for older migrants. By adopting a community-based approach, she has worked closely with Chinese community groups and other stakeholders in different cities to engage Chinese older migrants in the co-production and co-design of culturally sensitive services. She was the Consultant of the project 'Leading the Way: towards an age-friendly Sheffield', 2018 - 2021. The project was funded by the Age Better in Sheffield and developed in light of the Age-friendly City framework of the World Health Organisation.

Dr Chau is active in both the academic community and the voluntary sector. She is a Co-editor of Society and Social Policy (2021-2025) and a member of the editorial board of International Social Work and Journal of Women and Aging. She was an executive member and the lead of the Teaching and Learning Portfolio of the Social Policy Association (2019-2022). She is a registered social worker in Hong Kong (Cat. 1, No. 15596) and has been an honorary adviser and a trustee for local charities in Hong Kong and the UK for many years. In 2017, she was shortlisted as one of the top 10 promising scientists in the category of Contributing to a Better Society under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Prizes. She has been a visiting scholar at reputable academic and non-academic institutions in various countries, including the Centre for European Policy Studies in Brussels, the Korean Labour Institute in Sejong City and the Central Policy Unit in Hong Kong.

Teaching Summary

Teaching responsibilities:

  • Policy Analysis - concepts and theories (PG) - Module Convenor
  • Research Method and Research Management (PG) - Seminar Leader
  • State, Business, and Civil Society: Policy Decisions in Low and Middle-Income Countries (PG) -Module Convenor
  • Dissertation in MPA, MAPP, MAISP and MASSR (PG) - Supervisor
  • Dissertation in Sociology/Social Policy/Criminology (UG) - Supervisor

Previously taught subjects:

  • Ageing and global policy response
  • Anti-oppressive social work practice
  • Comparative welfare study
  • East-Asian welfare systems
  • Problem-based social work practice
  • Qualitative research methods
  • Social divisions and social equalities
  • Welfare Policy

Current PhD supervision:

  • Education and employment of people with visual impairment in China
  • Financial well-being of older people in Indonesia
  • Labour participation of mothers of young children in Kazakhstan

Enquiries on PhD supervision from potential candidates who share similar research interests and academic vision are welcome.

Research Summary

Co-investigator (with N Alabbas, C Bunce, E Cameron, A Dangelo and L Steel), 'The Current and Future State of Social Policy Teaching in UK HEIs', Social Policy Association, UK, 2021-2022.

Recent Publications

My new book Women, Welfare and Productivism in East Asia and Europe is available to pre-order from Policy Press.

Developing the new framework of 'life-mix', which considers the mixed patterns of caring and working in different periods of life, this book systematically explores the interplay of productivism, women, care and work in East Asia and Europe.

The book ranges across four key aspects of welfare - childcare, parental leave, employment support and pensions - to illustrate how policies affect women in various periods of their lives. Policy case studies from France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, South Korea, Sweden and the UK, show how welfare could support people's caring and working lives. This book forms a prescient examination of how productivist thinking underpins regimes and impacts women's welfare, care and work in both the East and West.

Past Research

Major funded research projects

  1. Honorary Adviser, (led by W. K. Yu), 'Staying Close or Leading an Independent Life: A study of how older Hong Kong migrants in Britain handle their care needs and relationships with their Britain-based and overseas families', General Research Fund, Research Grant Council, Hong Kong, 2018-2019.
  2. Principal Investigator, 'Social Investment Perspective in Work-family Reconciliation Measures in Europe and East Asia', Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions, Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme, European Union (No. 708305), 2016-2018.
  3. Co-investigator (with W. K. Yu, L. Foster and S. Su), 'Staying Part of the Family: Transnational Defamilisation/Familisation Measures of Chinese Older People in Britain', Faculty Research Grant, Hong Kong Baptist University, 2015-2016.
  4. Principal Investigator (with Z. Li and V. Wong), 'Health and Social Care Needs of Chinese Women in Sheffield', Lai Yin Association 2014-15.
  5. Principal Investigator (with W. K. Yu) 'Flexicurity and Youth Unemployment - a Pilot Study of Youth Employment Policies in Hong Kong', Seed Funding Programme, The University of Hong Kong, 2009 -2010.
  6. Co-Investigator (with W. K. Yu) 'An Evaluative Study of the Development of Education of Mentally Disabled Youth in Guangzhou', Keymeida and Huiling Guangzhou, 2008-09.
  7. Principal Investigator, 'Involvement of Older People in Policy Discussion - An Internal Evaluative Study of the Hong Kong Older People Policy Monitoring Consortium', Hong Kong Council of Social Service, 2006-07.
  8. Principal Investigator (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', Joseph Rowntree Foundation: 2003-05.
  9. Co-investigator (with A. Yeung and W. K. Yu) 'Extended Study on Inclusion and Exclusion of Women in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in Hong Kong', City University of Hong Kong, 2002-03.
  10. Principal Investigator, (with K. Gerrish and A. Sobowale) 'Crossing the Language Barrier in Health: Investigating Interpreting Services in Primary Care Nursing in Sheffield', Community Health Sheffield, 2001-03
  11. Co-investigator (with A. Yeung and W. K. Yu) 'Inclusion and Exclusion of Women in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in Hong Kong', City University of Hong Kong, 2001.
  12. Co-investigator (with W. K. Yu) 'Needs of Chinese Women for Health and Social Services in Sheffield', Lai Yin Association, Sheffield Health, 1998-99.
  13. Co-investigator (with A. Walker and W. K. Yu) 'Social Care Needs for Chinese Older People in Britain', Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 1997-2000.
  14. Principal Investigator (PhD study with a three-year full-time Commonwealth Scholarship) 'Welfare Mix in Socialist China: A Case Study of Occupational Therapy Stations in Guangzhou', The University of Sheffield, 1995-2000.
  15. Co-investigator (with M. L. Wu and W. K. Yu) 'The Normative Basis of Family Care in Beijing', City University of Hong Kong,1994-97.
  16. Co-investigator (with K. K. Fung, K. Y. Lau and H. L. Mok) 'The Impact of the Regulatory Measures on Bedspace Apartments in Hong Kong', City University of Hong Kong, 1994-95.
  17. Co-investigator (with W. K. Yu) 'The Application of the Shared Care Approach in Occupational Therapy Stations in Guangzhou', City University of Hong Kong, 1994-95.

Future Research

Future research will be built around the following areas:

  • Active ageing
  • Chinese community in Britain
  • Comparative social welfare
  • Culturally sensitive practice in health and social care
  • Defamilisation/familisation
  • East Asian welfare system
  • Welfare productivism
  • Work and care

School of Sociology and Social Policy

Law and Social Sciences building
University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

Contact us