Meicen Sun

Assistant Professor

PhD, Political Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Other professional appointments

  • Affiliated Faculty, MIT FutureTech

Research focus

Information and technology policy; political economy of information; geopolitics of data; digital economy and trade.

Honors and Awards

  • First Prize in the 2023 Student Paper Contest, 51st Annual Research Conference on Communications, Information and Internet Policy (TPRC)
  • Commencement speaker for the graduating class of 2022-2023 at the 2023 MIT Commencement for the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
  • Georgetown University Global Political Economy Project Predoctoral Fellowship
  • The Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy Grant
  • Smith Richardson Foundation World Politics and Statecraft Fellowship
  • MIT Internet Policy Research Initiative Technology, Economy & National Security Fellowship


Meicen Sun is an assistant professor in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Her research examines the political economy of information, the geopolitics of data, and information policy. Her writings have appeared in academic and policy outlets including Foreign Policy Analysis, Harvard Business Review, World Economic Forum, the Asian Development Bank Institute, and The Diplomat among others. She had previously conducted research at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and at the UN Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa. Bilingual in English and Chinese, she has also written stories, plays, and music and staged many of her works -- in both languages -- in China, Singapore and the U.S. Sun served as a Fellow on the World Economic Forum's Global Future Council on China and is an affiliated faculty with the MIT FutureTech. She holds an AB with honors from Princeton University, an AM with a Certificate in Law from the University of Pennsylvania, and a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University.

Listen now: Sun discusses her research on data politics and digital trade on the podcast, "Two Think Minimum".


Publications & Papers

Google Scholar page

"A Bigger Bang for a Bigger Buck: What China's Changing Attitude Toward UN Peacekeeping Says About Its Approach to International Institutions," Foreign Policy Analysis 13:2, 338-60

"National Borders Don’t Stop in the Physical World–They're in Cyberspace Too," World Economic Forum

"Three Challenges to Manufacturing Digitization and How to Overcome Them: Lessons from Chinese SMEs" in Harnessing Digitalization for Sustainable Economic Development: Insights for Asia (with Yasheng Huang), The Asian Development Bank Institute

"How Digital Contact Tracing Slowed Covid-19 in East Asia" (with Yasheng Huang and Yuze Sui), Harvard Business Review

"Why the U.S. and China Can't Get to Yes (Even When They Could)" (with Jacob Sotiriadis), The Diplomat

"How to Make Active Aging an Integral Part of Economic Growth in China” (with Jian Han et al.), World Economic Forum

"U.S.-China Need a Missile Launch Notification Deal" (with Nicholas Cosmas and John Warden), The Diplomat