What affects PhD student creativity in China? A case study from the Joint Training Pilot Project

  • Xianwei LiuEmail author
  • Yang Zou
  • Yonghong Ma
  • Wei Gao


To understand the factors and their influencing mechanisms on PhD students’ creativity, we propose an extended scientific and technical human capital (STHC) model to examine the structural relationships among different sources of social capital, psychological capital, and PhD students’ creativity and to test the moderating role of gender, industry experience, and interdisciplinary experience on the structural model. Data are collected from 201 respondents enrolled in the Joint Training Pilot Project (JTPP) in 2010 and 2011. The results show that (1) university social capital has a significant direct influence on PhD students’ creativity, while industry social capital has no significant direct effect; (2) psychological capital partially mediates the relationship between university social capital and creativity and fully mediates the industry social capital and creativity linkage; and (3) gender, industry experience, and interdisciplinary experience moderate several paths. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed, and recommended directions for future research are suggested.


Creativity PhD students Joint Training Pilot Project Scientific and technical human capital model 


Funding information

This study was funded by the Humanity and Social Science Youth Foundation of Ministry of Education of China (grant number 17YJC880072), the Beijing Social Science Fund Research Base Project (grant number 18JDJYB007, 16JDJYA001), and the Program for Rixin Talents of Beijing University of Technology (grant number 103000514118003).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Capital Research and Development Center for Engineering Education, Institute of Higher EducationBeijing University of TechnologyBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.School of BusinessRenmin University of ChinaBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Institute of Higher EducationBeihang UniversityBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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