Balancing national security and economic Interests in foreign investment

Dynamic interdisciplinary project featuring experts in Law and Policy at the University of Melbourne and Monash University.

Balancing National Security and Economic Interests in Foreign Investment


Balancing National Security and Economic Interests in Foreign Investment. The project aims to investigate growing divergence between countries’ inward foreign investment policies and their increasing links to national security. Novel interdisciplinary collaboration integrating political science, economics and law promises insights into these policy shifts, which appear driven by digitalisation of the economy and the rise of emerging markets (eg China) and State-linked investment. Expected outcomes include clarification of the causes and implications of these shifts and innovative understanding of the connection between national security and economic interests in investment. This new knowledge should enhance balance in investment policy and decision-making, with economic and foreign policy benefits for Australia.

Outcomes / activities

The team includes two lawyers, two economists, and one political scientist, as well as a PhD candidate in international political economy. The project will incorporate quantitative and qualitative methods and investigate normative policy questions by integrating political, diplomatic, economic and legal analysis. It will build a large cross-country dataset on inward investment policies and undertake in-depth analysis of policies in Australia, Brazil, China, and the United States.


  • To identify the nature, extent and causes of the emerging securitisation of and divergence between countries’ policies on inward foreign investment
  • To enhance understanding of the economic implications of these policy shifts and their consistency with international trade law and international investment law
  • To support the reform of domestic and international policy regimes concerning foreign investment to adjust better to the digitalisation of the economy and the rise of emerging markets and State-linked investment

More information

Project details


Australian Research Council – Discovery Project

Research partners

Monash University (Dr Laura Puzzello)

Project team

Professor Andrew Walter Chief Investigator (CI)
Professor Phillip McCalman (CI)
Dr Laura Puzzello (CI)
Professor Tania Voon (Lead CI)


Professor Andrew Walter