Dr Ruonan Sun

Ruonan Sun

PhD (2020)

Ruonan completed his PhD in Management at the ANU College of Business and Economics in 2020. He holds a Master of Business Information Systems (MBIS) from ANU and a Bachelor of Information Technology from the University of Canberra. Ruonan is now a lecturer in Management Information Systems at the Lancaster University Management School (LUMS).

Before joining LUMS, Ruonan was a sessional course convenor (2018 – 2020) and business development officer (2014 – 2017) at ANU. While working as a course convenor, he managed and co-delivered several MBIS courses.

Ruonan’s research interests are platform ecosystems, system affordances, and data industrialisation. Specifically, he explores how technological artefacts and human perceptions coevolve for value creation via system design and use. Ruonan also studies how different stakeholders in the health, financial, and e-commerce ecosystems become data-drivers for greater societal and business impacts.


Why did you choose to work in academia rather than in industry?

My supervisor, Professor Shirley Gregor, showed me the right path. Academia allows me to fulfil my curiosity, and too many meetings and deadlines don’t stifle my imagination. 

What surprised you when you started your academic career?

Travelling from Canberra, a city I lived in for 11 years, to Lancaster, was the biggest surprise. By that I mean that a PhD is like a global passport – so be prepared for new ventures. Plus, I thought I already knew it, but the UK really does rain a lot.

Reflecting on your experiences at CBE, what advice would you give to new HDR students?

Be brave, never lose faith, and enjoy the ups and downs.

Explore the nature of a phenomenon, even if many believe it. Science would not have evolved if Einstein did not challenge and develop Newton’s theory of gravity.

Completing a PhD can at times feel like sailing a boat in the middle of nowhere. You may feel lost but never lose faith. Talk to your friends and family when you are down, and remember your supervisor is always there for you too.

It is a long journey with many ups and downs. Naturally, we love the ups and hate the downs but try to convert the negatives into motivation. 

Completing your PhD will be a special memory for you. 

How do you discover new research ideas and develop your research network?

Although perhaps commonplace, staying curious is the best way to gain new ideas. Try to question things when you are reading and observing them.

Attending academic conferences can also be a good way to build your research network. Furthermore, do not forget the people around you. Learning from and collaborate with academic staff, fellow PhD students, and coursework students is always beneficial.