HIEBS operates with an "open architecture" to facilitate the introduction of new research programs and projects over time. Currently there are four programs:

Research project proposals can be sent to the program leaders for consideration.

Asia-Pacific Competitiveness

Competitiveness is critical in today's world economy. National and regional economies will only prosper in the future if their firms and industries can remain viable in the face of increasing global competition. This is especially true of Asia-Pacific economies, whose rise has been closely linked with international trade and investment, and even more so for a small open economy such as Hong Kong's. This program focuses on Hong Kong's competitiveness and on issues of competitiveness in the larger Asia-Pacific region. A prominent theme is Hong Kong's interaction with the cities of Macao, Shenzhen, Zhuhai and the province of Guangdong.

Human Resources

Hong Kong is becoming a knowledge-based economy founded on trade and financial services, business and professional services, and the knowledge-intensive managerial and co-ordination activities of manufacturing industries. This change, which has occurred more rapidly in Hong Kong than in any other economy in the world, has profound implications for Hong Kong's future. Hong Kong requires a competitive market that can quickly adapt to fluctuations in the economic environment and that will encourage investments in human capital. But the government still plays a large role in financing and administering basic education and research. As Hong Kong's economy develops, the bifurcation of skilled versus unskilled labor will become pronounced. The government will have to provide a safety net for victims of market forces. The program studies the operation of the labor market in general and evaluates existing policies and policy option related to labor, education and welfare.

Quantitative Economic History

The program serves as a linkage between academic researchers within the University, the government, the business community, and APEC Study Centres in other countries. The program seeks to establish institutional links and exchange programs with major policy research institutions in the region. The connections provide information on pressing policy concerns so that we can focus our research activities accordingly. Networking with overseas centres contributes to the promoting of Hong Kong as a higher education centre in the region.
The China-Globalization Program led by Larry Qiu has been integrated under the Institute for China and Global Development (ICGD).