IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Centre for Global Higher Education

An international research centre focused on higher education and its future development.

Director: Professor Simon Marginson (University of Oxford)

Deputy Directors: Professor Claire Callender (IOE and Birkbeck) and Professor Paul Ashwin (Lancaster University)

The Centre for Global Higher Education (CGHE) is an international research centre focused on higher education and its future development. Its research aims to inform and improve higher education policy and practice.

CGHE is a research partnership of 15 UK and international universities and is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, with support from Office for Students and Research England.

Its 10 research projects integrate local, national and global perspectives, and its researchers are based in nine countries across five continents: Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and North America.

About us

  • Conduct and publish basic and applied research across 10 integrated research projects.
  • Build theory about higher education and new methods of inquiry and research.
  • Respond to issues arising within the frame of the 10 research projects.
  • Maximise its impacts in higher education policy in the four UK nations and worldwide. 

CGHE’s research integrates local, national and global perspectives on higher education, each having major policy implications.

During the first phase of CGHE between 2015 and 2020, research was organised into three research programmes: Global higher education engagement, Social and economic impact of higher education, and Local higher education engagement.

For the Transition Centre phase of CGHE between 2020 and 2023, research is organised into 10 international higher education research projects, featuring eight projects from the previous CGHE centre and two new projects (detailed in ‘Research’ section below).

Our staff

CGHE Research Management Committee

  • Professor Paul Ashwin, Lancaster University
  • Professor Rachel Brooks, University of Surrey
  • Professor Claire Callender, IOE and Birkbeck
  • Associate Professor Maia Chankseliani, University of Oxford
  • Professor Jürgen Enders, University of Bath
  • Professor Ellen Hazelkorn, BH Associates and TU Dublin
  • Dr Golo Henseke, IOE
  • Dr Janja Komljenovic, Lancaster University
  • Professor Diana Laurillard, IOE
  • Professor Simon Marginson, University of Oxford
  • Professor Tristan McCowan, IOE
  • Associate Professor David Mills, University of Oxford
  • Professor Ka Ho Mok, Lingnan University
  • Professor Alis Oancea, University of Oxford
  • Dr James Robson, University of Oxford

Chair of the CGHE Advisory Board

  • Professor Sir Bob Burgess

CGHE Communications

  • Trevor Treharne, University of Oxford

CGHE Administrators

  • Carly Brownbridge, IOE
  • Eleanor Gaspar, University of Oxford

Other CGHE Co-Investigators 

  • Vikki Boliver, Durham University 
  • Margaret Blackie, University of Stellenbosch
  • Vincent Carpentier, IOE
  • Jennifer Case, University of Cape Town and Virginia Tech 
  • Sheng-Ju Chan, National Chung Cheng University
  • Kerris Cooper, IOE
  • Lorraine Dearden, IOE
  • Gemma Derrick, Lancaster University
  • Ariane de Gayardon, University of Twente
  • Stephen DesJardins, University of Michigan
  • Dung Doan, Australian National University
  • Emla Fitzsimons, IOE
  • Francis Green, IOE
  • Xiao Han, Lingnan University
  • Morag Henderson, IOE
  • Kiyomi Horiuchi, Hiroshima University
  • Aniko Horvath, University of Oxford
  • Futao Huang, Hiroshima University
  • Yuyang Kang, Lingnan University
  • Eileen Kennedy, IOE
  • Janja Komljenovic, Lancaster University
  • Diana Laurillard, IOE
  • Nian Cai Liu, Shanghai Jiao Tong University
  • William Locke, University of Melbourne
  • Jan McArthur, Lancaster University
  • Catherine Montgomery, Durham
  • Rajani Naidoo, University of Bath
  • Vassiliki Papatsiba, University of Sheffield
  • Nicole Pitterson, Virginia Tech
  • Lee Rensimer, IOE
  • Natasha Robinson, University of Oxford
  • Kayleigh Rosewell, Lancaster University
  • Mike Shattock, IOE
  • Wenqin Shen, Peking University
  • Nikki Shure, IOE
  • Reneé Smit, University of Cape Town
  • Natia Sopromadze, University of Oxford
  • Lin Tian, Shanghai Jiao Tong University
  • Robert Tijssen, Leiden University
  • Carolina Guzman Valenzuela, University of Tarapacá
  • Celia Whitchurch, IOE
  • Gill Wyness, IOE
  • Weiyan Xiong, Lingnan University
  • Xin Xu, University of Oxford
  • Lili Yang, University of Oxford
  • Alfredo Yegros, Leiden University
Associated organisations
  • GuildHE
  • Higher Education Academy
  • Higher Education Policy Institute
  • Institute for Public Policy Research
  • National Centre for Universities and Business
  • National Union of Students
  • Office for Fair Access
  • Social Market Foundation
  • Society for Research into Higher Education
  • Times Higher Education
  • Universities UK
  • Universities UK International Unit
  • University and College Union
  • Which? The Consumer Association
  • Wonkhe

Our activities 


For the Transition Centre phase of CGHE between 2020 and 2023, research is organised into 10 international higher education research projects:

Graduate Experiences of Employability and Knowledge (GEEK) Project

This project is a continuation of CGHE Project 3.3, Understanding Knowledge, Curriculum and Student Agency.

It examines how the students from the UK-SA project experience the first three years after their expected graduation from their degree courses. It will examine how students’ engagement with their discipline affects their lives in terms of worldviews and agency, employability and career, and wider social and cultural embeddedness in society. 

Project leader: Paul Ashwin, Lancaster University (paul.ashwin@lancaster.ac.uk)

Realising the potential of digital technology for scaling up higher

This project is a continuation of CGHE Project 3.4, The transformational potential of MOOCs, which found that online technologies can be effective for professional education on the large scale because, unlike students, these participants do not need personalised support.

This project will further analyse this data to determine the extent to which these large-scale course platforms generate learner communities via discussion forums, peer review and shared activities. 

Project leader: Diana Laurillard, IOE (d.laurillard@ucl.ac.uk)

Research on Research: the research function and mission of higher education

This is a new project for the CGHE Transition Centre that will draw together multi-disciplinary scholarship and a strong comparative dimension, internationally and institutionally, in order to study the importance of the research function in understanding the wider dynamics of higher education.

To do so, it adopts a multi-layered approach, considering: values and discourses; policy, organisational environments and relationships; evaluation frameworks and funding; and meta-scholarship.

Project leader: Alis Oancea, University of Oxford (alis.oancea@education.ox.ac.uk)

Graduate labour market and equity

This project is a continuation of CGHE Project 2.3, The heterogeneity of the graduate labour market in UK and Europe.

This project seeks to assess how the growing inequality of labour markets outcomes has played out for graduates from across the socio-demographic spectrum in a cross-nationally comparative perspective. It will track trends in graduate outcomes in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, and its intersection with region, gender, ethnicity and social class.

Project leaders: Golo Henseke, IOE (g.henseke@ucl.ac.uk) and Claire Callender, IOE and Birkbeck

Student loan debt and graduate decision-making

This project is a continuation of CGHE Project 2.4, The effects of student loan debt on graduates’ financial and life decisions in the UK and USA.

The aim of this project is to investigate the effects of student loan indebtedness on graduates’ lives in England. It will look at the longer-term implications of student loan indebtedness on graduates’ life choices, behaviour and wellbeing within the distinctive context of income-contingent loans.

Project leader: Claire Callender, IOE and Birkbeck (claire.callender@ucl.ac.uk)

The impact of locality and region on university governance

This project is a continuation of CGHE Project 1.4, The governance of higher education in Europe and the UK.

This project draws on the research evidence gathered for its predecessor and supplements it with further interviews to study the interactions and relationships between universities and their regions/localities and their implications for questions of governance.

The study will be based mainly on the UK but will draw on contrasting approaches to regional/higher education relationships in Ireland, Germany and Norway.

Project leaders: Mike Shattock (m.shattock@ucl.ac.uk) and Simon Marginson, University of Oxford

A historical lens on higher education staffing: UK and France

This project is a continuation of CGHE Project 2.1, Higher education participation and macro-economic fluctuations: a historical and comparative study.

The project examines trends and patterns in academic staffing in the UK and France since the 1920s. They will be cross-examined with socioeconomic data to establish relations between economic fluctuations, social change and the evolution of the higher education workforce, including the transformation of work and practices within the sector.

Project leader: Vincent Carpentier, IOE (v.carpentier@ucl.ac.uk)

Local and global public good of higher education: 10 nation study

This project is a continuation of Project 1.1, Local and global public good contributions of higher education: a comparative study in six national systems.

Using interviews with higher education personnel and government officials, supported by discourse analysis, the project compares and contrasts the concepts, understandings and practices of the role of higher education in creating public and common good(s), now in ten countries – Japan, China, South Korea, Finland, France, Poland, UK, Chile, Canada and the United States.

Project leader: Simon Marginson, University of Oxford (simon.marginson@education.ox.ac.uk)

Mapping supranational higher education space

A new project for the CGHE Transition Centre, this project explores the supranational space in higher education, including the ways in which this space is formed and developed above or beyond nation-states, the actors that form this space, and the resource and knowledge flows within this space, and between the national, regional, and supranational spaces.

The project includes the following four strands: European Union post-Brexit, Supranational actors and the regional higher education space in the Caucasus and Central Asia, Research capacity-building in African higher education, and Higher education aid flows to lower-income countries.

Project leaders: Tristan McCowan, IOE (t.mccowan@ucl.ac.uk); Rachel Brooks, University of Surrey; Maia Chankseliani, University of Oxford and David Mills, University of Oxford

UK international graduates in mass media and public perceptions: A comparative study of the UK, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan

This project is a continuation of CGHE Project 1.5, UK international graduates from East Asia: careers, earnings, jobs and mobility.

The research team will expand research scope from the international students’ perspective of their experience and employment to the perspectives of the mass media, employers and the general public.

It will ask: How does the mass media shapes the public images of the UK international graduates about their education and employment? How does the general public perceive the UK international graduates especially about their education and employment issues? How do students perceive and evaluate such contrasting trends and contradicting phenomenon?

Project leader: Ka Ho Mok, Lingnan University (kahomok@ln.edu.hk)

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