Our People

University of Oxford

Alis is Professor of Philosophy of Education and Research Policy at the University of Oxford and Project Lead (Research on Research) at the ESRC Centre for Global Higher Education, as well as Social Sciences Division Advocate for Impact (Responsible Engagement and Innovation). In recent years, she was Director of Research in the Oxford University Department of Education and REF2021 coordinator for the unit. Through scholarly and professional collaborations, she hopes to champion knowledge, justice, generosity and integrity in research practices and discourses, research policy and research leadership and cultures in different types of organisation. She has led and collaborated on research projects, change and development initiatives, and administrative processes on impact and knowledge exchange, and held advisory and leadership roles in education reform and research assessment. She has conducted research on research ecosystems, values in research, open knowledge, impact, ethics and integrity, epistemic diversity, research careers, understandings of quality and excellence, research assessment, research in teacher education, philosophy of research, and principled research practice. Alis is the joint editor of the Oxford Review of Education, chief editorial advisor on Routledge Open Research (Education), and co-editor of the forthcoming ‘Handbook of Meta-Research’ (Elgar). Alis Oancea led CGHE Project 3, ‘Research on Research: the research function and mission of higher education’.

CGHE, Department of Education, University of Oxford

Elisa Brewis is a Research Associate at CGHE and is currently working on Project 8 ‘Local and global public good of higher education: A 10 nation study’.

IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society

Lorraine Dearden is Professor of Economics at IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society and was a CGHE Co-Investigator on the former Project 2.2, ‘HE choices and post-HE destinations to age 25: parental background and effects of higher education funding reform in the UK’.

University of Hannover

Barbara is Professor at the Leibniz Center for Science and Society, University of Hannover, Germany.

University of Oxford

Xin Xu (许心) is a Departmental Lecturer in Higher/Tertiary Education at the University of Oxford. Her research concentrates on higher/tertiary education and research.

The University of Bristol

Gemma Derrick is Associate Professor (Research Policy & Culture) at The University of Bristol and a CGHE Co-Investigator on CGHE Project 3, ‘Research on Research: the research function and mission of higher education’.


Vivienne Stern took up the role of UUK Chief Executive in September 2022. Vivienne was previously the Director of Universities UK International (UUKi), which represents UK universities around the world and works to enable them to flourish internationally. Vivienne has over 20 years’ experience of working in higher education policy and politics at national and international level.


Debbie McVitty is Editor of Wonkhe.


Professor Joanna Newman joined SOAS as Deputy Director and Provost in September 2023. In her role she provides academic and strategic leadership to support the School’s overall strategy and lead on its Education Strategy 2021-26 that sits at the heart of the Strategic Plan 2021.

University of Manchester, University of Buckingham, National Foundation for Educational Research.

Nick Hillman is currently a governor of the University of Manchester and the University of Buckingham as well as a Trustee of the National Foundation for Educational Research.

He has been the Director of HEPI since 2014. He worked for the Rt Hon David Willetts MP (now Lord Willetts), the Minister for Universities and Science, from 2007 until the end of 2013, as Chief of Staff and then Special Adviser in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Previously, he was a History teacher and worked at the Association of British Insurers. At the 2010 general election, he was the runner-up in Cambridge.

Our People

We bring together researchers and research students from six partner universities - Oxford, Johannesburg, Hang Seng, Birmingham, UCL and Lancaster - and also support the broader global higher education research community.