Professor Simon Marginson

University of Oxford

Simon Marginson is Professor of Higher Education at the University of Oxford, founding Director of the ESRC/RE Centre for Global Higher Education (CGHE), Joint Editor-in-Chief of Higher Education, and a Professorial Associate with the University of Melbourne. Simon’s research is focused primarily on global and international higher education, the global science system, higher education in East Asia, the contributions of higher education, and higher education and social inequality. Simon led CGHE’s project 8 which investigated the public good role of higher education in ten countries. The project found that while a broad notion of public good has been largely emptied out of policy in the English-speaking countries, where economic definitions of individualised pecuniary value are dominant, recognition of the broader individual and collective outcomes of higher education continues in different ways in other jurisdictions including France, Finland, South Korea and China. The study in England discovered however that despite the narrow economic framing used by Westminster policy makers, both higher education practitioners and policy professionals believe that higher education makes a large and multiple contribution to both national and global public goods.

With Lili Yang, Simon co-authored a 2022 paper ‘Individual and collective outcomes of higher education: a comparison of Anglo-American and Chinese approaches’ which found that if the Anglophone economic notion of a zero-sum trade-off between public goods and private goods is removed, then the full range of higher education’s contributions emerge and the two systemic approaches to the public good role are compatible despite differences in the respective political cultures.

Simon’s most recent book, edited with Brendan Cantwell, Daria Platonova and Anna Smolentseva, is Assessing the contributions of higher education (Edward Elgar, 2023).

CGHE publications

Past Events

Select recent publications


*Perspectives on governance in Chinese universities
CCEF Forum, University of Cambridge, 15 July 2023. READ TRANSCRIPT

*The arts and the humanities: Multiple purposes and one rationale
paper for Lingnan University, 18 November 2022.
*Differences between ‘globalisation’ and ‘internationalisation’: implications for science and WCU building
paper for WCU-9 conference, 18 November 2022. READ TRANSCRIPT