Project 8

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

This project was a continuation of CGHE 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 compared and contrasted the concepts, understandings and practices of the role of higher education in creating public and common good(s), in ten countries – Japan, China, South Korea, Finland, France, Poland, UK, Chile, Canada and the United States.

About this project

This project is led by Simon Marginson and the postdoc researcher is Lili Yang. It includes researchers from Japan, China and based in UK, with collaboration also from researchers in Poland and Chile. The project continues to completion a core project of CGHE that began in 2016.

The role of higher education everywhere is nested in particular localities, and national-cultural settings so that all of the outcomes of higher education are subject to variation. This is especially true of the collective effects included under the heading of public or common goods. The ultimate purposes of the project are to (1) systematically review approaches to the problem in the ten countries, and draw attention to similarities and differences; (2) to identify the potential for generic approaches to this issue useful in all countries, that might constitute the basis for worldwide analytical and measurement based work in the future, while also identifying the factors that shape variations form national context to national context; (3) to progress the identification and measurement of global common goods in higher education and science. Part of the project lies in comparing meanings of key terms between languages, another part lies in exploring issues of measurement.

As the Transition Centre begins, CGHE has completed empirical work in seven of the ten countries, has supplementary work to do to complete research in two more, and has yet to carry out the case study work in the US and interviews in international agencies. The Transition Centre period will focus on completion of data collection, data analysis, comparisons, academic publishing and information for policy makers and practitioners in higher education.


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.
IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society
Vincent Carpentier is a Reader in History of Education at IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society. He was responsible for CGHE Project 7, ‘A historical lens on higher education staffing: UK and France’. Key outcomes from this project included papers such as Three Stories of Institutional Differentiation: Resource, Mission and Social Inequalities in Higher Education (Policy Reviews in Higher Education 2021) and Academic Workforce in France and the UK in Historical Perspectives (Comparative Education 2023- with Emmanuelle Picard), recently reported in the Conversation (2023) . He was also a Co-Investigator on Project 8, ‘Local and global public good of higher education: 10 nation study’ examining the French context presented in the paper Public Good in French Universities: Principles and practices of the “Republican” Model of Higher education (Compare 2022- with Aline Courtois).
Professor Futao Huang
Hiroshima University (Japan)
Futao Huang is a Co-Investigator on CGHE Project 8, ‘Local and global public good of higher education: 10 nation study’.
Professor Nian Cai Liu
Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China
Nian Cai Liu is a Co-Investigator on CGHE Project 8, ‘Local and global public good of higher education: 10 nation study’.
Kiyomi Horiuchi
Hiroshima University
Kiyomi Horiuchi is a Research Associate on CGHE Project 8, ‘Local and global public good of higher education: 10 nation study’.
Lili Yang
University of Hong Kong
Lili Yang is an assistant professor at Faculty of Education, the University of Hong Kong. Previously, she was a PhD researcher and then a postdoctoral researcher at CGHE. Her research interests include higher education, cross-cultural comparison of higher education, and higher education policy. Her forthcoming book is titled ‘Higher Education, State and Society: Comparing the Chinese and Anglo-American Approaches’ (Bloomsbury).
Lin Tian
Hunan University, China
Lin Tian is a Research Associate on CGHE Project 8, ‘Local and global public good of higher education: 10 nation study’.
Carolina Guzman Valenzuela
Universidad de Tarapacá, Chile
Krystian Szadkowski
Adam Mickiewicz University, Poland


CGHE working papers

Additional publications

Translation of work published in English

  • Marginson, S. (2016). To, co publiczne i prywatnew szkolnictwie wyższym. Synteza podejścia ekonomicznego i politycznego. Nauka i Szkolnictwo Wyższe, 48 (2), pp. 17-42 (2016). [Translation of ‘Private/public in higher education: A synthesis of economic and political approaches’, Studies in Higher Education.] In Polish. Translated by Krystian Szadkowski. Published online here.

Other outputs