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International Centre for Higher Education Management (ICHEM) research

Our research spans leadership, management and policy to influence thinking and ways of working in higher education.


Our International Centre for Higher Education Management (ICHEM) supports critical research, leadership and practice to strengthen the innovative capacity of higher education.

We focus on the impact of global political, economic and social forces on higher education, transformations across national higher education systems, and organisational change and innovation in universities.

As a group of researchers, we are committed to:

  • building interdisciplinary research capacity to advance the field of higher education studies
  • supporting strategic change processes with governments, HE institutions and international organisations through consultancy, policy recommendations and leadership insights
  • providing space for critical engagement
  • disseminating innovative, ethical and sustainable strategies through seminars, conferences, keynotes and master classes
  • bringing together other researchers, policymakers and leaders in global Praxis Circles to co-create new knowledge for change
  • contributing to executive development and leadership programmes, including our PhD and the DBA in Higher Education Management, which constitute the largest group of managers researching higher education worldwide

Research themes

Our research on higher education transformation centres around the following themes:

  • Higher education and global wellbeing
  • Globalisation, internationalisation and regional development
  • Higher education policy, markets and new public management
  • The governance of research, education and professional practice
  • Innovation, social responsibility and sustainability
  • Strategy as practice and learning organisations
  • Leadership and professions
  • Higher education, social mobility and social justice
  • Graduate employability and the labour market

Research projects

  • ‘The doctoral viva as intellectual examination dialogue: policies and practices, roles and experiences of those involved (chairs, examiners, candidates), changes in the viva (in person/remote/hyflex), and its contribution to doctoral examining. An international study’. Researchers: Gina Wisker, Ludovic Highman, Caroline Moss-Gibbons (University of Gibraltar), Rachel Spronken-Smith (University of Otago) and Joseph Waghorne (University of Essex). Advisers: Darren Fa (University of Gibraltar), Margaret Kiley (Australian National University), Stanley Taylor (University of Durham). 2022-2024. Funder: University of Gibraltar.
  • ‘Universities and Regions: The impact of locality and region on university governance and strategies’. Researchers: Jurgen Enders, Michael Shattock (UCL IoE) and Aniko Horvath (Free University of Amsterdam. 2021-2024. Funder: ESRC.
  • ‘Pandemic study – The effects of the pandemic on European higher education’. Researchers: Ludovic Highman, Que Anh Dang (Coventry University), Miguel Lim (University of Manchester), Pusa Nastase (Central European University). 2021-2023. Funder: Danish School of Education, Aarhus University.
  • ‘Research for Impact: Integrating research and societal impact in the Humanities PhD’: Researchers: Gina Wisker, Soren Smedegaard Bengtsen (University of Aarhus), Lynn McAlpine (University of Oxford), Barbara Grant (University of Auckland), Ron Barnett (UCL-IoE). Since 2020. Funder: ‘Foreground Knowledge’, Aarhus University.
  • ‘Doctoral journeys of intersectional women students’. Researchers : Gina Wisker, Shireen Motala, Beatrice Akala, Halima Namakula (University of Johannesburg), Catherine Manathunga (University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia). Since 2020. Funder: NRF research; SAARCHI chair affiliated with University of Johannesburg, South Africa.
  • ‘Women doctoral students: developing a Gender related toolkit’. Researchers: Gina Wisker, Trine Fossland (University of Tromso). Since 2020. Funder: University of Tromso.
  • 'Organisational Perspectives on Accountability and Learning : School Management Models and the Social Impact of Schooling in Mumbai and Kathmandu'. Researchers: Robin Shields (PI), Andres Sandoval Hernandez and Hugh Lauder. 2017-2019.
  • 'Governance of Higher Education in the UK and Europe'. Researchers: Jurgen Enders, Michael Shattock (UCL IoE), Ellen Hazelkorn (Dublin Institute of Technology) and Aniko Horvath (UCL IoE). 2015-2020. Funder: ESRC.
  • 'Business Schools, Social Responsibility and Inclusive Development'. Researchers: Rajani Naidoo, Veronica Hope Hailey, Peter Nuttall. Funder: Accelerating International Research Collaboration Scheme. 2017.
  • 'Pathways to Personal and Public Good: Understanding Access to, Student experiences of, and Outcomes from South African Undergraduate Education. Access Theme'. Researchers: Rajani Naidoo, Melanie Walker (University of Free State), Vincent Carpentier (UCL IoE), Paul Ashwin (Lancaster) and Jenni Case (University of Cape Town PIs). Funder: ESRC/NRF. 2016-2018.
  • 'Working in the shadows of professionalism: An investigation into the career experiences and dynamics of paraprofessionals'. Researcher: Stefanie Gustafsson. Funder: ESRC Future Research Leaders. 2017.
  • 'The Role of Business Schools for New Generations of Innovative Business Leaders'. Researcher: Hong Bui. Funder: The British Academy. 2016.

Consultancy projects

  • 'Leading Collaboration to Solve Global Challenges'. Consultant: Rajani Naidoo. Funder: Leadership Foundation. 2017.
  • 'Transnational Higher Education: A Guide to Creating Partnerships in India'. Consultants : Rajani Naidoo, Neil Kemp and Sudhanshu Bhushan. British Council. 2015.
  • 'Higher Education, Social Capital and Social Mobility'. Consultant: Rajani Naidoo. Funder: Higher Education.


If you have any questions, please contact us.

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