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Vassiliki Papatsiba

Dr Vassiliki Papatsiba


School of Social Sciences

Glamorgan Building, King Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3WA
Available for postgraduate supervision


I am a Reader in Social Sciences - Education. I joined the School of Social Sciences at Cardiff in October 2022.

My research sits largely within Political Sociology applied to international higher education and focuses on three interrelated areas: a) Internationalisation in higher education, academic mobility and migration; b) International research collaboration, global (in)equity, and public policies; c) Universities and knowledge exchange with their international and local communities and networks.


I have earned competitive research funding from European bodies and UK Research Councils. I was the PI of the EU-funded project titled ‘European Universities in Knowledge Societies: Collaboration and Networks in research and teaching’ (EuKnow, 2009-2013) and held a Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship (EIF) at the University of Oxford on the topic of European Universities and Rationales of Tradition and Change- (EURoTaC, 2006-2008). I participated in the European Science Foundation-funded project ‘Change in Networks, Higher Education and Knowledge Societies (CINHEKS)’ and was a Co-Investigator in the ESRC-funded research ‘Brexit, migration and higher education’ (June 2017- June 2019).

I have significant leadership experience. I served on the Steering Group of the Global Challenges in Higher Education and Research (GHEAR) of the World Universities Network (WUN) (2018-2022) and led the OECD’s Country Review on Knowledge Exchange in Lithuanian Universities and Research Institutes (2021). I was on the Research Management Committee of the ESRC-funded Centre for Global Higher Education (CGHE) (2018-2020). While at the University of Sheffield, I provided strategic direction to the Knowledge Systems and Practices Research Cluster, and earlier, to the Centre for the Study of Higher Education (2017 to 2020).  


I hold a PhD in Social Sciences (Higher Education studies) from the University of Paris X, France. Prior to moving to the UK, I held University lectureships in France and  also served for five years as a National Expert for the French Unit of Eurydice at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation of the French Ministry of Education in Paris.


I have extensive experience in the leadership of Postgraduate Research Degrees. In 2010, I set up the ‘Education Pathway’ of the White Rose Doctoral Training Centre (Leeds, Sheffield and York). I co-directed the Research Degrees (2014-2017) in the School of Education at Sheffield with oversight for around 340 students. I have directed two professional doctoral programmes focusing on higher education and an ESRC-accredited Master’s course.

I am an experienced doctoral supervisor with a track record of helping students obtain competitive doctoral scholarships and, since 2011, have worked with twenty-nine doctoral students to successful completion.

I have supervised the following doctoral students to completion (sole supervisor unless co-supervision is indicated). 

  • Allsopp, Nick - The search for good practice in learning and teaching in one specific higher education institution in England.
  • Birds, Rachel - Changing Communities and Challenging Identities: An ethnography of a university spinout company.
  • LePlay, Deborah - Rethinking ‘the rules of the game’: first year undergraduate transitional experiences viewed through a Bourdieuian lens.
  • Al-Abri, Ahmed - Risk management for Ministry of Health educational institutions in Oman.
  • Conway, Ann - The effects of change on culture and identities: A case study of a higher educational institution undergoing transition.
  • Hanrahan, Martin- Considering Citizenship Education. A Conceptual Approach to Planning for Citizenship Education Within a Higher Level Educational Environment.
  • McCormick, Irene- Navigating Learning Outcomes: tensions and potentials in Media Higher Education.
  • Fitzsimons, Mary Claire - Irish Nursing Students’ Experiences And Understanding Of Reflective Practice: A Narrative Inquiry.
  • Lomer, Sylvie - International students in UK policy from 1999 to 2013: rationales for recruitment and representations of students.
  • Temple Clothier, Anne - An exploration of professional learning, and revised ‘internal careers’ experienced by higher education teaching practitioners undertaking the journey to the Doctorate in Education.
  • Murphy, Finbarr - Striving for innovation – A Triple Helix exploration of how one Irish College is pursuing this goal.
  • Baker, Zoe - Perceptions, choice and decision-making processes of socio-economically underrepresented students in the changing English higher education landscape
  • Mitchell, Diana - The experiences of professional staff working in Irish third level institutions while studying for their professional doctorate in education.
  • Soubes, Sandrine - Conceptualisation of researcher development: exploring the habitus of postdoctoral researchers and principal investigators in the Sciences.
  • Lewis, Dina - Conceptualisations of higher education internationalisation in China and England.
  • Al Abri, Salim - Transnational Education in Oman: A Case Study of Private Higher education providers.
  • Ó hAnnracháin, Ciarán - A Policy Trajectory Analysis of the National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030 in Ireland - An Institutes of Technology Perspective (with Prof Gareth Parry).
  • Mulvey, Markita - Further Education and Training in Ireland: Eight Decades to a Unified Sector (with Prof Gareth Parry)
  • Richards-Kennedy, Stacy - Researchers contributing to societal impact in Caribbean SIDS: A case study of the RDI Fund.
  • Cremen, Patricia - Personal Development in the Higher Education and Training of Social Care Workers in Ireland (with Prof Gareth Parry)
  • Best, Karen - Gauging Stakeholders Perceptions on Policy Shifts in the Financing of Tertiary Education at the University of the West Indies -Cave Hill Campus, Barbados.
  • Cohen, Eliel - Academic 'Boundaries' in the Context of the UK Impact Agenda: A Study of 'Power' and 'Control' in Academic STEMM Research.
  • Gayl Wall - Governance of Scottish Higher Education: an Analysis of Institutional Governance Reform (2011-2017).
  • William Bennett - Leadership in Higher Education – A Study of Leadership among Presidents in Ireland’s Technological Higher Education Sector. (with Prof Gareth Parry).
  • Caroline Chaffer - Understanding the role of pedagogy in the re-reproduction of social inequalities within Higher Education: a Bernsteinian analysis.
  • Colin Lawlor - A Bourdieusian Analysis of Professional Military Education for Irish Army Officers.
  • Matthew Willets - A Hermeneutical Investigation of the Impact of University Performative Culture on Student-Nominated Teaching Award Winners (co-direction with Prof Paul Latreille – School of Management).
  • Fatma Altintug - Multimodal Literacy Experiences of Kurdish Migrant Children in Northern Cyprus (co-direction with Dr Nadena Doherty).
  • Suhaili Jalil - Academics’ Engagement in the Internationalisation of Higher Education at Public Universities in Malaysia.