Professor Alis Oancea

Alis Oancea is Professor of Philosophy of Education and Research Policy and Director of Research in the department.

She specialises in philosophy of research and in studies of research policy and governance (including work on research impact and knowledge exchange, research quality, evaluation, assessment, and rankings).

DPhil Applicants

Alis welcomes DPhil applications  in the following areas:

  • research policy and governance (research assessment, impact, rankings, quality)
  • academic work and identities
  • higher education
  • philosophy of research
  • philosophy of education
  • comparative and international higher education policy.

Research and other professional commitments

The programme of research that Alis has developed over the past ten years draws together empirical and philosophical work aimed at “Understanding and Shaping Research Policy and Practice”. She also has strong interests in higher education, contemporary challenges for philosophy of education, and science and technology studies.

She has two PhDs, one in policy and governance for research (from the University of Oxford), and one in epistemology and research.

Current professional commitments include:

  • Pro-Proctor, University of Oxford
  • Director for Research, Oxford University Department of Education
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Member of the Peer Review College of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
  • Member of the Peer Review  of the Arts and Humanities Research Council
  • Member of the Reviewer Pool, Education Endowment Foundation
  • Editorial board member: Review of Education; Educational Theory (review board); Oxford Review of Education;
  • Secretary of the Oxford Branch of the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain (PESGB)
  • Associate Research Fellow of the ESRC Research Centre on Skills, Knowledge and Organisational Performance (SKOPE)
  • Professional Mentor for the Postgraduate Diploma in Learning and Teaching in H.E. (PG DipLATHE) offered by the Oxford Learning Institute
  • Co-convenor of OUDE’s Philosophy, Religion and Education research forum.
  • Member of the Research and Development Committee of UCET (2011-13 and 2016 onwards)

Other recent commitments:

  • Elected Executive Council member and trustee of the British Educational Research Association (BERA) (2009-2012)
  • Council member of the European Educational Research Association (EERA) (2011-12)
  • Vice-chair, Horizon 2020 calls
  • Deputy Director for Research, Oxford University Department of Education
  • Research theme coordinator, Policy, Economy and Society
  • Senior Academic Advisor for research impact, Oxford University (2012-13)
  • Member of the Horizons2020 and Periscope Working Groups, EERA
  • Co-Editor of ‘Review of Education’
  • Member of BERA’s Academic Publications Committee
  • Lead Editor of ‘Research Intelligence’ (2010-2012)
  • Organising Committee Member, ECER 2014 (London) (2011-12)
  • Member of the UCET/BERA Working Group on the future of educational research (2011-12)
  • Member of the Planning Group of the UK Strategic Forum for Research in Education (2009-10)
  • Qualified PRINCE2 project management practitioner

Teaching and mentoring

Current graduate teaching:

  • Philosophy of Educational Research
  • Foundations of Educational Research (MSc and PRS)
  • Conceptualising Educational Research
  • Research Skills Training (doctoral programme)
  • Higher Education

Other recent teaching:

  • Convener of Foundations of Educational Research (MSc and PRS)
  • Strategies for Educational Research
  • Policy, Politics and Education in a Global World
  • Comparative and International Education
  • Philosophy of Education
  • Education Policy and Educational Reform
  • Contemporary Social Theory.

Mentorship: Alis is a teaching mentor for colleagues pursuing the Diploma for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. She is also involved in academic mentoring in the department.

Peer review and research evaluation

Expert reviewer of grant proposals to the Horizons 2020 (including Vice-Chair), FP7 and FP6 of the European Commission, to the Economic and Social Research Council (UK) (including membership of large grants and centres commissioning panel, 2014), the European Science Foundation , the Wellcome Trust, Education Endowment Foundation (member of reviewer pool), Defra, the British Educational Research Association, and other national and international bodies. She referees for national and international journals, including: British Educational Research Journal, Research Evaluation, Oxford Review of Education, Educational Theory; Journal of Curriculum Studies, Teaching and Teacher Education, Evidence & Policy, Scottish Educational Review, Research in Comparative Education, Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, etc.

Research programme

Understanding and Shaping Research Policy and Practice.

Recent and current projects on research policy and governance, philosophy of research and research assessment include:

  • (2015-16) Ethical quandaries in practice-based research. [Co-I with N. Fancourt].
  • (2015-16) Finding solutions to the skills gap in the historic built environment – Phase 2. Association of Small Historic Towns and Villages/ Historic Towns and Villages Forum [PI].
  • (2013-14) Developing Innovative Methods for Configurative Capture of the Cultural Value of Arts and Humanities Research. Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
  • (2015) The skills gap in the historic built environment. Knowledge exchange in the heritage sector. Funding: HEIF in partnership with the Association of Small Historic Towns and Villages and the Institute of Historic Building Conservation.
  • (2014) BERA Observatory of Educational Research
  • (2014) A Dialogue between Phenomenology and Realism in Pedagogical and Educational Research. Symposium funded by the Higher Education Academy.
  • (2013-2015) Knowledge Exchange in the Social Sciences. Funding: HEIF.
  • (2011-12) Prospects for the Future of Education Research in the UK. Review funded by the Universities Council for the Education of Teachers in collaboration with the British Educational Research Association.
  • (2011-12) Philosophical Perspectives on Teacher Education. Funding: Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain (with Janet Orchard et al).
  • (2009-10) Review of the Impact of the Research Assessment Exercise 2008 on education departments in all countries of the UK. Funded by the Universities Council for the Education of Teachers with the British Educational Research Association.
  • (2009-2011) Assessing and Demonstrating the Impact of Research across the Range of Disciplines (Social Sciences; Arts and Humanities; Medical Sciences; Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences). HEIF/ Oxford University.
  • (2006-2009) Research Quality and Research Evaluation in Education and Gerontology. A comparative study. OUDE/OIA.
  • (2009) Quality Criteria for the Assessment of Education Research in Several Contexts of Assessment (from research proposals/bidding, to project evaluation, and  to publication). Funding: ESRC/Teaching and Learning Research Programme.
  • (2006-2007) ESRC/ TLRP review of the epistemological basis of educational research findings. Led by David Bridges. Funding: ESRC/TLRP.
  •  (2003-2004) The Distribution of Educational Research Expertise in the UK post-RAE 2001. Commissioned by the British Educational Research Association.

Other funded research since 2000 includes:

  • (2004-2005) Applied and Practice-Based Educational Research. University of Oxford. Funding: Economic and Social Research Council (with John Furlong).
  •  (2004-2009) The Nuffield Review of 14-19 Education and Training. Lead director: Richard Pring. Funding: Nuffield Foundation (£1 million).
  • (2008-2010) Fixed-term employment in research – new directions in the research economy? Funding: CETL/FELL.
  • (2004-2005) Processes of Transition in Educational Systems of Central and Eastern European Countries – 15 Years On. Funding: European Science Foundation.
  • (2004-2008) Ageing Horizons. Policies for Ageing Societies. Led by Kenneth Howse. Funding: Help the Aged. Produced by: Oxford Institute of Ageing, University of Oxford.
  • (2004) Oxford Age Discrimination Survey. With: Dr. Sarah Harper and Dr. George Leeson, Oxford Institute of Ageing.
  • (2000-2002) Developing More Inclusive School Environments Within Communities. Led by Mel Ainscow. Funding: UNICEF. Researcher and local mediator.

Recent consultancies include:

  • Research impact training (2012, 2017)
  • Research management training (2011)
  • The UK RAE 2008 and the REF (2010, 2012)
  • Developing peer review guidelines (2010)
  • Rural education curriculum materials (2001)


  • Department staff

College affiliation

  • Kellogg College


  • Director of Research
  • Professor of Philosophy of Education and Research Policy

Research groups

  • Comparative and International Education
  • Higher Education
  • OSAT
  • Philosophy, Religion and Education