James Robson is Director of the Centre for Skills, Knowledge, and Organisational Performance (SKOPE) and Associate Professor of Tertiary Education Systems.

He also leads the MSc in Higher Education, and sits on the Research Management Committee and is CI of the Centre for Global Higher Education.

James’ research focuses on the political economy of Tertiary Education systems, bringing together key interests in the nexus of education and employment, the critical study of skills supply and demand, research eco-systems, access, social justice and sustainability. He has received major funding from the ESRC, the AHRC, the GCRF, the Edge Foundation, the Royal Society, the British Academy, the Office for Students and Research England.


Book chapters
  • Robson, J. (2023). Graduate employability and employment. In Assessing the Contributions of Higher Education: Knowledge for a Disordered World (pp. 177-195).

  • ROBSON, J. (2023). Graduate employment and employability. In S. Marginson, B. Cantwell, D. Platonova, & A. Smolentseva (Eds.), Assessing the contributions of higher education. Edward Elgar.

  • Puttick, S., Chandrachud, P., Chopra, R., Robson, J., Singh, S., & Talks, I. (2022). Climate change education: following the information. In L. Hammond, M. Biddulph, S. Catling, & J. McKendrick (Eds.), Children, Education and Geography: Rethinking Intersections (pp. 168-181). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003248538

  • O’Sullivan, K., Robson, J., Hannon, C., & Winters, N. (2018). Migrating Innovations Across National Boundaries Starting Early Access Interventions in the United Kingdom. In ACTIONABLE RESEARCH FOR EDUCATIONAL EQUITY AND SOCIAL JUSTICE: HIGHER EDUCATION REFORM IN CHINA AND BEYOND (pp. 88-108).

  • Robson, J. (2017). Online Networking: the future of RE Teacher CPD?. In M. Chater & M. Castelli (Eds.), We Need to Talk About RE. Jessica Kingsley.

  • Robson, J. (2017). Participant Anonymity vs Participant Observations: situating the researcher within digital ethnography. In M. Zimmer & K. Kinder-Kurlanda (Eds.), Internet Research Ethics for the Social Age: New Cases and Challenges. Peter Lang.

  • Journal articles
  • Puttick, S., Chandrachud, P., Chopra, R., Khosla, R., Robson, J., Singh, S., & Talks, I. (2023). Knowledge, crisis and (un)certainty in climate change education in India. British Educational Research Journal. https://doi.org/10.1002/berj.3939

  • Miller, E., Crane, C., Medlicott, E., Robson, J., & Taylor, L. (2023). Non-positive experiences encountered by pupils during participation in a mindfulness-informed school-based intervention. School Mental Health, 15(3), 851-872. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12310-023-09591-0

  • McKay, F., & Robson, J. (2023). ‘Structured agency’, normalising power, and third space workers: higher education professional services staff as regulatory policy actors. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 47(5), 633-646. https://doi.org/10.1080/0309877X.2023.2177526

  • Relly, S., & Robson, J. (2022). Unpacking the tensions between local and national skills policy: employers, colleges and Local Enterprise Partnerships as collaborative anchors. London Review of Education, 20(1). https://doi.org/10.14324/LRE.20.1.46

  • Robson, J. (2022). Stigma and spoiled identities: rescripting career norms for precariously employed academic staff. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 44(1), 183-198. https://doi.org/10.1080/01425692.2022.2137464

  • Robson, J., Randhawa, A., & Keep, E. (2021). Employability skills in mainstream education: Innovations in schooling and institutional isomorphism. British Educational Research Journal, 48(1), 120-136. https://doi.org/10.1002/berj.3756

  • Oancea, A., Fancourt, N., Robson, J., Thompson, I., Childs, A., & Nuseibeh, N. (2021). Research capacity-building in teacher education. Oxford Review of Education, 47(1), 98-119. https://doi.org/10.1080/03054985.2020.1842184

  • Tickell, A., Byng, R., Crane, C., Gradinger, F., Hayes, R., Robson, J., Cardy, J., Weaver, A., Morant, N., & Kuyken, W. (2020). Recovery from recurrent depression with mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and antidepressants: A qualitative study with illustrative case studies. BMJ Open, 10(2). https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2019-033892

  • Winters, N., Eynon, R., Geniets, A., Robson, J., & Kahn, K. (2019). Can we avoid digital structural violence in future learning systems?. Learning, Media and Technology, 45(11), 17-30. https://doi.org/10.1080/17439884.2020.1708099

  • Winters, N., Langer, L., Nduku, P., Robson, J., O’Donovan, J., Maulik, P., Paton, C., Geniets, A., Peiris, D., & Nagraj, S. (2019). Using mobile technologies to support the training of community health workers in low-income and middle-income countries: mapping the evidence. BMJ Global Health, 4(4). https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjgh-2019-001421

  • O’Sullivan, K., Bird, N., Robson, J., & Winters, N. (2019). Academic identity, confidence and belonging: the role of contextualised admissions and foundation years in higher education. British Educational Research Journal, 45(3), 554-575. https://doi.org/10.1002/berj.3513

  • O’Sullivan, K., Byrne, D., Robson, J., & Winters, N. (2019). Who goes to college via access routes? A comparative study of widening participation admission in selective universities in Ireland and England. Social Inclusion, 7(1), 38-51. https://doi.org/10.17645/si.v7i1.1647

  • Wilde, S., Sonley, A., Crane, C., Ford, T., Raja, A., Robson, J., Taylor, L., & Kuyken, W. (2018). Mindfulness training in UK secondary schools: a multiple case study approach to identification of cornerstones of implementation. Mindfulness, 10(2), 376-389. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-018-0982-4

  • O’Sullivan, K., Robson, J., & Winters, N. (2018). ‘I feel like I have a disadvantage’: how socio-economically disadvantaged students make the decision to study at a prestigious university. Studies in Higher Education, 44(9), 1676-1690. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2018.1460591

  • Robson, J. (2017). A Strategic Approach to Research in RE. RE Today: Professional Reflection.

  • Robson, J. (2017). Performance, structure and ideal identity: reconceptualising teachers’ engagement in online social spaces. British Journal of Educational Technology, 49(3), 439-450. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjet.12551

  • Robson, J. (2016). Engagement in structured social space: an investigation of teachers’ online peer-to-peer interaction. Learning Media and Technology, 41(1), 119-139. https://doi.org/10.1080/17439884.2015.1102743
    DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/17439884.2015.1102743

  • Moulin, D., & Robson, J. (2012). Doing God in a liberal democracy. OXFORD REVIEW OF EDUCATION, 38(5), 539-550. https://doi.org/10.1080/03054985.2012.722863
    DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/03054985.2012.722863

  • Internet publication
  • Robson, J., O’Sullivan, K., & Winters, N. (2017). Black students on going to Oxbridge: ‘it’s not even asked or pushed for, it’s just assumed no one is applying’. The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/black-students-on-going-to-oxbridge-its-not-even-asked-or-pushed-for-its-just-assumed-no-one-is-applying-87279

  • Robson, J. (2017). Reconceptualising the place of non-religious worldviews in RE: moving beyond dichotomous thinking. RE Matters.

  • Robson, J. (2016). What are the big ideas in Religious Education?. RE Matters.

  • Robson, J. (2016). Research in Religious Education: What is it, who should do it, and how should it be shared?. RE Matters.

  • Robson, J. (2015). Epistemic Change in RE: how we got here and where we’re going. RE:Online. http://www.reonline.org.uk/news/think-piece-epistemic-change-and-re-how-we-got-here-and-where-were-going-dr-james-robson/

  • Robson, J. (2012). Fear and the Internet. Oxford Ed Tech. https://oxedtech.wordpress.com/2012/11/16/fear-and-the-internet/

  • Reports
  • Robson, J., E, M., Nuseibeh, N., Tawell, A., Hart, B., Stewart, J., Keep, E., & Marginson, S. (2023). The value of the humanities: understanding the career destinations of Oxford humanities graduates. Oxford University, Humanities Department. https://doi.org/10.5287/ora-9ebmjvrp7

  • James Relly, S., Robson, J., Emms, K., Laczik, A., Randhawa, A., Aizawa, I., Dong, L., Hwang, S., Pinto, V., & Zlock, Z. (2021). Drivers of technical excellence in the skills economy. WorldSkills UK. https://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:9e4c4607-b5df-4d64-a7c5-3437eb17c49c

  • Robson, J., Holgate, B., & Randhawa, A. (2021). Storycraft: the importance of narrative and narrative skills in business. AHRC. https://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:81bb9c20-0896-47cb-aa14-26a41817e591

  • ROBSON, J., RANDHAWA, A., & KEEP, E. (2018). Employability Skills Development in Studio Schools: Investigating the use of the CREATE Framework. The Edge Foundation. http://www.edge.co.uk/research/research-reports/report-on-the-create-curriculum-framework-in-studio-schools

  • Robson, J. (n.d.). Mills, D., Oancea, A. and Robson, J. (2017) Harnessing Research on Education in the UK. Report to the Royal Society and British Academy Joint Enquiry on Educational Research. London: Royal Society / British Academy.

  • Robson, J. (n.d.). Oancea, A., Fancourt, N., Robson, J., Thompson, I., Childs, A., (2017) Evaluation of WISERDEducation: Report for HEFCW. Cardiff: HEFCW.

  • ROBSON, J., & OANCEA, A. (n.d.). Approaches to Impact in Research Funded by the Oxford Martin School. Oxford Martin School.

  • Robson, J. (n.d.). Being a Teacher in the Digital Age: a report on teachers’ professional engagement in online social spaces, Briefing paper for the DfE.

  • Other
  • OANCEA, A., XU, X., ROBSON, J., McDermott, T., & SCUTT, C. (2021). Educational research in the United Kingdom, 2010–2020. In Research Intelligence (Vols. 149, pp. 26-27). https://www.bera.ac.uk/publication/winter-2021-22

  • Funded Research Projects

    • Developing just selection structures and processes for post-graduate research degrees
    • Analysing the UK Tertiary Landscape
    • Green Skills and the Green Economy
    • Educational Research: Understanding the Research Landscape
    • People Practice and Policy: Drivers of Tertiary Technical Excellence. A seven country comparative study
    • Climate Change Education Futures - Employability and the Green Economy in India
    • Understanding the Value of Humanities Degrees: graduate employability, skills, and wider value
    • Employability Skills and the CREATE Framework
    • Innovation, impact and interdisciplinarity: analysis of impact in the Oxford Martin School
    • Foundation Years and Widening Participation in Elite HE
    • Mapping evidence of effective use of mobile technologies for the professional learning of community healthcare workers in LMICs
    • Evaluation of Wiserd Education
    • Harnessing Research on Education in the UK: Analysis of the Educational Research Landscape