We are specialists in higher education research. Our expert team can provide, qualitative, quantitative or mixed-methods offers, underpinned by sector-wide datasets from our student surveys and our sector-leading higher education statistical reports. We offer multi-pronged evaluation and a specialism in equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI).
Whether you’re a sector agency, institute, university or another organisation with a higher education offer we will work with you to help higher education be the best that it can be.
How we support institutions
- Equality, diversity and inclusion audits
- Desk-based literature reviews
- Understanding hard-to-reach audiences
- EDI stats reports and data collection guidance
- Sector data advanced analysis
- Programme and policy evaluations
- Bespoke consultancy research - qualitative and quantitative
- Student surveys
If you are interested in working with Advance HE's Insights Team please contact email@example.com.
Equality, diversity and inclusion audits
Our bespoke equality audits are designed to help institutions identify where the challenges lie and what works within their own context. These audits not only provide institutions with an overview of how equality and diversity are perceived and experienced in general, but also allow institutions the opportunity to sensitively explore equality characteristics which may have historically received less attention (such as sexual orientation, gender identity, or religion/belief).
Edge Hill University commissioned Advance HE’s Insights Team to conduct a bespoke EDI review of its policies and to gather qualitative staff experiences.
Programme and policy evaluations
Some of our major pieces of work involve large-scale evaluations of major sector or institution-wide initiatives. With our sector-wide lens and specialism in both quantitative and qualitative research methods, evaluation is a main focus of what we do.
Advance HE were commisioned to undertake an independent evaluation of the Accomplished Study Programme in Research Excellence, read the project success story here.
Bespoke research – quantitative and qualitative
Solving the most complex research problems requires the most appropriate methods and often a combination of rich detail and robust data. With our expertise in conducting primary research through in-depth interviews and focus groups as well as designing and analysing some of the largest surveys in the sector we can offer a fully combined qualitative and quantitative offer. Our researchers are experienced in using analytical software including Atlas.ti and SPSS which offer a broad range of advanced techniques.
The student surveys from Advance HE have engaged with over 170,000 students over the last two years. Our surveys help institutions understand and enhance student experience and engagement, benchmark performance, and pinpoint where interventions are most needed. Advance HE's student surveys are:
Understanding Stakeholder Perceptions
Institutions are facing complex challenges in an ever changing context. To name a few: delivery modes post-pandemic; mental health and wellbeing; perceptions on value; and, the ‘culture wars’. Advance HE supports institutions to understand and identify complex challenges through the perceptions of key stakeholders to develop appropriate strategies and solutions.
Head of Business Intelligence & Surveys
Jonathan joined Advance HE in 2015, bringing with him 16 years’ experience in customer insight and market research. Jonathan graduated from the University of Liverpool with a degree in Geography, and is a full member of the Market Research Society. Heading up the insights and student surveys portfolio at Advance HE, Jonathan is co-author of the Advance HE-HEPI Student Academic Experience Survey report, and is responsible for the overall strategy for the UK Engagement Survey as well as the Postgraduate Taught and Research Experience Surveys (PTES and PRES). Jonathan has also worked across the sector collaborating on the use of the UK Engagement Survey within Learning Gain pilots. View Jonathan's recent work.
Head of Knowledge & Research
Amanda has led Advance HE’s research team since November 2017 and over the course of the last three years has helped establish the team’s unique position as qualified researchers working within the realms of higher education and equality, diversity and inclusion. Under her management, the team has been awarded several large high-profile grants including two extensive evidence reviews for UK Research and Innovation, assessing the key challenges for equality, diversity and inclusion, and identifying what types of interventions are more effective, both in the UK and internationally. View Amanda's recent work.
Jason is Surveys Executive at Advance HE and has worked on the designing, gathering and reporting of student feedback for over 15 years. Jason’s main interest is in exploring how the complex and diverse student experience can be evidenced and communicated to aid enhancement. View Jason's recent work.
Mixed Methods Researcher
Anne joined Advance HE in 2021 as a mixed-methods researcher. She has over 10 years’ professional work experience, developing expertise and knowledge in Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) at both a national and international level. Anne is in the final stages of completing a PhD in Education focusing on capturing the experiences of international students with physical disabilities/mental health conditions in UK Higher Education. She has been involved in, and led, several EDI high profile research projects within higher education and has vast experience in researching, scoping, and designing EDI enhancement projects. Her main interests lie in EDI considerations in HE, with a special focus on issues related to disability, race equity, gender equality, mixed-methods research design and project evaluation. View Anne's recent work.
Mixed Methods Researcher
Panagiota (Peny) Sotiropoulou completed her PhD in Human Geography in 2018, exploring Greek pre-service teachers’ multicultural competence and factors influencing its development at Loughborough University, before working as a part-time Geography lecturer there. She then moved on to work as an evaluation researcher for Prosper project, before joining her current role as a mixed-methods researcher for the Insights team in September 2021. Her main interests lie in EDI considerations in HE, with a special focus on issues related to race and ethnicity and her areas of specialisation involve mixed-methods research designs, impact and theory-based evaluations. In general, she loves to get involved in initiatives related to promoting equity in education as well as to work on collaborative projects, co-creating with partners from various backgrounds. View Peny's recent work.
Research and Insights Executive
Charlotte has several years of experience designing, gathering, and reporting survey data. She currently supports Advance HE’s national student surveys, guiding institutions through the survey process and advising them on how to identify best practice and areas for improvement via benchmarking. Charlotte was previously a statistician at the Department for Education, analysing large datasets for national publications. She completed her PhD in Psychology exploring how adolescents’ electronic device use impacts sleep and following day mood. Her doctoral thesis was based on quantitative survey analysis and a complex field experiment conducted during the Covid-19 pandemic, and her findings informed post-covid policy development. View Charlotte's recent work.
Florence joined Advance HE as a Quantitative Researcher in June 2023. Prior to this, she was Policy and Research Manager at the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS). Her role involved managing the delivery of the AGCAS research programme, leading quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods research projects. Florence completed her PhD in 2020, which explored approaches to addressing gender and intersectional inequalities in UK higher education (HE). She then worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Hull and Newcastle University. Although a quantitative specialist, Florence also has extensive experience leading on mixed methods and qualitative research projects. Her areas of specialism include designing and conducting equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) reviews and evaluation projects which aim to develop more inclusive cultures.
Dr Nkasi Stoll is a qualitative researcher, with a focus on inequalities and psychology. She completed her ESRC funded PhD from Kings College London. Her doctoral research explored the impact that life events and experiences have on Black undergraduate and postgraduate students mental health and wellbeing during their education journey. Her research also explores how racism in UK higher education institutions shape Black students. Nkasi is also the Co-Founder of Black People Talk and Director of Black Students Talk which designs, delivers, and evaluates services and public engagement activities focused on inequalities in mental health and health services. She is a Diversity and Inclusion consultant supporting organisations to recognise and remove barriers for a more diverse and inclusive workplace and learning environment.
Hannah is a freelance mixed-methods research and evaluation professional, leading high-profile research projects and programme evaluations related to staff and student experiences, with a particular interest in disability inclusion. She recently concluded a research project for NADP, updating guidance on base-level provision for disabled students in higher education, which was published in their Journal of Inclusive Practice in FE and HE and promoted on Wonkhe. As an Associate to Advance HE, Hannah also supported the secretariat function to the Disabled Students’ Commission for three years, an independent commission established by the former Universities Minister to improve support for disabled students in HE. As part of this work, she conducted research investigating the impact of Covid-19 on disabled students’ experiences, and – most notably - contributed to the consultation, design and launch of the Disabled Student Commitment, a document designed to enact a step-change in the sector’s response to supporting disabled students. Hannah also has a keen interest in mental health and wellbeing, demonstrated through her consultative work with Student Minds, and as a current Trustee of the University Mental Health Advisers Network.
Lateesha is a PhD holder (University of Bath) and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion consultant. Her doctoral research focused on Black students’ identity and sense of belonging in higher education. She used qualitative methods to focus on how social identities were constructed, negotiated and threatened in different social contexts. Lateesha is a psychologist whose expertise includes gender, race, sexuality and other equalities communities. Lateesha specialises in engagement with marginalised communities and has conducted interviews and focus groups with students and staff of colour. She is experienced in facilitating open, honest, and strategic discussions which identify key issues affecting minoritized communities. Her knowledge of specific race equality issues has seen Lateesha liaise with key stakeholders to recommend, influence and inform Widening Participation and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion strategies. This included feeding back her research findings to Senior Managers (including the Vice-Chancellor) at the University and asking for solutions to the issues that Black students face. As an experienced Equality, Diversity and Inclusion trainer and consultant, Lateesha has developed and delivered courses such as Unconscious Bias, Racial and Cultural Competency, Decolonising the Curriculum, and Dignity at Work for public and private sector clients. She has also designed bespoke courses and interventions for clients as well as providing robust impact and evaluation reports. Lateesha is a respected and sought after speaker who has been involved in numerous speaking engagements including, international conferences, guest lectures, discussion panels and forums.
Naomi is a scholar activist, passionate about centering the voices of individuals from the Black community in both their working environments and community spaces. Her research and activism work are informed by her positionality as both an academic and a Black British Ghanaian woman. Naomi has a BA (Hons) in Applied Social Studies, from the University of Bedfordshire and a PGCE in post compulsory education, from the Institute of Education (UCL). She is a Lecturer in Social Care with over 10 years’ experience working in the Education sector. In 2022 she was recognized for her contribution to teaching with certification of fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA). She currently teaches and module leads across Social Care and community practice degree programmes at the University of Northampton. She is also the acting Chair of the BAME Staff Network at Loughborough University. In 2023 Naomi’s work was recognized through receipt of an award for being a “Champion for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion” by Loughborough University. Naomi is a writer and public speaker, disseminating her work and knowledge through blogs, panels, presentations, and training. In addition to her doctoral research and academic role she is a freelance consultant specialising in areas such as Anti-racism, intersectionality, racial violence, colourism, and white privilege. Naomi’s research interests are in the areas of Racial equity, Gender equity, Anti-racism, and the impacts of trauma. She conducts research through a Black Feminist and Intersectional lens. Her doctoral research focuses specifically on Black women’s experiences within UK Universities, with the objective to amplify their voices and the ways in which individuals and groups navigate University spaces. Her research is interdisciplinary and influenced by a range of academic areas such as history, social psychology, human geography and sociology.
Carla has worked as a quantitative researcher since 2009. She undertook her PhD and a post-doctoral research project at UCL, both of which were in Cognitive Neuroscience / Psychology topics, and these provided her with a solid experience in terms of study and questionnaire design, statistical analysis using SPSS (including factor analysis, ANOVA, regression, and analysis of categorical data), and writing up publications / presenting results at conferences. Carla worked as a quantitative researcher at Advance HE in 2019, where she undertook statistical analysis and writing reports for several projects, including the production of the annual statistical reports on HE staff and students, bespoke research projects assessing equality within University departments, and the production of multiple summary reports of work assessing the effectiveness of interventions to improve equality. Carla has also worked as a Psychology lecturer since 2018 - as a part of this role she prepares and delivers lectures, convenes modules, supervises students, and contributes towards some aspects of programme management.
Who we work with
Disabled Students' Commission
The Disabled Students’ Commission (DSC) was announced by the former Universities Minister in June 2019 and was formed in March 2020. This independent and strategic group takes responsibility for advising, informing and influencing higher education providers to improve support for disabled students. Advance HE has responsibility for providing secretariat support, as well as overseeing the management, coordination and dissemination of research and other DSC outcomes.
Insights Spotlight Series
Wellcome Trust Success on the Board: Unlocking the power of underrepresented voices in research
Researcher: Dr Panagiota (Peny) Sotiropoulou, Mixed Methods Researcher
Our insights team evaluated the programme content for ‘Success on the Board’ to assess the impact that engagement with the programme had on participants’ board-relevant knowledge, skills and confidence.
Accomplished Study Programme in Research Excellence (ASPIRE) for Black students: Fixing the broken pipeline
Researcher: Dr Hannah Griffin-James, Quantitative Researcher
Advance HE was commisioned to undertake an independent evaluation of the Accomplished Study Programme in Research Excellence.
University of East Anglia (UEA): Review of Health Sciences student recruitment practices
Researcher: Dr Anne Rowan, Mixed Methods Researcher
Advance HE was commissioned to undertake a review of the entire application cycle to better understand what stops students from certain groups from applying to Health Sciences at UEA and why they experience the interview process differently to other applicants.