Centre for Higher Education and Equity Research (CHEER)

Research projects


Supporting Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Educational Transitions: 2019 - (ongoing)

Dr Emily DanversDr Tamsin Hinton-Smith and Chris Derbyshire have been working on several projects looking at access to higher education for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) young people. GRT are a vastly under-represented group in higher education, with estimates suggesting that less than 1% of young people go on to university in the UK. A key factor to this educational trajectory is a lack of progression through compulsory schooling with GRT pupils having higher overall  and persistent absence rates than any other ethnic group in England and the lowest average attainment score at key stage four. Some of the main contributing issues cited for this education ‘achievement gap’ include experiences of racism and bullying, a lack of understanding of GRT culture by teachers, as well as cultural and historical valuing of particular forms of work. 

They have completed the following projects on this area:

The team is currently engaged in the following ongoing projects:

  • Supporting four schools across Sussex to provide targeted support and resources for GRT learners, including training for teachers themed around access to higher education. This is an expansion of the first GRT outreach programme to explore how this work could be scaled upwards. This work is led by Chris Derbyshire and funded by the Sussex Learning Network.
  • Creating a website and training for educational professionals wanting to focus on supporting GRT inclusion in higher education. This work is being led by Dr Emily Danvers with Tess Michaels as research assistant and is funded by the ESRC Sussex Knowledge Exchange Fund.
Gender Parity in Higher Education - A case study of Andhra Pradesh: April 2020 - (ongoing)

Louise Morley and Janet Boddy are working with Professor Uma Vennam and Professor Vijaya Lakshmi, from Sri Padmavati Mahila Visvavidyalayam (Women's University), Tirupathi, India on a British Council-funded research study to analyse the factors contributing to gender disparity in higher education in Andhra Pradesh (AP). The research is:

  • Analysing the gender gap in higher education in the state;  
  • Identifying ways to increase female enrolment in higher education;  
  • Developing an effective 'gender-responsive' governance framework across sectors;  
  • Facilitating the State Government to accelerate efforts towards advancing gender equality in higher education.  

The study findings and recommendations will be presented to the AP government.


Internationally Mobile Female Scholars: October 2020 - July 2021

Louise Morley and Yasser Kosbar (CHEER Research Fellow) worked with GESIS (Leibniz-Institut für Sozialwissenschaften, Köln, Germany) on a Humboldt Foundation-funded project that aimed to attract more excellent women scientists to the Humboldt Network. 

Within the framework of this study, the mobility culture and specific aspects of the scientific careers of women scientists was addressed. 

The following dossiers were produced by the CHEER team at the culmination of the project:

Higher Education, Inequality and the Public Good in four African Countries - South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana: 2019-21

Louise Morley is a Co-Investigator on the three-year research project, Higher Education, Inequality and the Public Good in four African Countries - South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana, located in the Centre for Researching Education and Labour (REAL), University of the Witwatersrand, and the Centre for Education and International Development (CEID) at the UCL Institute of Education, UK. 

The project is funded jointly by the UK's ESRC-Newton Fund and the National Research Foundation in South Africa.

Understanding the Mental Health of Doctoral Researchers: 1 April 2018 - 31 January 2020

The overarching aim of the wider Office for Students funded project is to provide a sustainable best practice model for the sector to address the challenge of doctoral researcher (PhD student) mental health.

With limited existing research on the prevalence of mental health problems amongst doctoral researchers, the research package seeks to improve our understandings relating to two central questions:

  • What are the mental health needs of doctoral researchers studying in the UK?
  • What factors may influence and be influenced by doctoral researcher mental health?  

The research package is currently underway and is being conducted by University of Sussex researcher Dr Clio Berry (Research Fellow, School of Psychology) and Associate Researcher Dr Cassie Hazell.

The research package is a mixed methods exploration of doctoral researcher mental health and associated problems. It includes:

  • A systematic review of the existing research literature around doctoral researcher mental health
  • A short, anonymous online survey, Understanding the mental health of doctoral researchers (U-DOC), which any doctoral researcher studying at a UK university is eligible to complete.
  • Focus groups conducted with doctoral researchers at the University of Sussex.

See more details.

Chilean Higher Education: Interrogating Knowledge, Internationalisation and Gender: 2018-19

A new research network comprising CHEER and the University of Chile, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaiso and Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. See details on the web page for this network.

Higher Education, Knowledge Exchange and Policy Learning in the Asian Century: Nov 2016 - Oct 2019

 See details on the web page for this research study.

Higher Education, Internationalisation and Mobility: Jan 2015 - Dec 2017

See details on the web pages for this research study.

Optimising refugee resettlement in the UK: A comparative analysis: Sept 2013 - Feb 2016

Dr Linda Morrice

A research project funded by ESRC.

Working with Sussex colleagues Mike Collyer (Geography) and Rupert Brown (Social Psychology), Linda is co-investigator on this longitudinal, multi-method study exploring the integration outcomes for resettled refugees in the UK.

Title: 'Cultural values from the subaltern perspective: A phenomenology of refugees'

A research project funded by AHRC 2013

Working with Sally Munt, Professor of Cultural Studies, Linda is co-investigator on this project which explores understandings of 'Britishness' and 'British' identity in the context of growing critiques of multiculturalism and a shift towards more assimilationist Government policies.

Women in higher education leadership in South Asia: 2014-15

Professor Louise Morley and Dr Barbara Crossouard

A research project funded by the British Council.

The British Council in Pakistan commissioned this research in response to concerns in the profession about the under-representaton of women in senior leadership positions in higher education (HE) in South Asia. The research aimed to seek existing knowledge and baseline data from literature, policies, change interventions and available statistics on the situation for women in HE leadership in six countries in South Asia: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. It also collected original data via 30 interviewswith women and men academics in the region, and constructed recommendations about what specific future actions and interventions for change could be implemented in South Asia.

See details of the project on the Women in Higher Education Leadership in South Asia web pages.

Women in Higher Education Leadership in South Asia: Full Report [PDF 1.97MB]
Women in Higher Education Leadership in South Asia: Executive Summary [PDF 312.29KB].

The contribution of pre-entry interventions to student retention and success: May - July 2012

Dr Louise Gazeley and Dr Sarah Aynsley

A literature review funded by the Higher Education Authority (HEA).

Undertaken by Education research centre CTLR, this is one of seven syntheses drawing on the Widening Access, Student Retention and Success (WASRS) National Programme Archive. Dissemination took place in autumn 2012.

Applied research into the experience of black and minority ethnic staff working in higher education: Dec 2009 - Jan 2011

Professor Valerie Hey, Dr Mairead Dunne and Dr Sarah Aynsley

A research project funded by the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) and submitted by the Centre for Higher Education Resarch and Information (CHERI), the Open University, and the Centre for Higher Education and Equity Research (CHEER), University of Sussex.

The aim of the project is to improve the experiences of black and minority ethnic staff in higher education through examining institutional practices and the experience of black and minority ethnic staff in three thematic areas: management practice, support frameworks and relationships, and leadership and development.

The Final Report for this project is downloadable here.

Widening participation in higher education in Ghana and Tanzania: Developing an Equity Scorecard: 2006-10

Title: 'Widening Participation in Higher Education in Ghana and Tanzania: Developing an Equity Scorecard' - ESRC-DFID.

This three year project investigated interventions for widening participation in one public university and one private university in Ghana and Tanzania. Taking widening participation as a focus, the overall aim was to interrogate what universities are doing in relation to poverty reduction and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

The project produced 100 Equity Scorecards on Access, Retention and Achievement.

Widening participation in higher education in Ghana and Tanzania: Impact, influence and innovation: July - Dec 2010

Professor Louise Morley

A research project funded by ESRC.

This follow-on project consolidated, deepened and intensified a research partnership established over the three years between Ghana, Tanzania and the UK. It involved inputs from colleagues in research and policy fields in Ghana and Tanzania, as well as from those working in international education more generally.

The aim was to generate impact via three Knowledge Exchange and Impact Enhancement Seminars (Ghana, Tanzania and UK). This included verifying and exchanging knowledge developed in the course of the existing project with policymakers, universities and community organisations, with a view to achieving significant policy impact.

An exploration of the career trajectories of newly qualified researchers: 2008-09

Dr Barbara Crossouard

A research project funded by the Society for Research into Higher Education.

The career trajectories of newly qualified researchers has become a priority issue in policy agendas in many parts of the world, including the US, the EU and the UK. The study uses a mixed method approach, including an online questionnaire and interviews with a range of respondents from different disciplines, to explore potential equity issues associated with these developments.

Needs of employers and related organisations for information about quality and standards for higher education: 2006

Funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

Visit the HEFCE website archive for details.