Dr Vassiliki Papatsiba

Vassiliki Papatsiba staff webpageSenior Lecturer in Higher Education
Director of the Centre for the Study of Higher Education
(+44) (0)114 222 8152
Fax: (+44) (0)114 222 8105
Email: v.papatsiba@sheffield.ac.uk

Orcid id: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3005-1162

Dr Vassiliki Papatsiba researches issues about universities, research and higher education in a globalised context. She specialises in the sociological study of University, with emphasis on internationalisation issues, from a comparative, mainly European, perspective. She also has a keen interest in research policy and its implications for academic practice. Her current research programme is concerned with the critical analysis of public policies of knowledge generation in Higher Education and its effects on academic conduct.

Research Interests

Research interests

Academic agendas of knowledge generation, collaboration and public policies

Vassiliki is investigating knowledge agendas in the academy, and the effects of research funding, policies and institutional governance on scientific rationality and individual behaviours of researchers. This strand of inquiry is being actively pursued through her EU-funded research project, namely ‘European Universities in the era of Knowledge and Networks’ (EUKnow, ongoing until December 2013) and a new project that she is developing with Dr Yann Lebeau (University of East Anglia) which examines current practice and perceptions of research collaboration among European social science researchers.

Universities, their communities and networks within Knowledge societies

Vassiliki is researching the role of networks and how these alter the conditions under which universities work, but also engage with and impact upon society. Vassiliki is currently involved in a collaborative multi-country investigation into how higher education institutions are networked in knowledge societies in three regions of the world: Europe, the USA and Japan. The ‘Change in Networks, Higher Education and Knowledge Societies (CINHEKS)’ project is funded by the European Science Foundation’s Higher Education and Social Change (EuroHESC) research programme. Within this strand of research, Vassiliki is working on comparative profiles of HEIs and is also interested in the ways in which networking elicits strategies of differentiation, 'world-class’ drift and constructions of excellence, as well as tendencies of exclusion and/or inclusion with respect to the production, circulation and use of knowledge.

Internationalisation in HE

Vassiliki has developed a keen interest in a broader set of issues that relate to policy and practice of Internationalisation in HE:

  • critical study of supranational policies and the Bologna Process
  • convergence processes and comparative methodology of case studies of HEIs
  • competitiveness, and its impact on systems, institutions and academic communities
  • understandings of the role of higher education and research, academic freedom and conceptions of the student

Within this strand of research, she conducted a comparative study on cross-European collaborative initiatives in study programmes at Master’s level in Engand, France, Norway and Spain (European Universities and Rationales of Tradition and Change- EURoTaC), for which she earned a prestigious Marie-Curie Intra-European Fellowship (EIF) at the University of Oxford.

Academic Mobility, post-national citizenship and identity

Vassiliki has a longstanding interest in the governing ends of educational policies, and the ways in which they shape student identities. She researched EU policies and student experiences of mobility within the Erasmus programme. Her doctoral research on the same topic (2002, University of Paris X-France), received the second prize for best thesis in social sciences in 2002, and subsequently led to a single-authored book (2003) and various peer-reviewed publications.



Vassiliki directs the EdD programme in Higher Education, based in Dublin, and is a member of the teaching team of the Higher Education route within the Education Doctorate (EdD) in Sheffield. She was the programme director of the ESRC-accredited Master’s in Educational Research (2009-2012).

She was the School of Education lead for the successful application for establishing one of the 21 newly created ESRC Doctoral Training Centres (DTCs) at the Faculty of Social Sciences within the White Rose consortium (University of Sheffield, University of Leeds and University of York).

She is also the School coordinator of the student scholarship competitions.

Vassiliki particularly welcomes inquiries for doctoral studies in the following areas:

  • Internationalisation / Globalisation and their impact on national policies, systems and academic communities;
  • EU policies, Bologna Process reforms and implementation, policy transfer;
  • Academic profession, collaboration and networks;
  • Student mobility, citizenship and identity;
  • Comparative methodology and case studies.


(2002) OVE-National Observatory for students' life, France, Paris: 2nd Prize in annual competition of doctoral dissertations completed in 2001-2002 in Social Sciences.
(2005) Marie-Curie Intra-European Fellowship (IEF). Individual Fellowship at the University of Oxford, Department of Education, from 01/06 to 12/07. Grant awarded: €220,822. Success rate 2005: 15%.
(2007) European Science Foundation (ESF), ‘ESF Humanities Spring 2007'. Leading young scholars award on the theme of "Disciplines and Borders: Humanities Research in an age of Inter-disciplinarity".



Click here for Journal Articles

Lomer, S., Papatsiba, V., and Naidoo, R. (2016 Online first) Constructing a national higher education brand for the UK: positional competition and promised capitals. Studies in Higher Education.  (Free to download - Open Access)

Lebeau, Y and Papatsiba, V. (2016) Conceptions and expectations of research collaboration in the European Social sciences. Research policies, institutional contexts and the autonomy of the scientific field. European Educational Research Journal, 15(4), 377–394.

Valimaa, J., Papatsiba, V., and Hofmann, D. (2016) Higher Education in Networked Knowledge Societies. In D.M. Hoffman, J. Välimaa (Eds.) Re-becoming Universities? Higher Education Institutions in Networked Knowledge Societies. Springer, pp. 13-39

Brennan, J. Papatsiba, V. Sousa, S., and Hofmann, D. (2016) Diversity of Higher Education Institutions in Networked Knowledge Societies: a Comparative Examination. In D.M. Hoffman, J. Välimaa (Eds.) Re-becoming Universities? Higher Education Institutions in Networked Knowledge Societies. Springer, pp. 115-139.

Papatsiba, V. (2013) Policy Goals of European Integration and Competitiveness in Academic Collaborations: An Examination of Joint Master's and Erasmus Mundus Programmes. Higher Education Policy advance online publication 4 June. doi:10.1057/hep.2013.13

Papatsiba, V. (2013) The Idea of Collaboration in the Academy, its Epistemic and Social Potentials and Risks for Knowledge Generation. Policy Futures in Education, 11(4). 436-448.

This article is accompanied by two responses:

RONALD BARNETT (2013) Potentials and Risks of Collaboration: two sides of the same coin or the same side of the coin? A Response to Vassiliki Papatsiba, Policy Futures in Education, 11(4), 449-452.
JENNY OZGA (2013) Acts of Construction: the conditions of collaboration, Policy Futures in Education, 11(4), 453-455.

Papatsiba, V. (2009) European higher education policy and the formation of entrepreneurial students as future European citizens. European Education Research Journal, 8(2), 189-203.

Biesta, G., Kwiek, M., Lock, G. Martins, H., Masschelein, J. Papatsiba, V., Simons, M., Zgaga, P. (2009) What Is the Public Role of the University? A Proposal for a Public Research Agenda. European Education Research Journal, 8 (2), pp. 249-254.

Papatsiba, V. (2006) Making higher education more European through student mobility? Revisiting EU initiatives in the context of the Bologna process. Comparative Education, 42/1, pp. 93-111.

Papatsiba, V. (2006) Erasmus mobility and experiences of cultural distance or proximity. In Michael Byram and Anwei Feng (Eds), Living and Studying Abroad. Research and Practice. Multilingual Matters, pp. 108-133.

Papatsiba, V. (2005) Student mobility in Europe: an academic, cultural and mental journey? Some conceptual reflections and empirical findings. In Malcolm Tight (Ed.) International Perspectives on Higher Education Research: International Relations, Vol 3. Elsevier Science/JAI Press, pp. 29-65.

Papatsiba, V. (2005) Political and individual rationales of student mobility: a case study of Erasmus and a French scheme for studies abroad. European Journal of Education, vol 2, pp. 173-188.

Papatsiba, V. (2004) La construction des compétences à l'heure de la mobilité. Tensions entre conceptions européennes, régionales et individuelles. [Building competencies in the era of mobility. Tensions between European, National and Individual conceptions]. Cahiers du CIEP (Centre International d'Etudes Pédagogiques), pp. 10-23.

Papatsiba, V. (2003) Des étudiants européens. "Erasmus" et l'aventure de l'altérité. [European Students. Erasmus and the adventure of otherness]. Bern: Peter Lang, 290 p. ISBN 3-03910-197-8.

Papatsiba, V. (2002). Ecrire pour une commande administrative: le destinataire, son rôle et son influence sur l'écriture d'une expérience étudiante, [Responding to an administrative request: the role of the addressee in students' reports of experiences abroad]. Spirale, Journal of Educational Research, Special Issue on Literacy in Higher Education, 29, pp. 221-245.

Moscarola, J., Papatsiba, V., & Baulac, Y. (2002). Exploration sans a priori ou recherche orientée par un modèle: Contributions et limites de l'analyse lexicale pour l'étude de corpus documentaires [Exploring without a priori assumptions, or research orientated by a model: Contributions and limits of lexical analyses for the study of texts]. Lexicometrica. [Online], pp. 581-592.

Papatsiba, V. (2002). Apprentissages et acquis dans les échanges étudiants en Europe : formation universitaire ou formation "personnelle"? In M. Callari-Galli & D. Londei, (dir.) Scambi interuniversitari. Sviluppo dei rapporti fra le culture europee nelle giovani generazioni. [Inter university exchanges and the development of relationships between European cultures in the young generations], Heuresis Strumenti, 32, Bologna: Clueb, pp. 89-124.

Papatsiba, V. (2001). Etre étudiant Erasmus: Ecrire son experience. In G. Paganini, (Ed.), Différences et proximités culturelles: L'Europe, espaces de recherche [Differences and cultural proximity: Europe, an area of research]. Paris: L'Harmattan, pp. 259-262


Brennan, J., Knight, P., Papatsiba, V. (2004) Towards a Research Strategy on Learning & Teaching in Higher Education. Report of a study to assist HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council of England) in the development of a long-term research and evaluation plan to underpin its policies on learning and teaching. HEFCE. p. 48.

Professional publications

Papatsiba, V. (2007) Europe: the harmonization of HE systems progresses slowly. Oxford Analytica, Global strategic analysis. (April 9, 2007)

Papatsiba, V. (2006) The Bologna process: historical and analytical perspectives. Higher Education Digest, Supplement, vol°54, pp. 4-6. London, Centre for Higher Education Research and Information. ISBN 978-0-7492-1254-4

Papatsiba, V. (2004) Erasmus Mobility: students in the European adventure. International Association of Universities IAU Newsletter, Special Issue ‘Higher education and Mobility', vol°10, n°1-2, pp.5-6.

Papatsiba, V. (2004) Harmonisation, mobilité internationale : progrès ou menace des idéaux universitaires? [Harmonisation, international mobility: progress or threat to University ideals?] Factuel, n°115, pp. 4-5. ISSN 1270-2242.

Papatsiba, V. (2003) Point de vue sur les programmes d'échanges. Interview given to H. Bienaimé, journalist for Jeunes à Paris (monthly magazine for H.E. students, 150 000 copies), n°127, September 2003, p.88. ISSN 1146-3171.

Papatsiba, V. (2003) Comment réussir son année à l'étranger? Collaboration with Elsa Fayner, journalist for "Le Point" Grandes Ecoles-Universités,n°s1631-1632, 19/12/2003, p .2.