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Personal profile

Teaching Interests

Prof. Lebeau teaches global  education, qualitative research methods as well as  international higher education policies and management  at  both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.  Yann also contributes to post-graduate research training workshops  (policy analysis, qualitative data analysis) and  early career research capacity building programmes.  He supervises  both PhD and EdD students working on a range of educational questions and policies in the UK and internationally.

Preferred area of research supervision:

Higher Education Global Governance

Education Policy Transfers

Higher Education and Development


Academic Mobility

Academic Identities

Student Experience


Yann Lebeau is Professor of Higher Education Research, and Head of the School of Education and Lifelong Learning. He joined the School in 2007 after holding teaching and research positions in France (Brest, Bordeaux), in Nigeria (Ibadan) and at the UK's Open University. His research interests are in the sociology of higher education communities and where higher education, policy and social change intersect. He has done extensive empirical research on the University/society nexus and on questions  of  international policy transfers, internationalisation, academic  mobility,  in Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, and in Europe.  Yann is a member of several education and development research networks. He has been involved  for 20 years in desgining and supporting  research training and research capacity  building   worldwide, notably with the  Open Society Foundations and with the Council for the Development of Social Sciences in Africa  (CODESRIA).

Yann  has been teaching and supervising on both postgraduate and undergraduate programmes of the School. Alongside  his involvement in the School's leadership and management as Chair of the Ethics Committee (2009-11), Deputy Head of School (2010-13), leader of the higher education research group (2010-20),  course director of the Masters in Education (2011-13),  and Director of Research (2018-20), Yann has been a member of the University Senate (2010-1013) and was Associate Dean with responsibility for the Faculty of Social Sciences Graduate School from 2013 to 2018.

Key Research Interests

Internationalisation of Higher Education

Academic mobility

Comparative perspectives on university governance

Higher Education policies in the Global South

Yann currently leads a research  project  investigating  the  UNESCO agenda for inclusion in access to Higher  Education  with particular interest  in  the  Gobal  Convention  and  UNESCO Qualification Passport for Refugees. This project also involves Abass Isiaka  and Theresa Frey.

 Yann  recently  completed international  collaborative  projects  on  the impact of policy  transfers  on the governance  of public universities in Saudi Arabia (with Jaber Alruwaili, Jouf University),   on the drivers of expansion of Higher Education in Africa  (with  Ibrahim Oanda, CODESRIA as part of the  UNRISD programme  on Universities and Social Inequalities in the Global South), and  on  the  international  mobility patterns of Mexican academics ( with  Etienne Gerard , CEPED, Université de Paris) . The latter  study is an offshoot of  the large international study of Mexican academic and scientific mobility led by Rocio Grediaga (UAM) published  (in Spanish) in December 2019 by the Mexican publisher  Siglo XXI.

Other completed  international research  collaborations  include the ESRC-NRF network programme and book led by Jenni Case and  Paul Ashwin on Higher Education Pathways: South African Undergraduate Education and the Public Good (published December 2018),  and a study  of European research collaborations in the social sciences (Lebeau and Papatsiba  2016).   

Previous research projects in the UK looked at the Social and Organizational Mediations of University Learning (ESRC-TLRP funded), and at Regional perspectives on the role of higher education institutions in social transformation (ESRC Funded). These collaborative projects generated a number of publications and presentations, including the books Improving What is learned at university (2010)  and The University in Its Place (Springer 2018). 

Yann is a member of several education and development research networks, and a member of the editorial boards of Policy Reviews in Higher Education and of the British Journal of Sociology of Education. He was editor of the Journal of Higher Education in Africa (CODESRIA) until December 2011. He initiated and led  a research group  on Higher Education Research (RHES) in UEA from 2010 to 2020

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 4 - Quality Education

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or