Members of the GII

The Managing Director and Expert in Employability and Impact Assessment:

Dr. Uwe Brandenburg

Uwe Brandenburg holds a PhD from Bristol University. He is the Managing Director of the Global Impact Institute as of July 1st 2017 and visiting professor at the ESCP Business School at their campus in Berlin. He also was Associate Professor for Regional Cooperation and Impact of Higher Education at the Universitat Rovira I Virgili, Tarragona, Spain (2017-2021). Previously, he was a managing partner at CHE Consult Berlin and CHE Consult Prague (2013-2017), worked as a project manager at CHE Consult and CHE (2006-2012) and headed the International Office at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin for (1997-2005) and the International office at the Technical University in Cottbus, Germany (1994-1997).

Uwe was the head author and team leader for various major studies on impact and assessment such as the Erasmus Impact Study (2013-14) and the follow-up EIS Regional Analysis (2016) the European Voluntary Service Impact Study (2016-17), the InHoPe Project – funded by the German BMBF on internationalisation of administrative staff (2014-17), the IMPI project (Indicators for Mapping and Profiling Internationalisation) (2009-12), and also lead a number of advisory projects in the fields of mobility, internationalisation, controlling, strategy development, organisation development, diversity management, benchmarking, and quality control (EMQT, IMS2020, various Tempus projects). He has published widely on financing models for studying abroad, international education systems (inter alia on China with ca. 95,000 downloads to date), foreign marketing, internationalisation, EU projects regarding benchmarking, internationalisation, and Change Management at European universities. He is specialising in effect measurement in general and in effects of mobility in particular. Uwe was an elected member of the General Council of the European Association for International Educators (EAIE) and currently serves as an elected member of the Convocation Court of the University of Bristol. He was a core expert to the IAU (International Association of Universities) and to the Ad Hoc expert group on internationalisation. Uwe has more than 20 years professional experience in internationalisation and project leadership. He holds a British Masters’ Degree in Political Science and a German Masters’ Degree in Islamic Studies (Arabic and Turkish). Besides English – native speaker level – he is also fluent in Spanish as well as French and speaks Arabic and Czech.

Senior Advisor and Leadership Expert:

Prof. Dr. Sir Eric Thomas

Sir Eric Thomas was knighted for services to Higher Education in 2013. He was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bristol from 2001 to 2015. He was President of Universities UK from 2001 to 2013 and Chair of the Worldwide University Network from 2003 to 2007. He chaired the Government Taskforce into Increasing Voluntary Donations to Higher Education which reported in 2004, the so called Thomas Report.

He graduated in Medicine from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1976 becoming a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist in 1987 until 2001. He was Head of the School of Medicine and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Biological Sciences at the University of Southampton from 1995 to 2000.He is currently a Governor of the University of the Arts London and a trustee of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, HRH Commonwealth  Study Conferences  and IntoUniversity. He is on the International Advisory Board for Ashinaga, a large Japanese educational charity.

Senior Advisor and Global Tertiary Education Expert

Prof. em. Dr. Jamil Salmi

Prof. em. Dr. Jamil Salmi is a global tertiary education expert providing policy advice to governments, universities, professional associations, multilateral development banks and bilateral cooperation agencies. Until January 2012, he was the World Bank’s tertiary education coordinator. In the past twenty-five years, Dr. Salmi has provided advice on tertiary education development and strategic planning to governments and university leaders in more than 100 countries all over the world. Dr. Salmi is Emeritus Professor of higher education policy at Diego Portales University in Chile and Research Fellow at Boston College’s Center for Higher Education. He is also a member of the International Quality Assurance Advisory Group, and chair of the Board of the Chilean EdTech startup uPlanner.

Dr. Salmi’s 2009 book addresses the “Challenge of Establishing World-Class Universities”. His 2011 book, co-edited with Professor Phil Altbach, was entitled “The Road to Academic Excellence: the Making of World-Class Research Universities”. His latest book, “Tertiary Education and the Sustainable Development Goals”, was published in August 2017. In December 2020, Dr. Salmi published a study on the impact of Covid on higher education through the equity lens. Jamil Salmi holds a Master in Public and International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh and a PhD in development studies from the University of Sussex.

Senior Advisor and Expert for Latin America

Prof. Dr. Jocelyne Gacel-Ávila

Prof. Dr. Jocelyne Gacel-Ávila holds a PhD in International Education and Master of Arts in Foreign Languages ​​and Civilisations at the University of Paris (French, English and German). Currently, she is General Coordinator of the UNESCO Regional Observatory on Internationalisation and Networks for Tertiary Education in Latin America and the Caribbean, Vice Dean for Social Sciences and Humanities, and tenured researcher and professor of the PhD programme on Higher Education at the University of Guadalajara where she was in charge of the internationalisation process for 20 years. Jocelyne is also a member of the National Research System of Mexico (Level 2). Jocelyne is considered a leading expert and researcher on the internationalization process in Latin American and the Caribbean. She collaborates with the World Bank, serves as a member of the OECD expert team on the contribution of higher education in regional development and works as a consultant of the Inter-American Organization for Higher Education and founding director of the magazine “Global Education” (AMPEI).

Jocelyne  acted as President of the Mexican Association for International Education (AMPEI) (1996-2000/ 2014-2016), NAFSA Senior Fellows in Internationalisation (2011- 2014), Vice-President of the Board of OECD Higher Education Programme (2010-2012), Vice-President of the Board of the Consortium for North American Higher Education Collaboration (CONAHEC) (2005-2007) and as a  member of the expert team of the International Association of Universities for the Global Survey on Internationalisation.

She is the winner of the 2010 CONAHEC Award of Distinction for outstanding contribution to academic collaboration in North America and the 2006 AMPEI Award for the enhancement of the internationalisation of the Mexican higher education sector.

Senior Advisor and Expert in the Internationalisation of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning:

Prof. Dr. Betty Leask

Emerita Professor Dr. Betty Leask is an internationally renowned researcher and thought leader in the internationalization of higher education. She has a broad range of experience as an educator, most recently as Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic and PVC Teaching and Learning at La Trobe University where she was responsible for leading academic development, academic student support services and curriculum innovation and change across the institution. Her work and her publications bridge theory and practice in internationalisation, teaching and learning in unique ways.

Betty has researched and published extensively on teaching, learning and internationalisation in higher education, led multiple national research projects on teaching and learning and in 2010 was awarded an Australian government teaching fellowship Internationalisation of the Curriculum in Action. In 2016, Betty received the European Association for International Education (EAIE) Tony Adams Award for Excellence in Research and in 2015, the IEAA Excellence Award for Distinguished Contribution to International Education.

Betty is Editor-in Chief of the Journal of Studies in International Education, the leading international journal in the field, and is an Honorary Visiting Researcher at the Centre for Higher Education Internationalisation at the Universita Cattolica del Sacre Cuore in Milan. Betty was founding Chair of the International Education Association of Australia’s Internationalisation of the Curriculum Special Interest Group and was Chair of its Research Committee from 2010-2012.


Senior Advisor and Expert in Student-Centered Internationalisation

Emerita Prof. Elspeth Jones

Emerita Professor Elspeth Jones is editor of the book series, Internationalization in Higher Education (Routledge)and an internationally recognised thought leader, author and researcher in the internationalisation of higher education. With over 35 years in international education, her specialisms include personal, professional and employability outcomes from international mobility, strategic leadership, internationalisation of the curriculum at home and abroad, global citizenship and intercultural competence development. She is currently Chair of the European Association for International Education’s (EAIE) Expert Community on Internationalisation at Home and a past winner of the EAIE’s Award for Excellence in Research. Elspeth is Emerita Professor of the Internationalisation of Higher Education at Leeds Beckett University and Honorary Visiting Fellow, Centre for Higher Education Internationalisation (CHEI), Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore,Milan. She has been visiting professor at several universities across Europe and has delivered keynote speeches and training for universities and other organisations across six continents.

Elspeth has undertaken consultancy, research, training and presentations for organisations such as the European Commission and European Parliament, British Council, UUK International Unit, the International Association of Universities, UK Higher Education Academy, Germany’s Hochschulrektorenkonferenz, Nuffic, the Association of Southeast Asian Institutes of Higher Learning  and the International Education Association of Australia. She is a member of the Scientific Committee of CHEI, Milan and of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Studies in International Education. She has published widely including the edited and co-edited collections Internationalising Higher Education; Internationalisation and the Student Voice; Global and Local Internationalisation; and The Globalization of Internationalization: Emerging Voices and Perspectives.


Senior Advisor and Expert for Internationalisation Research

Prof. Dr. Hiroshi Ota

Dr. Hiroshi Ota is Professor of the Center for Global Education at Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo, where he serves as Director of the Hitotsubashi University Global Education Program. Prior to his current position, he worked for the Office for the Promotion of International Relations at Hitotsubashi University (2007 – 2009), the School of Commerce and Management as International Student Advisor at Hitotsubashi University (2003 – 2006), the Office of International Education at the State University of New York at Buffalo (2000 – 2002), and Toyo University, Tokyo (1988 – 1999). He also worked for the Japanese education ministry’s (MEXT’s) project, “Strategic Fund for Establishing International Headquarters in Universities” as Research Advisor of Project Team for Supporting University Internationalization at the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) from 2005 to 2010. His research primarily focuses on higher education policies and practices related to internationalization and international student mobility in a comparative perspective. He is currently a member of the research team conducting a government-funded research project titled “Empirical Research on the Assessment of University Internationalization in Japan and Asia”.

From the State University of New York at Buffalo, Ota received his Ed.M. in 2001 and Ph.D. in Social Foundations of Education (Comparative and Global Studies in Education) in 2008. He was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study international education administration in the U.S. in 1996.

Senior Advisor and Transnational Education Expert

Dr. Janet B. Ilieva

Janet Ilieva started her career as a university lecturer in economics before joining the British Council in 2004, to lead the department’s work for higher education research and market intelligence. Under her leadership, the British Council published widely cited reports and publications, including the “Shape of things to come” in 2012, and more recently, “The shape of global higher education” which informed institutional and national strategies on international higher education.

Janet joined the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) in May 2013 as head of the HEFCE Observatory. There, she published on international student demand for higher education and transnational education. She is a member of the Research Committee of the International Education Association of Australia and an advisor on the UK – Philippines Transnational Education Links programme, which is a joint initiative between the British Council and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) in the Philippines. Janet is founder and director of Education Insight, a research consultancy specialising in the international higher education.


Senior Advisor and Expert on Global Talent Flows, Regional Expert U.S. and India

Dr. Rajika Bhandari

Dr. Rajika Bhandari is President and CEO of the IC3 Institute, a systemic initiative to help secondary students forge a successful pathway to postsecondary education and careers. A scholar-practitioner in international higher education, Rajika has over twenty years of executive and management experience in student mobility research and data-driven insights; monitoring, evaluation, and impact studies of international education programs; and shaping thought leadership strategy in the nonprofit, private and higher education sectors. She is a widely published author, including of six books, with her work covered extensively in the global press. She speaks frequently on issues such as global talent flows; access and equity in education; women and education; and educational and cultural diplomacy. She has partnered with U.S. government agencies such as the Departments of State and Education, and the National Science Foundation; multilateral organizations such as UNESCO and the World Bank; foundations such as the Ford Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation, and Macarthur Foundation; and higher education institutions and associations in the U.S. and other countries.

With projects spanning 22 countries, Rajika’s regional areas of expertise include the U.S. and India, with a focus on Indo-U.S. educational exchanges and higher education internationalization in India. Rajika led the Institute of International Education’s (IIE) research, impact, and thought leadership activities for over a decade, including the flagship Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, the Project Atlas initiative, and the groundbreaking 10-year longitudinal study of the Ford Foundation’s International Fellowships Program. Her other roles include ones at MPR Associates (now part of RTI); the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; and at Teachers College, Columbia University. A past international student herself, Rajika holds an undergraduate degree in Psychology (Honors) from the University of Delhi and graduate degrees in Psychology from North Carolina State University in the U.S.

Senior Advisor and Expert on Faculty Engagement with Internationalisation

Dr. Douglas Proctor

Dr. Douglas Proctor returned to Australia in August 2021 to take up the role of Pro Vice-Chancellor (Global Engagement) at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne. Previously he was Director, UCD Global at University College Dublin, Ireland’s Global University.

A Senior Fellow of the International Education Association of Australia (IEAA), Douglas holds a PhD in international higher education from the University of Melbourne, where his doctoral research investigated the ways in which internationalisation has influenced the international dimensions of academic work in Australia. Douglas has authored papers and reports in relation to faculty engagement with internationlisation, as well as on the global landscape of international education research. He is also co-editor (with Dr Laura Rumbley) of a 2018 Routledge book entitled “The Future Agenda for Internationalization in Higher Education” offering new perspectives from a younger generation of scholars and practitioners on the future of internationalization in higher education.

Currently Chair of the European Association for International Education (EAIE) Publications Committee, Douglas has edited recent EAIE Forum magazines on the topics of Brexit, digitalization, employability, resilience in uncertain times, and mobility in the balance.

Senior Advisor and Regional Expert North America

Alex Usher

Alex Usher is President of Higher Education Strategy Associates (HESA), a consulting firm which advises governments, institutions and corporations in the higher education sector on policy and strategy.  His work, which mostly focusses on access to education, higher education measurement of institutional performance and internationalization, spans six continents.  Internationally, he works frequently for the European Commission, World Bank and other development agencies in Asia and Africa, and regularly partners with companies such as Interbrand and Ernst & Young on higher education projects.

In Canada, Alex is best known for his deep involvement on student financial assistance issues and for his work on the Globe and Mail Canadian University Rankings from 2006 to 2012.  He is also a Fellow-in-Residence at the CD Howe Institute, and writes a popular daily commentary on Canadian higher education called One Thought to Start Your Day.   He is based in Toronto, Canada.

Senior Advisor and Quality Assurance Expert:

Dr. Carlos Machado

Dr Carlos Machado has participated since 1998 in EU funded projects related to modernization of higher education, capacity building and development and research. His research background lies in the field of social policies with participation in two FP frameworks and more particularly in social inclusion through new technologies. He has written over 20 articles and publications within this sphere.  He graduated in Political Sciences and International Relations at Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Thereafter, he obtained a Master degree in Science, Society and Technology by University of East London. He was also awarded with a Master degree in Management and an MBA by Solvay Management School in Brussels together with a PhD degree in Social Sciences by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB).  He has extensive experience in project management, monitoring and evaluation. He has received Bolashak scholarships to teach in Kazakhstan, Likewise he has coordinated international projects and prepared numerous proposals for institutions like Georg-August Göttingen Universität, Universidad Santiago de Compostela, VUB among many others. He has participated as individual expert for different initiatives of EuropeAid and the European Commission. He frequently conducts monitorings, evaluations and impact analysis related to higher education across the globe.

Senior Advisor and Regional Expert for Eastern Europe, South Caucasus, Central Asia and Russia:

Dr. Stephen Webber

Dr Stephen Webber has worked in the higher education and research spheres since 1994, as a lecturer in the University of Birmingham and University of Bristol, and (since 2007) as an independent consultant for the European Commission, World Bank, British Council, USAID and other organisations in the spheres of research and higher education.

His research experience includes expertise in the sphere of comparative education, with a focus on processes of education sector reform and societal transformations in the former Soviet Union region. His publications include the single-author book, School, Reform and Society in the New Russia (Palgrave, 2000).

His experience has included extensive activity in the sphere of internationalisation of higher education and research, and in the sphere of research governance. He has recently completed a long-term project aimed at promoting increased higher-education cooperation between the EU and countries of Asia and Central Asia; and is currently team leader of a feasibility study of university-industry mobility, conducted on behalf of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research and Innovation.

Senior Advisor and Regional Expert East Asia:

Darren McDermott

Darren McDermott has extensive experience of higher and further education evaluation and development between Europe and Asia. Following education roles in Japan and Ireland and a masters in Education & Training Management, Darren joined the School of Education Studies at Dublin City University. In 2006 he was awarded a Japanese Ministry of Education Research Scholarship at Waseda University, Tokyo, where he conducted research on the internationalisation of higher education.  Darren has been appointed a Senior EU Expert on several ASEAN based European Commission projects focused on evaluation and capacity development. He is currently based in Singapore and leads the Institute’s development in Asia Pacific.

Senior Advisor and Expert for Evaluations and Regional Development:

Jaana Puukka

Jaana Puukka is Founder and Director of Innovation Engage, a consulting firm which advises international organisations, governments and institutions in the higher education sector on policy, strategy and evaluation. He work focuses on the higher education reform, regional innovation systems and the interplay between universities and business and society.  Jaana frequently cooperates with the European Commission and the World Bank as well as HE associations and science park organisations in Europe and elsewhere.

Jaana began her career in Finland where she held management, expert and advisory positions in universities and the ministry. In 2005, Jaana joined the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) in Paris as a policy analyst. For nearly ten years she led large scale thematic higher education reviews which informed institutional and national policies in Europe, Australia, United States, Chile, Mexico, South Africa, Malaysia and Israel.  She published over twenty reports in the OECD series of Higher Education in Regional and City Development. Her current work for the European Commission focuses on the modernisation of higher education, university-business cooperation and support for the DG Research and Innovation.  Jaana is based in Nice, France.

Senior Advisor and International Industry Expert:

Phil Clements

Phil Clements is CEO / Director of the Global Centre for Professional Events Management Ltd and an international event management company, Argentum Moon Events, facilitating small and bespoke events for a range of global clients. He was recently the Principal Consultant and a senior academic at the UK Centre for Event Management at Leeds Beckett University, UK, and a member of the International Centre for Research in Events, Tourism, and Hospitality, leading on international development. He brings with him a wide range of international experience in not only teaching and academic management, but also in developing bespoke professional courses for international clients. With over 15 years of successful teaching and managing at worldwide academic institutions in the fields of business and management, hospitality, tourism and event management, he has lived and worked in a variety of international settings.

He lived in different countries such as India, Australia, or New Zealand. Returning to UK he developed academic partnerships in Russia and the United States, developed and delivered professional courses in the Middle East, and more recently took the lead on developing collaborations and partnerships in South East Asia, Central and South America with stakeholders as diverse as national governments, higher education institutions, and multinational industries.

He is in the process of completing his Doctorate in Education, investigating the cross-cultural capability of teaching staff in offshore campuses. He has recently been appointed board member and International Industry Adviser for the Asia Pacific Centre for Events Management.