Skills, Knowledge and Organisational Performance

Our team

Prof Ewart Keep


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Ewart Keep is based at the Department of Education, Oxford University.

His research interests include: lifelong learning policy, learning organisations, training for low paid workers, the design and management of education and training systems, employers’ attitudes towards skills and what shape these, recruitment and selection activity, how governments formulate skills policy, higher education policy and the nature of the linkages between skills and performance (broadly defined).

He is currently working on the role of recruitment and selection as a source of skills and the feedback signals that employers’ patterns of recruitment send to the learner; future research priorities in the field of E&T, and how English policy makers conceive of skills policy and its linkages to other policy domains. He is a member of the Scottish Funding Council/Skills Development Scotland joint Skills Committee, HEFCE’s Strategic Advisory Committee for Enterprise and Skills, the UK Commission for Employment and Skills’ Policy Expert Group, and the Scottish Government’s Skill Utilisation Leadership Group. He has provided advice and consultancy for the National Skills Task Force, DfES, DTI, DBIS, H M Treasury, the Cabinet Office, House of Commons and Scottish Parliament committees, the Welsh Employment and Skills Board, Skills Australia, and the governments of Queensland, New South Wales and New Zealand.

Ewart can be contacted at, Office: 01865 274045, Home: 01684 561484.

Dr Susan James Relly

Deputy Director

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Susan James Relly is based in the Department of Education, University of Oxford.

Her research interests include: theories of learning, school-to-work transitions, VET systems, apprenticeship, work-based learning, on-the-job and off-the-job training, and low skill/low wage work.

Current research projects include working with Ewart Keep examining models and theories of recruitment and selection (R&S) to try to understand R&S practices as a critical point in mediation and exchange between the labour market, a job and government policy.

Susan is the Principal Investigator of an ESRC funded research project (RES-000-22-4343) titled, ‘Graduates on the property ladder: Skills, work and employment in a graduatising industry’ researching the supply of graduates into the labour market and the impact on a focus profession: real estate agents. Susan has recently completed work on a study of low skill, low wage occupations, focussing on food processing operatives and room attendants in hotels in England, funded by the American-based Russell Sage Foundation. She was also involved in the second phase of this project which compared and analysed low wage work in the food processing industry, particularly meat and confectionary processing, in five European countries and the USA.

Susan supervises master and doctoral students in the areas of her research interests. Susan can be contacted by email at: or by phone on: 01865 611007.

Prof Ken Mayhew

Founding Director

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Ken Mayhew is the Founding Director of SKOPE and the Emeritus Professor of Education and Economic Performance at University of Oxford and Emeritus Fellow in Economics at Pembroke College.

He is a labour economist and has published widely in this area. His research interests include: the economics of education, with particular emphasis on higher education; organisational strategy and the choice of product specification, associated production processes and human resource management practices; the measurement and the meaning of skill; the workings of the labour market; productivity; distributional outcomes.

Currently he is working on: an international project on changing social models and their impact of change on the labour market; unemployment in OECD countries; skills, productivity and performance; the distributional outcomes of the expansion of higher education and its impact on vocational training; the alleged polarisation of the UK labour market and the implications for education and training.

Ken is chair of an Advisory Committee for the OECD’s PIAAC survey, which is currently in the field, and a member of the international advisory committee for the OECD’s LEED project. In recent years he has advised the DfES, the DTI, the European Commission, as well as a number of skills agencies at home and abroad. He is an editor of Oxford Economic Papers and of the Oxford Review of Economic Policy, as well as being a member of the editorial board of the Oxford Review of Education.

Ken can be contacted by email at: or by phone on: 01865 611010.

Dr Maia Chankseliani

Research Fellow

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Maia Chankseliani is Associate Professor of Comparative and International Education at the Department of Education and a Fellow of St Edmund Hall.

Maia’s primary area of expertise is post-secondary education – workforce development/employability, higher education access, adult education and training.

She has also been engaged with primary and secondary education-related projects on child labour in Ghana, public-private partnerships in Africa, teacher educators’ professional development in Pakistan, civic education in Georgia, creative partnerships in England, and gender equality in Mozambique. She has worked on issues of labour market research in Georgia and civil service modernization in Kazakhstan.

She has played a key role in research on Developing and Understanding Vocational Excellence (DUVE). The research incorporates two overlapping studies focusing on young people who compete in international skills competitions.

Dr James Robson

SKOPE Research Fellow

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James Robson is a SKOPE Research Fellow and Course Convenor for the MSc in Higher Education.

He is co-chair of the research staff forum and is supporting the development of REF2021 impact case studies for the department. He sits on the Oxford University Learning Technologies Advisory Group, which has responsibility for advising on the development and implementation of Oxford University’s Digital Education Strategy.

James has spent more than a decade working in educational policy and research funding. He completed his doctorate at Oxford University Department of Education in 2014 examining the implications of digital media for professional development. He has research interests in HE policy, HE access and widening participation, research assessment and research capacity, skills and labour markets, and educational technology.

Dr Craig Holmes

SKOPE Research Fellow

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Craig Holmes is a labour economist and Departmental Lecturer in Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government. Prior to that, he was a Teaching Fellow in Economics at Pembroke College, Oxford. He has previously been a research fellow in the Centre on Skills, Knowledge and Organisational Performance at the Oxford University Department of Education and a senior researcher in the Employment, Equity and Growth project at the Oxford Martin School. He completed his D.Phil in Economics in 2012.

His recent research has focused on earnings inequality, social and occupational mobility, economic growth and the economics of education, particularly focused on higher education and skills policy in the UK. He has particularly been focusing on the impact of new technology, how this affects both the structure of occupations in a labour market and the design and requirements of the jobs that are available in the workplace, and what this means for wages, progression and skill utilization. He is currently working on a comparative project on young people not in employment, education and training alongside research teams in France, Germany, the Netherlands and Japan.

Dr Emily Murphy

SKOPE Research Officer

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Emily joined SKOPE in September 2016 as part of the UK team on an international Open Research Area (ORA) for the Social Sciences project, working on a comparative study of young people not in education, employment or training (NEET).

Her area of research is economic sociology. Current research interests are social inequality in the labour market and education systems, links between unemployment and structural change, occupational mobility, youth transitions and skill development.