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Current Postgraduate Research Students

Murray Saunders supervises 8 postgraduate research students. If these students have produced research profiles, these are listed below:

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Professor Murray Saunders


Murray Saunders

Lancaster University

County South



Tel: +44 1524 592869

Research overview

My research has focused on evaluative practice. This has been in a wide range of contexts but mainly in education. It has involved both undertaking evaluations of, in recent times, Higher Education policy and practice in the UK and internationally and also the research of evaluative practice itself in Higher Education settings. I have adopted, broadly speaking, a social practice approach to evaluation. This has two implications. The first is to understand evaluation as a social practice. The second is to understand the effects of policies and programmes on people as changes (or not) in their practices, either directly or embedded in policies and systems.

PhD supervision

I am no longer available to supervise new students.

Research Interests

Co-founder and now member of HERE@lancaster , and Professor of Evaluation in Education and Work. I have acted as a consultant to, and undertaken a wide range of evaluation projects for, the British Council, DfES [Department for Education and Skills], DFID [Department for International Development], UN, UNRWA, ESRC [The Education and Social Research Council], HEFCE [Higher Education Funding Council], SFC (the Scottish Funding Council) and a variety of regional agencies. I have carried out evaluation and research projects in a wide range of cultural contexts, including in Asia: China, Japan, Singapore and India; in Africa: Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana and Ethiopia; in Latin America: Mexico and Chile: In the Middle East: Jordan as well as other member states of the EU and Russia.

I enjoy promoting and developing evaluation practice as past president and Council member of the UK Evaluation Society, Board member and past President of the European Evaluation Society, chair of the co-ordinating committee for the establishment of the IOCE (International Organisation for Cooperation in Evaluation) and current vice president [ and I am associate editor of the only international multidisciplinary academic journal in the field - Evaluation]. I was Co-Director of the SFC [Scottish Funding Council] funded evaluation of the new Scottish HE Quality Enhancement Policy the last element of which was in 2014. I continue to have research interests in the nature of evaluative practices, the relationship between education and the workplace and the connection between social change and development and evaluative practice.


Current Research


I am currently undertaking a collaborative project under the auspices of the IOCE and UNICEF to enhance the role of evaluation asociations' participation in civil society world-wide. The web link for this initiative is will be launched in March 2012. Work for the British Council currently involves the review and evaluation of higher education partnerships.

I am also interested in the way School Farms are used as a learning process and have been awarded (March 2012), along with Mason Minnitt (honorary research fellow of the Department of Educational Research) a Knowledge Exchange Fellowship to further this work.

I am currently evaluating the use of the Indicator of Enhancement in Scottish Higher Education for the QAA Scotland.

Current evaluative research is funded by the British Council and is focused on the evaluation of impact. Within the research consultancy IDEAs, I have designed an impact assessment strategy for HE and Science interventions and have just completed an evaluation of the Going Global programme.


Career details

I have directed or co-directed some 40 separate evaluation and research projects over the last 20 years in areas of change, policy and strategic development and vocational education. In the HE environment I have worked (as both evaluator and developer) on six R&D projects which have tested various types of learning support in international consortia of HEIs [Higher Education Institutions].

I was Head of the Department of Educational Research, Lancaster University from 1997-2000. I currently hold visiting professorship in Evaluation at Freibourg University, Switzerland.

Additional Information

Research programme during the last 6 years

Director of the British Council Evaluation Development Project [Case studies of Hong Kong, Ghana and Poland] funded by the British Council £19,000 1997

Also for BC -

Evaluation of Designing, shopping Eating Project Hong Kong 1998.

Evaluation design and planning, Ghana, Poland and Hong Kong 1999.

Evaluation of Creative Industries Export Promotion, Singapore, Japan 2000.

Evaluation Capacity Building in HE, Ethiopia 2000.

Evaluation Children's Rights Mexico 2001.

Evaluation Governance Interventions Chile, 2001.

Evaluation Design for the Education Support Project UNWRA, Jordan 2001-on-going.

Evaluation capacity building English Peace Keeping Project 2001

Design of Impact Assessment Framework 2017

Evaluation of Going Global 2017/18

Director of the King's Fund Management Development Evaluation ProgrammeFunded by the King's Fund £29,000 1997

Co Director of the HEINE Project: Government intervention in Higher EducationFunded by TSER [EU] £120,000 1997

Co-Director of the Cumbrian Small Schools Research Support Project Cumbrian LEA £6000 1998

Director of the Equam Project [Quality and Environmental Management Project] under the Leonardo Initiative Funded by the EU £12000 1998

Director of the Learnett Project under the Socrates InitiativeFunded by the EU £12000 1998

Director of the Evaluation of Education Action Zone: Barrow2000-2005 £100,000

Director of the World Challenge Evaluation 2000-2002 Funded by World Challenge £25000

Director of the RECRE@SUP project on innovations in HE2001-2002 Funded by Socrates [EU] £12000

Director of the Evaluation of the EQUEL project 2002-2004 Funded by the EU

Co proposer and manager of the LTSN National Evaluation 2001-2002 Funded by HEFC £200,000

Co-director of the LTSN second phase evaluation 2004 Funded by HEFC £50000

Consultant to the Subject Centre Review Committee 2004 Funded by HEFC

Co-Director of the SHEFC Quality Enhancement Framework Evaluation 2003-2006 £300,000

Co-Director of the Skills for Life evaluation of the Learner's Experience, 2003-2006, £391,000

Co-Director of the ELAC project: evaluation capacity building 2004-2006, £40000

Director of the KTP project on partnership learning 2004-2007, £135000

Director of the evaluation of the national CETL programme in England, Wales and Northern Ireland 2007 -2008


Director of the evaluation of the London Refugee Policy 2008 -2009


Director of the Widening Participation Evaluation  programme, HEFCE, 2008


Director of the Evaluation of the Scottish Funding Council Quality Enhancement Strategy 2008-2014:  £495,000


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