Call for Submissions

We warmly invite contributions in the following formats:

  • Presentation: A 400 word Abstract for a 20 minute presentation
  • Think Piece: A 400 word Abstract for a 20 minute think piece
  • Work in Progress: A 400 word Abstract for a 20 minute talk on work in progress
  • Poster: A 400 word Abstract for a Poster
  • Workshop: A 400 word Proposal for a one hour Workshop

Whichever format you select, you can choose to submit under any of our three themes. Each theme is fully inclusive of topics that have been of particular interest to HEIR conference delegates and Institutional Research (IR) professionals over the years (e.g. data, metrics, student experience and policy engagement and development): 

  1. Defining and ‘measuring excellence’
  2. Critical learning and teaching environments
  3. Accountability, inclusivity & sustainability

Your submission should also address the conference topic: “Measuring Excellence” in Higher Education: Approaches and their Impact in relation to your chosen theme:

1. Defining and measuring excellence

This theme investigates the ways in which HE activity, performance and impact is measured in different universities, and also in FE, work-based learning and various non-standard forms of education. It takes into account situations of combined authority or devolved government too. What are the ways in which we are defining and measuring excellence across these contexts? At what point might performance and impact be called ‘excellent’? This theme also addresses the way in which institutions are responding to external measures of excellence, such as the TEF, REF and KEF, or their equivalents outside the UK.

Examples might include:

  • Approaches to and techniques for measuring activity, performance and impact
  • Examples of data analysis and evaluation projects relating to institutional performance and impact
  • Investigating the role of measurement in improving performance and informing strategy
  • The role of benchmarking and key performance indicators (KPIs)
  • Innovative qualitative and quantitative approaches for measuring excellence
  • Measuring societal and global impact  
  • The current role (and future) of data analysis, institutional research and evaluation in HE
  • Integrating contextual factors when measuring excellence

2. Critical Learning and Teaching Environments 

This theme broadly considers how we develop critical learning and teaching ‘environments’ (whether material, virtual, creative or imaginary), and evaluate their impact. We live in a world where digital technology is increasingly an integral part of 'natural' human and social life, and changing the nature of learning and the workplace. We look forward to hearing diverse and critical approaches to such challenges, measures and impacts. 

Examples might include: 

  • Learning environments in the broadest sense (including online learning communities, mobile learning, work-based learning and apprenticeships)
  • Learning analytics and predictive analytics
  • Student engagement and academic experience
  • Attendance, progression and retention  
  • Blended forms of teaching and learning 
  • Teacher education research
  • Creativity and innovation 
  • Curriculum design and employability (including responses to automation)
  • Approaches towards quality assurance and enhancement 
  • Marketisation of Higher Education 
  • Research-informed teaching 
  • Teaching-informed research 

3. Accountability, inclusivity & sustainability

This theme considers the way in which higher education sectors relate to their broader social, economic and political environments. It seeks to investigate the challenges and rewards of ‘bridging the gap’ (in either direction) between academia and the wider community surrounding universities, and measuring and understanding the impact of such activities. This theme invites submissions across any topics that focus on the many ways in which higher education institutions actively and positively engage with their key stakeholders, of students, staff, collaborative partners, business and wider society both within institutions and beyond.

Examples might include: 

  • Widening student access, participation and lifelong learning
  • Student ‘attainment gaps’, and differential outcomes
  • Student-staff partnerships for change 
  • Narratives of Higher Education featured in the media (e.g. value for money, quality, employability)
  • The Third Mission: relationships between universities, schools, local communities, business, industry, libraries, museums or the arts 
  • 4th Industrial Revolution: HE responses to threats from automation
  • The changing nature of institutional leadership, governance and management  
  • Policy and strategy development and the challenge of initiative fatigue 
  • Globalisation and internationalisation of Higher Education  (e.g. TNE, mobility, Brexit, sustainable development)
  • Student and staff belonging and inclusion in learning, teaching and research
  • Gender equality, identity/ies and social inclusion 
  • Health and wellbeing, e.g.  ‘therapeutic’ education, academic identity or anxiety, creativity and mindfulness in education 

In summary, the examples under each theme are not exhaustive and other suggestions are welcomed. If you are already working on and presenting about current HE projects, the HEIR conference provides an opportunity for you to share impact from these with a wider audience. Or if you are new to presenting, HEIR offers a supportive, interdisciplinary environment for you to gain feedback on what you are doing and to network with others who share your interests. Submissions and posters from early career researchers are highly encouraged alongside those in more established academic and professional roles.

Abstracts of no more than 400 words and a short bio of 100 words should be submitted by the deadline of: 26 April 2019

Abstracts should be submitted to:


Abstract submission: by the 31 May 2019

Please note that your Abstract will be considered at one of the review points we are running throughout the submission period. This is intended to support you in planning your attendance, travel, accommodation and any cover whilst you are away.

Notification of outcomes is therefore on a rolling basis.

Enquiries to the ORGANISERS: