The global higher education research agenda is increasingly concentrating on common issues and concerns, with local, national and international perspectives converging to focus on shared questions and possible outcomes. New ways of addressing current concerns are being developed and refined internationally through shared national knowledge and experience. A significant body of research knowledge across issues of policy and practice now exists and informs understanding of what it takes to build and sustain effective systems of higher education.
Given this convergence of concepts, the need to continue to assess, evaluate and understand context and how this impacts policy and practice becomes ever more important. Convergence is itself a contested concept which needs to be put under closer scrutiny and investigation, as, for example, what ‘counts’ as research, theory and knowledge may be seen as highly uncertain and debateable.
This international conference on research into higher education takes a bold step in addressing research issues from this perspective; examining shared research knowledge on what we know, what this tells us about delivering looked-for outcomes and how this is evidenced. This conference will look back, look across and look forward in seeking to identify areas where our research agenda needs to go further and to look deeper, locally, nationally and internationally