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Dr YANG, Lili

Dr YANG, Lili


Assistant Professor

Academic Unit of Social Contexts and Policies of Education


DPhil (Oxon), MA (Tsinghua), BA (Minzu University of China)


[javascript protected email address]


(852) 2859 2527


Room 423, Runme Shaw Building

Research Expertise

  • Culture and Cultural Studies
  • Higher Education Policy and Practice
  • Sociology and Philosophy of Education
  • Education in China
  • International and Comparative Education

Prospective PhD/ EdD/ MPhil Applications

I am available to supervise PhD/EdD/MPhil students and would welcome enquiries for supervision.

Higher Education

Cross-Cultural Comparison in Higher Education

Higher Education in Chinese Societies

Political Philosophy and Education


I have strong interests in Eastern-Western comparison in higher education, especially how universities (including the position of the university in society, the individualized and collective good of universities) are shaped by social, political, and educational cultures in Eastern and Western contexts. I am interested in drawing on traditional Chinese ideas and thoughts to inform contemporary higher educational practices. I also conduct research on postgraduate education in China, and on global science. More broadly, my interests include higher education, comparative education, and educational and political philosophy.

The Second Prize of the Outstanding Achievements in Philosophical and Social Sciences Research (Gansu Province, China)  (2021) 甘肃省哲学与社会科学优秀成果二等奖-著作类(第二完成人)

Winner of the Annual Poster Conference (Department of Education, University of Oxford) (2020)

UK ESRC Overseas Institutional Visits Awards (2018)

Seed Funding for International Activities (University College London) (2017)

DAAD Fellowship for Short-term Visit to Germany (2016)

Tsinghua Fund for International Visits (2016)

Moving across intellectual traditions: Epistemic identities and practices of Chinese intellectuals (PI), 2022-2024, HKU Seed Fund for Basic Research for New Staff (HK$149,540)

Conceptions of traversing Chinese and Western intellectual traditions in research: Views from leading Chinese intellectuals (PI), 2022-2023, HKU Faculty of Education Project-based Research Funding (HK$60,000)


  1. Yang, L. (2023). Higher Education, State and Society: Comparing the Chinese and Anglo-American Approaches. London: Bloomsbury Publishing. 
    • Book Series Foreword by Simon Marginson, Book Foreword by Ruth Hayhoe, Endorsed by Rui Yang, Alis Oancea, Marijk van der Wende.
  2. Wang, D. & Yang, L. (2019). The Provincial Government’s Power and Role in Postgraduate Education Governance in China (治理视角下研究生教育省级统筹权研究). Beijing: Chinese Science and Technology Press. (in Chinese)

Selected journal articles

  1. Yang, L., Marginson, S.*, & Xu, X. (2022). ‘Thinking through the world’: A tianxia heuristic for higher education. Globalisation, Societies and Education. 

  2. Yang, L., & Tian, L. (2022). Rethinking the ‘global’ in global higher education studies: From the lens of the Chinese idea of tianxia. Oxford Review of Education.

  3. Marginson, S., & Yang, L. (2022). Individual and collective outcomes of higher education: a comparison of Anglo-American and Chinese approaches. Globalisation, Societies and Education, (1), 1-31.

  4. Yang, L. (2021). Student formation in higher education: A comparison and combination of Confucian xiushen (self-cultivation) and BildungHigher Education.
  5. Yang, L. (2021).Social equity and equity in higher education: A comparison of the liberal Anglo-American and Chinese political cultures. International Journal of Educational Development.
  6. Yang, L., Brotherhood, T., & Chankseliani, M. (2021). Rethinking higher education through the common good idea: The case for university transformation following COVID-19. Educational Review,
  7. Marini, G., & Yang, L.* (2021). Globally Bred Chinese Talents Returning Home: An Analysis of a Reverse Brain-Drain Flagship Policy. Science and Public Policy.
  8. Yang, L., Yang, J. & Wang, C.* (2021). The research-intensive university in a glonacal higher education system: The creation of the world-class university in China. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management.
  9. Oldac, Y.*, & Yang, L. (2021). Two edges of Asia in a multipolar world: The interconnections between Chinese and Turkish higher education systems. Higher Education Governance & Policy, 2(2), 68-81.

  10. Zhang, W., Wang, Y., Yang, L.*, Wang, C.* (2020). ‘Suspending classes without stopping learning’: China's education emergency management policy in the COVID-19 outbreak. Journal of Risk and Financial Management, 13(3), 55;
  11. Wang, C. & Yang, L. (2020). Providing the research system with sufficient competent early-career researchers: the system of postdoctoral programs in China. Higher Education in Russia and Beyond, 2 (23), 15-17.
  12. Yang, L., Marini, G. (2019). Research productivity of Chinese young thousand talents. International Higher Education. (featured in Times Higher Education)

In Chinese:

  1. Yang, L., Marginson, S. Xu, X. (2022). 以“天下”思天下:“天下”思想对全球高等教育的新启发 (Thinking through tianxia: A new/old heuristic for worldwide higher education). 清华大学教育研究 (Tsinghua Journal of Education), (2), 1-13.

  2. Yang, L. (2021). 英国现代博士生教育:起源、变迁与趋势 (Modern doctoral education in the UK: The origin, development, and trends). 学位与研究生教育研究 (Academic Degrees & Graduate Education), 10, 77-84. (in Chinese)
  3. Wang, C., Yang, L. & Yang, J. (2020). 德国大学“卓越计划”实施成效评价:基于PSM-DID方法 (An evaluation of the universities’ efficacy of the ‘Excellence Initiative’ in Germany: Based on the method of PSM-DID). 中国高等教育 (Chinese Higher Education), (1), 5-11. DOI:10.16298/j.cnki.1004-3667.2020.01.02. (in Chinese)
  4. Yang, L. & Wang, D (2018). The effect of provincial co-ordination of postgraduate education governance in China – Based on a revised IPA analysis (我国研究生教育省级统筹效果分析——基于修正的IPA分析法). Academic Degrees & Graduate Education, (1), 49-55. (in Chinese)
  5. Yuan, B. & Yang, L. (2016). Educational think tank studies from literature: A pioneering field (从文献看教育智库研究:一个亟待开拓的领域). Research in Higher Education of Engineering, (2), 40-47. (in Chinese)
  6. Yang, L. (2016). Why does John come to China? – A narrative study of reasons why American students come to China (约翰为什么来中国学习?——一位美国留学生的叙事研究). Education Research Monthly, (2), 74-81. (in Chinese)

Book chapters

  1. Yang, L. (2022). A Chinese approach to global public goods in higher education: The idea of tianxia weigong (all under heaven belongs to/is for all). In Simon Marginson & Xin Xu (Eds). Changing Higher Education in East Asia (pp. 51-68). London: Bloomsbury Publishing.
  2. Marginson, S. & Yang, L. (2021). Higher education and public good in East and West. In Pam Fredman, & Remus Pricopie (Eds). International Higher Education Cooperation through the International Association of Universities (pp. 161-168). Palgrave McMillan.
  3. Marginson, S. & Yang, L. (2020). China meets Anglo-America on the New Silk Road: A comparison of state, society, self, and higher education. In Marijk van der Wende, William Kirby, Nian Cai Liu, & Simon Marginson (Eds). China and Europe on the New Silk Road: Connecting Universities across Eurasia (pp. 255-283). Oxford: Oxford University Press.


  1. Yang, L. (2018). Christopher J. Johnstone and Li Li Ji (eds.): The rise of China-U.S. international cooperation in higher education: views from the field. Higher Education. 78, 189–191.
  2. Marini, G. & Yang, L. (2021). The research productivity of Chinese academic returnees from the Global West: An evaluation of Young 1000 Talents recipients’ productivity. DoQSS Working Papers, No. 21-02, London: UCL Social Research Institute.
  3. Marginson, S. & Yang, L. (2020). The role of higher education in generating ‘public’ and ‘common’ goods: A comparison of Sinic and Anglo-American political cultures. Centre for Global Higher Education Working Papers, No. 52, Oxford: University of Oxford.
  4. Yang, L. (2017). The public role of higher learning in Imperial China. Centre for Global Higher Education Working Papers, No. 28, London: UCL Institute of Education.

Associate Editor,International Journal of Chinese Education, 2022-

Editorial Board Member, Humanities & Social Sciences Communication, 2022-

Program Co-Chair, HESIG, Comparative and International Education Society (CIES), 2022-2023


Guest editor of special issues

  1. The ‘public’ in higher education in Anglo-America and China: A conversation about the comparison (2022). Globalisation, Societies and Education. (Co-edited with Prof Simon Marginson)

Journal referee

Higher Education, Journal of Studies in International Education, Oxford Review of Education, Higher Education Policy, International Journal of Educational Research, Journal of International Students, ECNU Review of Education, Journal of Asian Public Policy.



Co-chair, the STORIES Conference 2021 (Department of Education, University of Oxford)