Cécile Hoareau

Job title: 
Research Associate - Research University Going Global

Cécile McGrath, née Hoareau, is a Managing Consultant at ICF, where she manages the portfolio of policy research in education and research and innovation policy for European Union institutions. 

Cécile’s research has informed various governments and European institutions. For example, she advised the British Government on ways to measure student learning (Learning gain in Higher Education in 2014), which prompted several higher education institutions to pilot measures to assess how much students learn throughout their degree. She has also supported the reform of the funding system of higher education in Slovenia with Prof. Frank Ziegele. She has also advised the organisation of the Ethiopian Government in combining its education and research portfolios through a review of European practices.  She gave evidence to the European Parliament Education and Culture Committee on how the equity and standards of admission requirements to higher education in Europe compared to the ones in the US, Japan and Australia (report here, 2015). And her research on Business-University cooperation in North America here has informed the European Commission. 

In addition, Cécile is also interested in researching on and developing the capacity of higher education institutions in Europe. She led an EU-funded collaborative project involving institutions from around Europe to determine the features of the governance and management of universities which would lead to innovation (Governance and adaptation to innovative modes of higher education provision) 2015. This was a follow-up to a European-wide comparison of the innovation potential of higher education systems across Europe that she co-authored in 2012 (IZA paper here). Cécile also contributed to designing an online course on internationalisation in higher education for the European Commission (2017). Cécile has an interest in the internationalisation of higher education, having published some joint research on higher education with Prof. John Douglass and Richard Edelstein. 

Cécile was a postdoctoral Fulbright-Schuman researcher at the CSHE in 2010-2011. While in Berkeley, she researched on student loan designs in the US in comparison to the EU with the view to informing an EU-wide student loan facility, that she subsequently contributed to evaluate.  She subsequently worked at UNU-MERIT, a joint research centre between the UN and the University of Maastricht and RAND Europe, the European branch of the RAND Corporation, before moving to public policy consultancy; where she leads projects on European higher education.

Cécile has a doctoral degree from the London School of Economics, that she wrote on the Bologna process (thesis available here).    

With Jongbloed, B. et al. (2022) 'The State and effectiveness of national funding for the European Universities Initiative' Brussels: European Commission.


  • (Forthcoming, 2020) ‘The impact of neo-nationalism on student and staff mobility’ in ‘Neo-nationalism and universities’ edited by Douglass, J. Berkeley: Berkeley University Press.

  • 2019 The Future of Learning, Brussels: European Commission, with Broughton, A. et al.  

  • 2016 ‘Admission systems and student mobility: what role for EU institutions?’ in Foro de Educación vol. 14, n. 21, lead author with Frearson, M.

  • 2014 ‘Bringing the world to California: imagining a global hub for higher education’, in Boom California, Spring, 2014, with Douglass, J. and Edelstein, R.

  • 2014 ‘The Contribution of higher education to economic innovation, a European-wide assessment’, in Journal of European Labor Study, vol. 2 issue 24, lead author with Ritzen, J. and Marconi, G., ranked as highly accessed.

  • 2014 ‘Economic shocks, federalism and redistribution: Exploring the future of Europe through a comparison of the evolution of student financial aid in the United States and the European Union’, book chapter in Hsuan-Chou M. and Gornitzka, A. Building the knowledge economy in Europe, Cheltenham: Elgar, pp. 219-244.

  • 2013 ‘Les Limites de la gouvernance délibérative? Processus de Bologne et tentatives d’émulation aux Etats-Unis, in l’Enseignement supérieur en Europe, harmonisation ou hybridisation des réformes?’, Revue de recherche internationale et comparative en éducation, special issue 8, pp. 97-126.

  • 2013 ‘Attracting talent and seeking smart growth: the idea of a California global higher education hub’, in California Journal of Politics and Policy, 5(1): 1-29, with Douglass, J. and Edelstein, R.

  • 2013. ‘Governance and Adaptation to Innovative Modes of Higher Education Provision’. Management of Sustainable Development Journal (MSD), vol. 6, issue 1, pp 35-38, with Florea, S,

  • 2013 ‘Equal opportunity and life-long learning: the future of higher education in Germany is only secure with major policy changes’, lead author with with Ritzen,J. in Journal for Institutional comparisons, vol. 1 issue 2, pp. 28-34.

  • 2013 ‘The State of University Policy for Progress in Europe’, in Journal of European Higher Education Area, 2013, issue 1, lead author with Ritzen, J. and Marconi, G.

  • 2011 ‘Deliberative governance in the European Higher Education Area: the Bologna Process as a case of alternative governance architecture in Europe’, in Journal of European Public Policy, Vol. 19, issue 4, pp. 530–548.

  • 2011 ‘Globalisation and dual modes of higher education policy-making in France: je t’aime moi non plus’, in French Politics, Vol. 1 , issue 15, pp. 222–239.

  • 2012 ‘A Global Talent magnet: the idea of a California Global Higher Education hub’, co-authored with Douglass, J. and Edelstein; R. in Duran, H. and Lopez Segrera, F. La Internacionalization de la Education superior a nivel mundial y regional: principal tendencias y desafios, Bogota: Planeta Colombia; pp. 63-87.

  • 2017 ‘Study on Youth employment programmes in Europe’, with Donlevy, V. and Meierkord, A., Gutersloh Bertelsmann Foundation. (unpublished)

  • 2017 ‘Stakeholder analysis on youth employment’, with Donlevy, V. and Shater-Jannati, M. Gutersloh: Bertelsmann foundation (unpublished).

  • 2017 ‘Erasmus + Student loans scheme, an interim evaluation’, Brussels: European Commission, with Curtarelli, M., Blakemore, M., and Ruitinga, C.

  • 2016 ‘Governance and adaptation to innovative modes of higher education provision’, Erasmus Multilateral project, lead author with Belanger, J., Hofman, J., Sasso, S., Lasakova, A., Bajzikova, L.

  • 2015 ‘Learning gains research’, London: Higher Education Funding Council for England/Department for Business for Innovation and Skills and Higher Education Authority, lead author with Guerin, B., Harte, E., Manville, C., and Frearson, M.

  • 2015 ‘Fostering innovation in higher education: analyzing the case of Spain from a European perspective’, M.A. ICHE 2015: XIII international conference on higher education, May 25-26, with Groves, T., Bernabeu, G. and Quintanilla.

  • 2014 ‘The International dimension of research and innovation cooperation: addressing grand challenges in the global context’, Brussels: European Commission, lead author with Horvarth, V., Baruch, B., Gunashekar, S., Lu, H., Culbertson, S., Pankowska, P., and Culbertson, S.

  • 2014 ‘Higher education entrance qualifications and exams in Europe: a comparison’Brussels: European Parliament, lead author with Durazzi, N., Corbett, A., and Frearson, M.

  • 2014. ‘Innovative Modes of Higher Education Provision in Europe: Commitment and Sustainability’Conference Proceedings (Varna), with Florea, S.

  • 2014 ‘Merging Ministries of education and science and technology: a European overview’, concept note Ministry of Ethiopia, Lead author.

  • 2014 ‘Universities need to beef up innovation to be competitive’, technical report, Maatricht: UNU- MERIT, lead author with Ritzen, J., Marconi, G., and Sasso, S.

  • 2013 ‘ Business university cooperation in North America: fifteen case studies’, Brussels: European Commission, with Ranga, R., Durazzi, N., Etzkowitz, H., Marcucci P. and Usher, H.

  • 2013 ‘The State of University Policy for Progress in Europe’, n. 51 IZA Bonn; and UNU-MERIT policy paper, lead author with Ritzen, J. and Marconi, G.

  • 2011 ‘Globalization and dual modes of higher education policy-making in France: je t’aime moi non plus’ also published as a Research and Occasional Paper in UCBerkeley.

  • 2011 ‘Financing EU student mobility: a credit union scheme for Europe’, University of California Berkeley CSHE Research and occasional paper series.

  • 2011 ‘A Global Talent magnet: the idea of a California Global Higher Education hub’, University of California Berkeley CSHE Research and occasional paper series.

Selected media contributions

  • 2017 ‘Are MOOCs here to stay?’, Open education Europa, February.

  • 2016 ‘European universities are pessimistic about their capacity to innovate ‘,in Science Business, 12 May, with Harte, E.

  • 2014 ‘Global collaboration needs a firmer evidence basis’, in Research Europe, 6 November, With Baruch, B., Chataway,J. and Gunashekar, S.

  • 2013 ‘Comparing higher education entrance qualifications across Europe, RAND Europe blog, 27 November.

  • 2011 ‘What role for the EU in an era of austerity?’, in University World News, 25 September.

  • 2011 ‘Give Me Your Wired, Your Rich, Your Huddled Brainiacs’, in Zocalo public square, 27th July.

  • 2011 ‘France: pressure to internationalise’, in University World News, 10 July.

  • 2011 ‘A higher education hub for California’, in University World News, 22 May, with Douglass,J. and Edelstein, R.

  • 2010 ‘EU-wide student credit union proposed’, in University World News, 24 November, Additional coverage of this research in various news outlets. 2010 ‘Déclaration d'urgence sur le budget au Parlement Britannique, un signal important pour l'économie', Fondation pour l’innovation politique, brief, 23 June.

Research interests: 

Higher education, comparison of national systems, internationalisation, European higher education 


Current Research Projects

Research Universities Going Global


John Aubrey Douglass; Cécile Hoareau; Richard J. Edelstein
Journal Articles, 2014
Cécile Hoareau
Research and Occasional Papers Series (ROPS), 2011
Cécile Hoareau
Research and Occasional Papers Series (ROPS), 2010
Cécile Hoareau
Research and Occasional Papers Series (ROPS), 2010