School of Social and Political Science

Sotiria Grek

Job Title

Professor in European and Global Education Governance


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Street (Address)

22 George Square

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PhD (University of Edinburgh), MLitt (University of St Andrews), MPhil (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki), BA Hons (equivalent) History and Archaeology (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki)

Research focus

Sotiria researches the role of metrics as a policy tool that actively contributes to the making of transnational governance. She is interested in performance monitoring and comparison as forms of education governance, through which the project of Europeanization is pursued. Her research places numbers and comparison in the foreground of enquiry into policy, rather than examine them as merely offering ‘evidence’ to policy making. She focuses on an analysis of global education policy convergence through an examination of the mediating effects of national/local policies and practices. Further, she researches policy learning in transnational education governance, and especially the relationship between the European Commission and the OECD in the governing of education in Europe.

She is currently the Principal investigator of a European Research Council Starting Grant:

  • 2017-2022, 'International Organisations and the Rise of a Global Metrological Field' (ERC-StG-2016)

She is also a Co-Investigator in the following funded studies:

  • 2020-2024, 'The disembedded laboratory: Torsten Husén and the internationalisation of education research for policy (Swedish Research Council)
  • 2020-2021    'Universal Secondary Education in the Asia-Pacific Region' (Scottish Funding Council)

Previous project work includes:

  • 2015-2019, 'From Paris to PISA: Governing Education by Comparison 1867-2015', funded by the Swedish Research Council (£616,000)
  • 2014-2016, ESRC Seminar Series 'The Potentials, Politics and Practices of International Assessments' (£28,976) with Maddox (East Anglia), Hamilton (Lancaster), Guadalupe (Pacific), Steiner-Khamsi (Columbia), Gorur (Victoria), Addey (East Anglia)
  • 2010- 2014 'Governing by Inspection: School Inspection and Education Governance in Scotland, England and Sweden' ESRC (RES-062-23-2241) bilateral project with the Swedish Research Council. Co-investigator with PI Prof Ozga and other Co-Is Profs Lawn and Clarke (Open University). For more details, you may want to watch a keynote lecture from 2013 here:
  • 2007-2011 Knowledge and Policy: The role of Knowledge in the construction and regulation of Health and Education policy in Europe: convergences and specificities among nations and sectors (Know&Pol). European Commission 6th Framework Integrated Project, Priority 7. Research Fellow, with Professors Ozga, Lawn, Dr Richard Freeman (Politics), Dr Steve Sturdy (Genomics Forum), Dr Jen Smith (Politics) and teams from 8 European countries. (UK Education: £307,285 total project grant € 4,650,540)
  • 2010-2012 Transnational Policy Learning: A comparative study of OECD and EU education policy in constructing the skills and competencies agenda (TransPol) . Principal investigator (PI) (Small Grant ESRC RES-000-22-3429) (£98,915)
  • 2006- 2009 Fabricating Quality in European Education/Governing by Numbers: data and education governance in England and Scotland: Research fellow ESF/ESRC Grant: (RES-000-23-1385) (with co-ordinator/PI Professor J Ozga. Co-applicants Professor M. Lawn, Professor R. Lingard, Dr L. Croxford) The Eurocores project included teams from Helsinki, Turku, Odense, and Umea universities. (£341,151)


Sotiria is an expert in comparative methodology. She does critical discourse analysis and has used it in education policy analysis in Europe and as a framework for the analysis of museum exhibitions and narratives. She has also systematically used mixed methods approaches, through a combination of descriptive statistics with discourse analysis and qualitative interviewing, while currently developing her expertise in social network analysis for the examination and mapping of education actors in Europe. As part of the SNA work, Sotiria launched the SSPS Social Network Analysis in Scotland research group.


Nikos Kanellopoulos is studying Higher Education policy reform in Greece (2009-2014).

Veronika Maricic is studying the history of education performance monitoring. 

Completed theses:

Natalie Papanastasiou, 'Scalecraft: Policy and Practice in England's Academy Schools', 2015, pass with no corrections

Iryna Kushnir, 'The Bologna Process in Ukraine: Learning Europeanisation in the Post-Soviet context', 2016, pass with minor corrections 

Mark Wong, "Hidden" Youth: Understanding Socially Withdrawn Young People in Hong Kong and Scotland, 2016

Anna Pultar, Social Democracy and Education: The formation of party policy on the question of comprehensive schooling in England and Austria, 2019

Other roles

She is Co -Editor-in-Chief of the European Educational Research Journal (EERJ). EERJ is a peer-reviewed international journal which welcomes articles in topics relating to Europeanisation in education.

She is the co-convener of the ECPR Knowledge and Governance Research Network:



(with Christian Maroy and Toni Verger) (2021) World Yearbook of Education 2021: Accountability and Datafication in Education, Routledge

(with Martin Lawn) (2012) Europeanising Education, Symposium Books

(with Joakim Lindgren) (2015) Governing by Inspection, Routledge.

(invited monograph) (handover to publisher at the end of 2020) Educating Europe: EU government, knowledge and legitimation, Routledge.

Refereed journal articles

(with Bandola-Gill and Ronzani) (accepted 2021) ‘Beyond Winners and Losers: Ranking Visualisations as Alignment Devices in Global Public Policy’, Research in the Sociology of Organisations

(2021 accepted) ‘Constructing known un-knowns: International Organisations and the strategic making of non-knowledge’, Les Dossiers des Sciences de l'Éducation

(with Ydesen) (2021)Where science met policy: governing by indicators and the OECD’s INES programme’, Globalisation, Societies and Education, DOI: 10.1080/14767724.2021.1892477

Grek, S. (2020) Prophets, Saviours and Saints: Symbolic Governance and the Rise of a Transnational Metrological Field’, International Review of Education, DOI:

Grek, S. (2020) Facing “a tipping point”? The role of the OECD as a boundary organisation in governing education in Sweden, Education Inquiry, DOI: 10.1080/20004508.2019.1701838

Grek, S. (2019) ‘The rise of transnational education governance and the persistent centrality of the nation’, Bildungsgeschichte / International Journal for the Historiography of Education.

Grek, S. (2019) ‘Global Monitoring Reports and the role of socialisation and learning: the case of the OECD impact on Sweden’,NORRAG Special Issue 03 Global monitoring of national educational development: coercive or constructive?

Grek, S. and Ydesen, C. (2019) Securing Organisational Survival – a historical inquiry into the configurations and positions of the OECD’s work in education during the 1960s’, Paedagogica Historica: International Journal of the History of Education.

(2018) OECD as a site of coproduction: European education governance and the new politics of ‘policy mobilization’, in Lindblad, S., Pettersson D. and Popkewitz, T. (eds) Education by the Numbers and the Making of Society: the Expertise of International Assessments, Routledge.

Grek, S. (2017) Socialisation, Learning and the OECD’s Reviews of National Policies for Education: the case of Sweden, Critical Studies in Education,

Grek, S. (2015) ’Seeing from the top of the tower: PISA and the new governing panoramas in Europe’, Compare – A Journal of Comparative and International Education, Forum, 45,3, 479-481.

Grek, S. (2015) ‘Travelling “the Caledonian way”: education policy learning and the making of Europe’, Evidence and Policy, 11, 2, 209-224.

Grek. S. (2014) ‘OECD as a site of co-production:European education governance and the new politics of 'policy mobilization', Critical Policy Studies, DOI:10.1080/19460171.2013.862503

Grek, S. (2013) ‘Expert moves: international comparative testing and the rise of expertocracy’ Journal of Education Policy, 28,5,695-709.

Ozga, J., Baxter, J., Clarke, J., Grek, S. and Lawn, M. (2013) ‘The Politics of Educational Change: Governing and School Inspection in England and Scotland’, Swiss Journal of Sociology, 39,2.

Grek, S., Lawn, M., Ozga, J. and Segerholm, C. (2013 ) ‘Governing by Inspection? European Inspectorates and the creation of a European Education Policy Space’, Comparative Education, 49, 4, 486-502.

Ozga, J. and Grek, S. (2012) Governing through Learning: School Self-Evaluation as a Knowledge-based Regulatory Tool’, Recherches sociologiques et anthropologiques, 2012/2, pp. 83-103

Grek. S. (2012) ‘What PISA Knows and Can Do: studying the role of national actors in the making of PISA’, European Educational Research Journal, 11, 2, pp. 243-254

Grek, S. (2011) ‘Interviewing the Education Policy Elite in Scotland: a changing picture?’ European Educational Research Journal, 10, 2, 233- 241.

Grek, S. and Ozga, J. (2010), ‘Re-inventing public education: the new role of knowledge in education policy-making’, Public Policy and Administration, 25,3, 271-288.

Grek, S. and Ozga, J. (2010) ‘Governing Education: England, Scotland the contrasting uses of "Europe"’, British Educational Research Journal, 36: 6, 937 — 952.

Grek, S. (2010) ‘International organisations and the shared construction of policy ‘problems’: problematisation and change in education governance in Europe’, European Educational Research Journal, 9,3, 396- 406

Grek, S., Lawn, M. Dahler-Larsen, P, Segerholm, C. , Simola, H and Ozga, J. (under review 2010) Education et Sociétés : Revue internationale de sociologie de l'éducation -Special issue on data and governance.

Grek, S. (2009) ‘Governing by Numbers: the PISA effect in Europe’, Journal of Education Policy, 24, 1, 23-37.

Ozga, J., Grek, S, and Lawn, M. (2009), ‘The New Production of Governing Knowledge: Education Research in the UK’, Soziale Welt, 60, 4, 353-370.

Grek, S. and Lawn, M. (2009) ‘A Short History of Europeanizing Education: the new political work of calculating the future’, European Education: Issues and Studies, 41,1, 32-54.

Grek, S., Lawn, M., Lingard, B., Segerholm, C., Simola, H., Ozga, J. (2009) ‘National Policy Brokering and the construction of the European Education Space in England, Sweden, Finland and Scotland’, Comparative Education, 45,1, 5-21.

Grek, S., Lawn, M., Lingard B. and Varjo, J. (2009) ‘North by Northwest: quality assurance processes in European schooling’, Journal of Education Policy (Special Issue), 24, 2.

Croxford, L., Grek, S. and Shaik, F. (2009) ‘Quality assurance and Evaluation (QAE) in Scotland: Promoting self-evaluation within and beyond the country’, Journal of Education Policy (Special Issue), 24, 2.

Grek, S. Ozga, J. and Lawn, M. (2009) ‘O PISA e o debate das políticas na Escócia: as narrativas políticas sobre a participação escocesa na comparação internacional’, Sísifo/revista de ciências da educação, 10, 75-86.

Grek, S. (2009) ‘In and Against the Museum: the contested spaces of Museum Education for Adults’, Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 30:2,195 - 211.

Grek, S. (2008) ‘From symbols to numbers: the shifting technologies of education governance in Europe’, European Education Research Journal, 7(2), 208-218.

Selected Book Chapters

Fontdevila, C. and Grek, S. ‘The construction of SDG4: Reconciling democratic imperatives and technocratic expertise in the making of global education data?’, in Grek, S. , Verger T. and Maroy, C. (2021), World Yearbook in Education 2021: Accountability and Datafication, Routledge

Grek, S. (2020) Beyond the standardisation vs. contextualisation debate: the role of the OECD in European education governance, in Dolowitz, D., Hadjinsky , M. and Normand, R. (eds) International Organisations and the Globalisation of governance: micro-processes and actor’s configurations, Edgar Publishing.

Grek, S. (2020) Interdependency in Transnational Education Governance, in Popkewitz, T. and Fan, G.. (eds) International Handbook on Educational Policy Studies, Springer.

Grek, S. (2014) ‘Reconstructing school inspectorates in Europe: the role of inscribed knowledge', in Freeman, R., Sturdy, S. (eds) Knowledge in Policy: embodied, inscribed, enacted, Policy Press.

Grek, S. and Lawn, M. (2014) ‘Measuring Europe: creating a 'European educational space', in Carter, C., Freeman, R. and Lawn, M. (eds) Europe: the work of governing, Manchester University Press

Grek, S. (2012) ‘Learning from meetings and comparison: a critical examination of the policy tools of transnationals’ , in Steiner-Khamsi G., Waldow, F. (eds) World Yearbook of Education 2012- Policy Borrowing and Lending, Routledge, pp 41-61.

Lawn, M., Risto, R. and Grek, S. (2011) ‘Changing spatial and social relations in education in Europe’, in Ozga, J., Dahler-Larsen, P., Segerholm, C. and Simola, H. (eds) Fabricating Quality in Education: Data and Governance in Europe, London: Routledge.

Grek, S. and Rinne, R. (2011) ‘Fabricating Europe: From Culture to Numbers’, in Ozga, J., Dahler-Larsen, P., Segerholm, C. and Simola, H. (eds) Fabricating Quality in Education: Data and Governance in Europe, London: Routledge.

Grek, S., Lawn, M., Lingard, B., Rinne, R., Segerholm, C. and Simola, H. (2011) ‘National Policy Brokering and the construction of the European Education Space in England, Sweden, Finland and Scotland’ in Ozga, J., Dahler-Larsen, P., Segerholm, C. and Simola, H. (eds) Fabricating Quality in Education: Data and Governance in Europe, London: Routledge.

Grek, S. and Lawn, M., (2010) ‘The figure in the (land)scape: hybridity and transformation in education governance in England’, in M. Simons, M. Olssen, M. Peters (eds) Re-reading education policies: studying the policy agenda of the 21st century, Sense Publishers.

Research interests

Research interests

Education governance, Education and European integration, Knowledge, Global public policy, critical social research, Europeanization, organisations and institutions, Institutions and institutional change, Policy, Sociology of Quantification, Politics of numbers, Sociology of Education, Education for Sustainable Development

Topics interested in supervising

Sotiria offers supervision on a wide range of topics in social and public policy, particularly in transnational education governance, education policy and governance in the UK, as well as in the field of museum and gallery education. She especially welcomes enquiries about supervision of research on Europeanisation in education or the role of international comparisons in the shaping of the global / European education policy field.

If you are interested in being supervised by Sotiria Grek, please see the links below for more information:

Works within

Staff Hours and Guidance

By appointment