Past projects

  • GARCIA – Gendering the academy and research: combating career instability and asymmetries (2014-2017)

The FP7 GARCIA Project is concerned with the implementation of actions in European Universities and research centres to promote a gender culture and combat gender stereotypes and discriminations. By taking into account the involved organisations, but also their broader national context, this project aims to develop and maintain research potential and skills of both, women and men researchers, in order to sustain the quality of their working conditions.


  • DOSP: Development and validation of a comparative framework for the analysis of educational and vocational guidance systems: an international perspective
    Led by France Picard and funded by the Social Sciences and Humanity Research Council of Canada. Insight development Grant.

Member of the Scientific board

Our work deals with educational and vocational guidance systems (DOSP) dedicated to the support and guidance of young people who are unequally endowed in their orientation path. The relative vulnerability of these young people, which is an issue of social justice, is characterized by differences related to their educational record, their family’s cultural and economic resources, geographic trajectories and gender that have an impact on the choice of an educational or career program. The PSOD refers to what is in place at the national or regional (e.g., township, province) level to support the student population in the orientation pathway. At the macro-social level, the PSOD covers educational and guidance-related policies as well as the levels of guidance (the pathways embedded in the school structure requiring a choice by the young person or a decision by the institution). At the meso-social level, it integrates the mission of a guidance service, the organization of the work of guidance professionals and their services. At the micro-social level, it encompasses the student population’s guidance pathways, i.e. the process of choice made throughout the school year or extracurricular activities (e.g. decision to interrupt or return to school). We have chosen to study this question in the context of the transition to higher education, one of the key moments in the educational pathway where the issue of social justice is acutely felt.
As part of a methodological approach, this international comparative study is based on Amartya Sen’s (2010) theoretical perspective on social justice. Initially developed in the field of economics, Sen’s theory (2010) has been tested in the analysis of employment, vocational training and integration policies for young people in situations of disruption (Bonvin, 2013; Bonvin & Farvaque, 2007; Farvaque, 2005); Hugentobler & Moachon, 2012), the sociological analysis of the Belgian education system (Verhoeven, Orianne & Dupriez, 2007), continuing education (Lambert, Vero, 2013; Lambert, Vero, Zimmermann, 2012) and in international comparisons of training and employment integration pathways from the perspective of economics (Olympio, 2012; 2013). Our research was based on a multicase study (Gagnon, 2010; Merriam, 1988; Remenyi, 2012; Stake, 1995; Yin, 2009). The cases studied were from the PSODs of Burkina Faso, France, Quebec (Canada), the canton of Vaud.

  • EuroAC, The Academic Profession in Europe: Responses to Societal Challenges (2009 – 2013)
    Led by G. Goastellec, M B. Lepori (USI), C. Probst (USI)

The academic profession (AP) is being perceived in public discourse and higher education research as an ambivalent profession shaped by changing conditions and contradictory expectations. The last decades have brought developments such as a growing importance of the AP as creator and disseminator of advanced knowledge, accelerated by the emerging knowledge society, but also a loss of status, increasing workload, gradual diminution of professional self-regulation and substantial revisions in the organisational fabric of higher education systems. Little evidence, however, is available on whether these changes in the societal contexts and institutional settings are powerful forces affecting the values, attitudes and professional practices of the AP. EUROAC analyses the impact of societal and institutional change on the AP with a cross-national comparative approach. It aims at understanding how the AP in various European countries perceives, interprets and interacts with changes in the socio-economic environment and in the organisational fabric of higher education systems. Within the Swiss part of the project, we particularly focus on professors’ recruitment process as revelatory of the adaptation of the Academic Profession to societal changes, hence we mainly look at academic careers. Methods include besides analysis of existing literature and documentary analysis the replication of the « Changing Academic Profession » survey (CAP) in Switzerland and, as main part, an interview survey covering academics from different types of higher education institutions and disciplinary fields and at different career stages.

  • More II. Mobility pattern career paths and working conditions of researcher (2012)
    Country expert for Switzerland and France

  • HESA (2011-2012)
    Funded by Higher Education Strategy Associate (Canada)
    Corresponding researcher for Switzerland

Marcucci P., Usher A.,2012, 2011 Year in Review: Global Changes in Tuition Fee Policies and Student Financial Assistance
Marcucci P., Usher A., 2011, 2010 Year in Review : tuition fees and students financial assistance.

  • A Comparative Study of Academic Salaries and Remuneration in 30 Countries (2010)
    Led by P. Altbach, M. Yudkevich, G. Amdroushchak, L. Reisberg I. Pacheco, funded by Boston College Center for International Higher Education (USA) and Moscow State University Higher School of Economics (Russia)

French case study

This project is joint collaboration of the Center for International Higher Education at Boston College (CIHE) and Laboratory for Institutional Analysis (LIA) of the Higher School of Economics in Moscow. This research is an elaboration of a pilot study organized by CIHE, published as International Comparison of Academic Salaries: An Exploratory Study. The new project will extend the pilot study by doubling the number of countries and using much more sophisticated methods to collect information and provide more significant conclusions.

  • PRESTENCE. Du prestige à l’excellence. La fabrique de la qualité académique. Comparaisons entre disciplines, établissements, pays (2009-2013)
    Led by C. Paradeise and funded by Agence Nationale de la Recherche (France)
    Scientific board: M. Noël, C. Lanciano, P.M. Menger, G. Goastellec, E. Reale, A. Schoen

This project is part of thematic axis 1 of the ANR SCIENCESOC 2009 programme: « sciences, knowledge, innovations, institutions ». It brings together sociologists, politicians and managers to address the recent evolutions and transformations of higher education and research institutions from a triple comparative perspective: international, inter-institutional and interdisciplinary.
It is interested in the construction and maintenance of the quality of operational entities of higher education and research – the « departments » – through the prism of the judgement mechanisms that apply to them (people, components of institutions, institutions, countries). For historical reasons, this question is fairly new in France (Musselin & Paradeise 2009), as it is more widely used in Western Europe.
By studying in depth a set of teaching and research departments with a strong reputation, the aim is to shed light on how the quality that is attributed to them is acquired, managed or compromised in the long term, at the crossroads of the two systems of judgement, prestige and excellence. On the one hand, we want to understand how and to what extent, on a daily basis, in a more or less proactive way, these departments adjust their positioning in the face of heterogeneous objectives, all of which are part of the missions of higher education and research, in order to build the quality they seek or maintain the quality they are given, despite the current transformation of the mechanisms of judgement. On the other hand, we want to identify how the dynamics of quality judgements affect such decisive dimensions of higher education and research as content, the division of academic labour or the remuneration of staff in these departments.

  • PRIME. Policies for Research and Innovation in the Move towards the European Research Area (2004-2008)

PRIME was a network of excellence to develop long-term research and shared infrastructures on policies for research and innovation in the move towards the European Research Area (ERA); the overall objective of PRIME was to carry out the research and related structural actions needed to underpin policies for research and innovation in the move towards the European Research Area (ERA). The OSPS participated to 2 research programs: the Steering of Universities (SUN) and the Observatory of European Universities.

  • New Century Scholar: Access and Equity in Higher Education (2005-2006)
    Personal grant, Fullbright Foundation


Mandates/ Policy evaluations

– Has the widening of access to higher education reduced inequalities? (2010-2011)
NESSE report.

– Evaluation du programme des bourses SNF (2009 – 2010) Funded by NSF (Suisse), co-le: J-P Leresche, G. Goastellec

– Les inégalités sociales dans l’enseignement supérieur: Etat des lieux des bases de données européennes (2008) Funded by OSPS-FORS (Suisse)

– Gouvernance, financement et assurance qualité dans l’enseignement supérieur en Chine et en Suisse (2007 – 2008) Funded by Centre for socio-economic development and OCDE

– Evaluation « projets de coopération et d’innovation » (2007 – 2008) Funded by CUS (Conférence des Universités Suisses), led: J.-P- Leresche

– Evaluation du programme « relève » de la confédération  (2004 – 2007) Funded by CUS (Conference of Swiss Universities), led: J.-P- Leresche

– Evaluation du programme « professeurs boursiers FNS » (2006 – 2007)
Funded by SNF, led : J.-P- Leresche