ACSES is home to a diverse group of researchers, professional staff and students

Since 2013, ACSES (formerly NCSEHE) has been home to a diverse group of dedicated academic and professional staff members, all working to improve the lives of marginalised and disadvantaged students in higher education.

Professor Shamit Saggar

Executive Director

In addition to being ACSES’s Executive Director, Shamit is a Visiting Professor at King’s College, London and an Emeritus Professor at the University of Essex. He has 36 years of experience in international academia, government, business, regulation and philanthropy, is a former Senior Advisor to UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, and a Knowledge Exchange Fellow in the David Cameron administration. Shamit was previously Director of the UWA Public Policy Institute. He has held personal chairs, visiting professorships and senior management roles at Essex, Sussex, Liverpool and Queen Mary in the UK, and at UCLA, Yale and Toronto in North America. He has published six books, 70+ journal papers and book chapters, and 20+ policy reports. His research capture exceeds $70m research income.

Professor John Phillimore

Deputy Director

John is Executive Director of the John Curtin Institute of Public Policy in addition to being ACSES’s Deputy Director. He has worked with ACSES since 2013 where he oversaw the Centre’s research grants program, and was Interim Director from August 2022 to July 2023. John has extensive senior level experience in the Western Australian Government, including as Chief of Staff to ministers and as director of intergovernmental relations in the Premier’s Department. He has researched and published on Australian public policy, politics, public administration and higher education, and is a regular media commentator on Australian and Western Australian politics and public policy. John has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of WA, a first class honours from Oxford University, and a Masters and PhD from the University of Sussex.

Professor Ian Li

Research and Policy Program Director

Ian is an applied economist with expertise in labour and health economics. He has a track record of research funding as chief investigator totalling AUD$7 million to-date from nationally competitive schemes including the NHMRC, NCVER and NCSEHE. Ian has published in the top journals in his field, including Social Science and Medicine, Higher Education and the Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management. He is a grant panel member for the MRFF and assessor for the ARC, co-editor of the Australian Journal of Labour Economics and is on the editorial board of the Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management.

Associate Professor Gemma Cadby

Data Program Director

Gemma has a Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Mathematics and a PhD in Genetic Epidemiology from the University of Western Australia. Gemma’s professional background includes roles in academia and government, with a primary focus in leveraging complex data to improve health and well-being outcomes. She has been awarded more than $3.5 million in research funding as Chief Investigator and has published over 50 peer-reviewed journal articles. Gemma’s work at the Centre provides her with an opportunity to apply her extensive health research background to improving student equity outcomes in higher education.

Associate Professor Lien Pham

Trials and Evaluation Program Director

Lien holds a PhD in Sociology from Macquarie University and specialises in social justice in education, international development, and political participation. She is a respected consultant for Australian government agencies, contributing to policy research and evaluations in family, community, disability services, and education. Previously, Lien served as Director of Research and Evaluation at Thrive Networks, Southeast Asia, overseeing large-scale multilateral development project evaluations and research on gender, climate change, and community development. She also held an academic position at the University of Technology Sydney, focusing on graduate researcher training, supporting international higher degree research students, and gender equity programming.

Dr Paul Koshy

Research Fellow

Paul Koshy works in ACSESs research program area looking at education and participation and outcomes. He manages the Student Equity Data Program, including data linkage project work, the annual briefing note, and the student equity data website. His recent research work has included policy research into the impact of equity status on higher education participation and outcomes, the formulation and impact of equity policy, and the potential for using equity rankings in higher education.

Miriam Fisher

Communications and Stakeholder Engagement Manager

Miriam holds a Master of International Relations from Griffith University and a Bachelor of Arts from The University of Western Australia. A former journalist, Miriam has worked in newsrooms in Australia, India and Nepal covering topics ranging from education, health and human rights through to mountaineering, music and mateship. She authored a book for the Australian Embassy Kathmandu, campaigned for women journalists’ rights, consulted for I/NGOs and United Nations agencies and taught English to impoverished children in tsunami-ravaged villages. Prior to joining the ACSES team, Miriam headed UWA Public Policy Institute’s communications and engagement strategy in Australia and the Indian Ocean Region.

Indu Rani

Administrative Officer

Indu has a Master of Arts and a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in English from Maharshi Dayanand University, India. She also holds Post Graduate Diploma in Human Resource Management. She has around 10 years of experience as an educator and administrator within public and private universities in India. Indu has undertaken additional duties as assigned and worked as a member of several committees, including examinations, student placement, anti-ragging and admissions. She has also done her research work in the field of Behaviourist and Humanistic psychology and published and presented several papers in conferences and seminars.