skip to primary navigation skip to content

Sonia Ilie


Senior Research Fellow

Research Fellow at Hughes Hall

Director of Studies (external) in Education at Fitzwilliam College

E-mail Address


PhD Education (University of Cambridge, Gates Scholar)

MPhil Educational Leadership and School Improvement (University of Cambridge)

BA Integrated Social Science (Jacobs University Bremen)

Membership of Professional Bodies/Associations

Society for Research into Higher Education

British Association for International and Comparative Education

Comparative and International Education Society

Back to top


Sonia is a Senior Research Fellow, working on projects related to inequalities in access to, learning during, and outcomes of, education. Her research uses quantitative methods applied to large scale survey data and includes randomised controlled trials of programmes aiming to narrow the socio-economic gap in school attainment and higher education access. She is the lead evaluator of the Network for East Anglian Collaborative Outreach, and researcher and project manager for the Cambridge strand of the LEGACY project. She has published on access to higher education in both England and low- and lower-middle income countries, and has extensive experience as a data analyst on a range of research projects.

Academic Area/Links

Back to top

Research Topics

Higher education access and learning; Inequalities in access to education;

Student attainment and progression; Quantitative methods in education

Back to top



  • Lectures on quantitative methods on MPhil/MEd/EdD programmes and for the University's Social Science Research Methods Centre
  • Lectures on PPD courses


  • Lectures on educational inequality on the Educational Inequality and Diversity paper
  • Supervises third-year dissertation projects (Research and Investigation paper)
  • Supervises on Statistics and Methods paper

Back to top

Principal and Recent Publications

Ilie, S., Sutherland, A. & Vignoles, A. (2017) Revisiting Free School Meal eligibility as a proxy for pupil socio-economic deprivation. British Educational Research Journal.doi:10.1002/berj.3260

Rose P., & Ilie, S. (2017). Who benefits from public spending on higher education in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa?. Compare: An International Journal of Comparative and International Education: 1-18.

Ilie, S., & Rose, P. (2016). Is equal access to higher education in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa achievable by 2030? Higher Education, 72: 435–455, doi: 10.1007/s10734-016-0039-3.

Hoskins, K. & Ilie, S. (2016). Mapping the UK widening participation agenda: contextual admissions and the geography of inequality. In Shah, M. & Whiteford, G. (Eds.) Bridges, Pathways and Transitions: International Innovations in Widening Participation. Chandos/Elsevier.

Gronn, P., Ilie, S. & Vignoles, A. (2016) The Political Economy of Leadership. In Bogotch, I., & Waite, D. (Eds.) The International Handbook of Educational Leadership. Wiley Blackwell.

Ilie, S. (2016). Educational leadership in Romanian high schools: perspectives from teachers and principals. In Sharpes, D. (Ed.) Handbook of Comparative and International Studies in Education. Wiley Blackwell.