Professor Christopher Millward

Professor Christopher Millward

School of Education
Professor of Practice in Education Policy

Contact details

School of Education
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT


  • MPhil, University of Manchester
  • BA, University of Warwick


Professor Chris Millward joined the University of Birmingham in January 2022 as Professor of Practice in Education Policy.  As a Professor of Practice, he is interested in generating and deploying robust evidence for policy on post-compulsory education in England and other countries, and for practice within educational institutions.  Chris particularly focuses on learner transitions between schools, further education, higher education and the workplace, and the interaction between individuals, institutions and systems.  In doing so, he is concerned to understand issues of equity and inclusion across the lifecourse, how different patterns of post-compulsory education, learning and skills development influence local and national prosperity, and how they could be improved.

From 2018-21, Chris served for four years as the first Director for Fair Access and Participation at England’s higher education regulator, the Office for Students.  This was a statutory role with responsibility for negotiating improvements to access and participation for under-represented groups of students with universities and colleges across the country, as well as funding and analysis to improve practice sector-wide.

Prior to joining the Office for Students, Chris was Director of Policy at the Higher Education Funding Council for England, in which role he developed the UK’s first Teaching Excellence Framework.  He joined the Funding Council in 2006 as a Regional Consultant, responsible for investments to align higher education provision with regional regeneration, including by establishing new university centres. 

From 2002-06, Chris was Head of Research Programmes at the Arts and Humanities Research Board, which became the UK’s first Research Council in the subject area in 2005.   This involved developing, delivering and evaluating programmes to promote collaboration between researchers from different disciplines, including the social sciences and engineering and physical sciences. 

Chris grew up in Stockport and attended his local comprehensive school.  He then studied at the universities of Warwick and Manchester, and spent the first years of his career working at the universities of Warwick, Edinburgh and Durham.


Professor Millward does not currently teach on any UoB programmes.


Professor Millward has engaged substantially with the media in his previous role, appearing on the Today programme, 5 live, and TV discussion programmes.  He has also written articles for general and trade press, and conducted interviews and press conferences with journalists.

Some examples of contributions to a newspaper without a paywall are provided below:

Media experience


Chis has significant policy experience having spent the last 20 years working for funding bodies and a regulator. 

He has particular expertise on pathways through post-compulsory education, including school to university transitions, further and higher education, knowledge, skills and work, including comparisons between England and other countries.  Also, the broader civic role of universities locally, nationally and internationally, which brings together their research, education and knowledge exchange missions.

Chris has provided evidence to parliamentary committees on issues such as higher education access, the supply of STEM graduates and postgraduate education.  He has also engaged with successive ministers, special advisers and officials responsible for higher education and engaged with it from different parts of government. 

Chris has served on independent commissions advising on different aspects of higher education, including:

  • Disabled Students Commission
  • Advisory board for the ESRC Research Centre on Global Higher Education
  • UK Student Information Advisory Group
  • UK Financial Sustainability Strategy Group
  • Universities UK Social Mobility Advisory Group
  • Shadbolt and Wakeham reviews of Digital and STEM Skills
  • Wilson Review of University-Business Interaction
  • Russell Review of University Museums and Galleries

Culture and collections

Schools, institutes and departments

Services and facilities