Professor of Adult and Lifelong Learning, School of Education, University of Glasgow


Michael Osborne  is Professor of Adult and Lifelong Learning at the University of Glasgow and Director of Research within the School of Education at the University of Glasgow. He isconvenor of International Issues in Adult and Continuing education within the Masters programmes in Adult Education. He is also Director of the Centre for Research and Development in Adult and Lifelong Learning (CR&DALL) within the College of Social Sciences, and Co-director of the PASCAL Observatory on Place Management, Social Capital and Lifelong Learning.

Research interests

Michael Osborne's main interests in research and development are: widening participation to higher education, teaching and learning in higher education, the VET/HE interface, community-engaged research, the role of Big Data in Education, the Sustainable Development Goals, and the development of learning cities and regions. He has worked in the field of widening participation for some 30 years, beginning with work developing and evaluating the first Adult Access courses to Higher Education in the former Inner London Education Authority. He has recently published an overview of the last 30 years of access developments in Scotland as a chapter within the book Scottish Education. His most recent work has been directed towards the field of Learning Cities, Global Challenges in Education, Lifelong Learning for Work Transition in Mid-life, Big Data, and Teaching and Learning and Innovation in Higher Education. 

He is linked internationally to specialist groups concerned with lifelong learning in Universitas 21, and to organisations such as UNESCO’s Institute for Lifelong Learning, the Institute for International Cooperation of the German Adult Education Association (DVV) and the Asia Europe Meeting Forum for Lifelong Learning (ASEM LLL Hub within which he convenes a research cluster). Through the umbrella of the 'Big Tent' network he has established collaborative links with a number of significant players in the field of community-engaged research in universities. These organisations are the Global Alliance for Community-based Research (GACER), Asia Pacific Community University Engagement Network (APUCEN), Centro Bolivianos de Estudios Multidisciplinarios (CEBEM)Commonwealth University Extension and Engagement Network, Global University Network for Innovation (GUNI), Living Knowledge Network, Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA), Service Learning Asia Network (SLAN) and the Talloires Network. Together these organisations have produced five international communiqués on community engagement in HE, which have been disseminated very widely in Higher Education.

The collaboration with GUNI was manifested in April by the UK launch of the 5th edition of Higher Education in the World in Glasgow, hosted by CR&DALL on 22 April 2014.

He has conducted many projects within the European Commission's (EC) LLL programme, including within its Grundtwig and Transveral programmes. In the UK he has worked with government departments and with a number of agencies including the Higher Education Academy and National Association for Adult and Continuing Education. In Scotland he has worked with and for many bodies including Skills Development Scotland, the Scottish Qualifications Authority, the Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliament. Through the Pascal Observatory and CRADALL he works closely with many individuals, universities and regions around the world.

His current projects include a major RCUK funded Global Centre for Sustainable Healthy Learning Cites funded with the Global Challenges Research Fund.


Osborne, M. (2017) Foreword. In: Preece, J., University Community Engagement and Lifelong Learning: The Porous University. Palgrave Macmillan: London, vii-x. ISBN 9783319561622(doi:10.1007/978-3-319-56163-9)

Osborne, M. and Borkowska, K. (2017) A European lens upon adult and lifelong learning in Asia. Asia Pacific Education Review, 18(2), pp. 269-280. (doi:10.1007/s12564-017-9479-4)

Cheng, M., Kitigawa, F. and Osborne, M. (2017) The evolution of internationalisation strategy: a case study of the University of Nottingham in China. International Journal of Knowledge-Based Development, (In Press)

Lido, C. , Osborne, M. , Livingston, M.Sila-Nowicka, K. and Thakuriah, P. (2017) 'Big Data' techniques to improve learning access and citizen engagement for adults in urban environments.In: Scott, L., Watson, C. and Wu, A.T. (eds.) Quality of Life in Adult Learning. Series: Adult learning in professional, organizational, and community settings. Information Age Publishing, Inc.: Charlotte, NC. (In Press)

Houston, M. , Krüger, K., Molas, A., Osborne, M. and Jiménez, L.(2016) Cooperation in work-oriented learning in higher education. PEOPLE: International Journal of Social Sciences, 2(1), pp. 685-705. (doi:10.20319/pijss.2016.s21.685705)

Osborne, M. (2016) Access to higher education. In: Côté, J. E. and Furlong, A. (eds.) Routledge Handbook of the Sociology of Higher Education. Routledge, pp. 119-130. ISBN 9781138778122

Benneworth, P. and Osborne, M. (2016) Institutional approaches to supporting university entrepreneurship education: fitting entrepreneurship within university institutional architectures.Journal of the European Higher Education Area, 2-2016, pp. 1-26.

Lido, C. , Osborne, M. , Livingston, M.Thakuriah, P. and Sila-Nowicka, K. (2016) Older learning engagement in the modern city. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 35(5), pp. 490-508.(doi:10.1080/02601370.2016.1224037)

Osborne, M. , Laitinen, L. and Stenvall, J. (2016) Complex regional innovation networks and HEI engagement the case of Chicago.International Journal of Knowledge-Based Development, 7(2),(doi:10.1504/IJKBD.2016.076462)

Osborne, M. and Lido, C. (2016) Big Data Techniques to Improve Learning Access and Citizen Engagement for Adults in Urban Environments. In: International Conference of Taipei Learning City, Taipei, Taiwan, Nov 2016,

Houston, M.Osborne, M. and Rimmer, R. (2015) Private schooling and entry to medicine: a case study using matched samples and causal mediation analysis. BMC Medical Education, 15, 136.(doi:10.1186/s12909-015-0415-1)

Carlot, C., Filloque, J.-M., Osborne, M. and Welsh, P. (Eds.) (2015)The Role of Higher Education in Regional and Community Development and in the Time of Economic Crisis. NIACE: Leicester. ISBN 9781862018907

Benneworth, P. and Osborne, M. (2015) Understanding Universities and Entrepreneurship Education: Towards a Comprehensive Future Research Agenda. Series: CR&DALL working papers series. CR&DALL: St. Andrews Building, Glasgow. ISBN 9780852619469

Bystrova, T.Y., Larionova, V.A., Osborne, M. and Platonov, A.M.(2015) Introduction of open E-learning system as a factor of regional development. Èkonomika Regiona = Economy of Region, pp. 226-237. (doi:10.17059/2015-4-18)

Cheng, M., Kitagawa, F., Osborne, M. and Duke, C. (2015)Internationalisation as University Business Model Innovation: A Case Study of the University of Nottingham. In: CHER 2015: 28th Annual conference of Consortium of Higher Education Researcher, Lisbon, Portugal, 7-9 Sept 2015,

Krüger, K., Duch, N., Parellada, M., Osborne, M., Mariani, M. and Jiménez, L. (2015) Social efficiency of tertiary lifelong: first insights from a European research project. In: Yang, J., Schneller, C. and Roche, S. (eds.) The Role of Higher Education in Promoting Lifelong Learning. Series: UIL Series on Lifelong Learning Policies and Strategies (3). UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning: Hamburg, pp. 60-87. ISBN 9789282011942

Osborne, M., Rimmer, R. and Houston, M. (2015) Adult access to higher education: an international overview. In: Yang, J., Schneller, C. and Roche, S. (eds.) The Role of Higher Education in Promoting Lifelong Learning. Series: UIL Series on Lifelong Learning Policies and Strategies (3). UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning: Hamburg, pp. 17-39. ISBN 9789282011942

Osborne, M. and Lido, C. (2015) Lifelong learning and big data. In: Gartenschlaeger, U. and Hirsch, E. (eds.) Adult Education in an Interconnected World: Cooperation in Lifelong Learning for Sustainable Development. Series: International perspectives in adult education (71). DVV International: Bonn, pp. 116-125. ISBN 9783942755238

Mwaikokesya, M. J.D., Osborne, M. and Houston, M. (2014)Mapping lifelong learning attributes in the context of higher education institutions. Journal of Adult and Continuing Education, 20(2), pp. 21-36. (doi:10.7227/JACE.20.2.3)

Osborne, M. (2014) Learning cities 2020. Hungarian Educational Research Journal, 4(3),

Krüger, K., Parellada Laur, M., Osborne, M.Houston, M., Molas, A.and Jiménez, L. (2014) The relevance of university adult education for labour market policies. Revista Internacional de Organizaciones, 12, pp. 45-69.

Benneworth, P. and Osborne, M. (2014) Knowledge, engagement and higher education in Europe. In: Escrigas, C., Granados, J., Hall, B.L. and Tandon, R. (eds.) Higher Education in the World 5 Knowledge, Engagement and Higher Education: Contributing to Social Change. Series: GUNI Series on the Social Commitment of Universities. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 204-217. ISBN 9780230535565

Osborne, M.Duke, C., Kitigawa, F. and Cheng, M. (2014) The internationalisation strategy of the University of Nottingham (UK) and the establishment of campuses in Asia. In: Study on Innovation in Higher Education: Annexes. Publications Office of the European Union: Luxembourg, pp. 2-22. ISBN 9789279350825

Osborne, M. and Mayes, T. (2014) EU–originated MOOCs, with focus on multi- and single-institution platforms. In: Study on Innovation in Higher Education: Annexes. Publications Office of the European Union: Luxembourg, pp. 149-201. ISBN 9789279350825

Hamilton, R.Osborne, M. and Tibbitt, J. (2014) Profiling regional engagement in higher education: challenges and opportunities.In: Hinzen, H. and Knoll, J.H. (eds.) Lifelong Learning and Governance: From Programming to Action-Selected Experiences from Asia and Europe. DVV International: Vientiane, pp. 107-138.

Jordan, L., Longworth, N. and Osborne, M. (2014) The rise and fall and rise again of learning cities. In: Zarifis, G.K. and Gravani, M.(eds.) Challenging the ‘European Area of Lifelong Learning’: A Critical Response. Series: Lifelong learning book series (19). Springer: Dordrecht, pp. 273-284. ISBN 9789400772984(doi:10.1007/978-94-007-7299-1)

Kearns, P. and Osborne, M. (2014) El programa de intercambios internacionales de PASCAL: hacia una visión de las ciudades de aprendizaje en 2020. Decisio, 39, pp. 39-44.

Krüger, K. et al. (2014) Social Effectiveness of Tertiary Education for Adults in Mid-life. Project Report. Fundación Conocimiento y Desarrollo, Barcelona.

Osborne, M. (2014) PASCAL learning city networks. Education Permanente, 2014(3), pp. 14-15.

Osborne, M. (2014) Why lifelong learning and why learning cities? Pedagogy, 86(7), pp. 1067-1077.

Kearns, P., Neylon, T., Lane, Y. and Osborne, M. (2013) The learning festival: pathway to sustainable learning cities? Adult Learner: The Irish Journal of Adult and Community Education, pp. 90-99.

Osborne, M., Kearns, P. and Yang, J. (2013) Learning cities: developing inclusive, prosperous and sustainable urban communities. International Review of Education, 59(4), pp. 409-423. (doi:10.1007/s11159-013-9384-y)

Osborne, M. (2013) Access and retention. In: Bryce, T.G.K., Humes, W.M., Gillies, D. and Kennedy, A. (eds.) Scottish Education (4th Edition). Edinburgh University Press: Edinburgh, UK, pp. 316-326. ISBN 9780748645824

Duke, C.Osborne, M. and Wilson, B. (2013) A New Imperative: Regions and Higher Education in Difficult Times. Series: Universities and lifelong learning. Manchester University Press: Manchester. ISBN 9780719088308

Hamilton, R.Osborne, M. and Tibbitt, J. (2013) Profiling regional engagement and lifelong learning in higher education: closing the engagement gap. Bildung und Erziehung, 66(4), pp. 437-452.

Houston, M. and Osborne, M. (2013) Tertiary Higher Education for People in Mid-life (THEMP) National Report of Case Studies UK: Scotland. THEMP Discussion Paper 7.6. Project Report. Fundación Conocimiento y Desarrollo, Barcelona.

Houston, M. and Osborne, M. (2013) Teaching and Learning in University Lifelong Learning for People in Mid-Life: THEMP Discussion Paper 6.1. Project Report. Fundación Conocimiento y Desarrollo, Barcelona.

Krüger, K., Parellada, M., Alvarez, M., Houston, M. and Osborne, M.(2013) Core Dimensions of Social Effectiveness in University Adult Education. Fundación Conocimiento y Desarrollo: Barcelona.

Osborne, M. (2013) Challenges for adult access in Europe. In: Klinger, C. and Murray, N. (eds.) Aspirations, Access and Attainment: International Perspectives on Widening Participation. Routledge: London, UK, pp. 82-96. ISBN 9780415828789

Eckert, T., Preisinger-Kleine, R., Fartusnic, C., Houston, M., Juceviciene, P., Dillon, B., Nemeth, B., Kleisz, T., Ceseviciute, I., Thinesse-Demel, J., Osborne, M. and Wallin, E. (2012) Quality in Developing Learning Cities and Regions: A Guide for Practitioners and Stakeholders. Ludwig Maximilian University: Munich, Germany. ISBN 9783000373336

Houston, M., Lumsden, M.A. and Osborne, M. (2012) The Working in Health Access Programme (WHAP): impact on school leaving exam results and applications to Medicine.

Osborne, M. and Houston, M. (2012) United Kingdom – Universities and lifelong learning in the UK – adults as losers, but who are the winners? In: Slowey, M. and Schuetze, H. (eds.)Global Perspectives on HE and Lifelong Learners. Routledge. ISBN 9780415675079

Osborne, M. (2012) Mapping the UK Landscape of Tertiary Lifelong Learning. THEMP Discussion Paper 4.8. Working Paper. Fundación Conocimiento y Desarrollo, Barcelona.

Preece, J.Ntseane, P.G., Modise, O.M. and Osborne, M. (2012)Engagement in African Universities: Perspectives, Prospects and Challenges. NIACE: Leicester. ISBN 9781862015999

Osborne, M. (2011) Jean Monnet KA1: 'Excellence centres and chairs'. In: Interim Evaluation of the Lifelong Learning Programme (2007-2013). UNSPECIFIED, pp. 100-111.

Houston, M.McCune, V. and Osborne, M. (2011) Flexible learning and its contribution to widening participation: a synthesis of research. Project Report. Higher Education Academy.

Houston, M. and Osborne, M. (2011) Effective partnerships in the development of learning city/regions at both macro and micro levels: a case study approach. In: FACE 2011 Annual Conference: Lifelong Learning and Community Development, Glasgow, UK, 29 Jun - 01 Jul 2011,

Osborne, M. (2011) Country report on the action plan on adult learning: UK. Other. GHK / Research voor Beleid.

Osborne, M. (2011) Regional Networks in a Transnational Context. [Keynote]. In: International Conference on Professional Network Management, Potsdam, Germany, Nov 24 2011 - Nov 25 2011

Osborne, M. and Houston, M. (2010) Cultural and Creative Industries in the PURE Project. In: 4th Annual Conference of the University Network of the European Capitals of Culture, Pécs, Hungary, 14-15th October 2010,

Longworth, N. and Osborne, M. (2010) Six ages towards a learning region — a retrospective. European Journal of Education, 45(3), pp. 368-401.

Longworth, N. and Osborne, M. (Eds.) (2010) Perspectives on Learning Cities and Regions: Policies, Practice and Participation.NIACE: Leicester. ISBN 9781862014480

Osborne, M. and Longworth, N. (2010) Introduction. In: Longworth, N. and Osborne, M. (eds.) Perspectives on Learning Cities and Regions: Policies, Practice and Participation. NIACE: Leicester. ISBN 9781862014480

Brennan, J., Edmunds, R., Houston, M., Jary, D., Lebeau, Y., Osborne, M. and Richardson, J. (2010) Improving What Is Learned At University: An Exploration Of The Social And Organisational Diversity Of University Education. Series: Improving learning TLRP. Routledge: London, UK. ISBN 9780415480154

Buiskool, B.J., Broek, S.D., van Lakerveld, J.A., Zarifis, G.K. and Osborne, M. (2010) Key competences for adult learning professionals: contribution to the development of a reference framework of key competences for adult learning professionals.Project Report. Research voor Beleid, Zoetermeer, Netherlands.

Longworth, N. and Osborne, M. (2010) Introduction: Advances in learning city/region development. In: Longworth, N. and Osborne, M. (eds.) Perspectives on Learning Cities and Regions: Policy, Practice and Participation. NIACE: Leicester, 1 - 28. ISBN 9781862014480

Longworth, N. and Osborne, M. (2010) PENR3L and EUROlocal - facilitators of European regional economic, social and environmental development. In: Longworth, N. and Osborne, M.(eds.) Perspectives on Learning Cities and Regions: Policy, Practice and Participation. NIACE: Leicester, 229 - 251. ISBN 978 1 86201 448 0Morgan-Klein, B, and Osborne M. (2007) The Concepts and Practice of Lifelong Learning. London: Routledge

Brennan, J., Osborne, M. and Shah, T. (2009) What is learned at university? The social and organisational mediation of university learning (The SOMUL project): Key findings. Project Report. The Higher Education Academy, York.

Osborne, M. (2009) Adult learning professionals in Europe.European Journal of Education, 44(2), pp. 143-144.(doi:10.1111/j.1465-3435.2009.01388.x)

Osborne, M. and Sankey, K. (2009) Non-vocational adult education and its professionals in the United Kingdom. European Journal of Education, 44(2), pp. 271-289. (doi:10.1111/j.1465-3435.2009.01382.x)

Brennan, J., Jary, D., Richardson, J. and Osborne, M. (2009) The social and organisational mediation of university learning. In: Brennan, J., Edmunds, R., Houston, M., Jary, D., Lebeau, Y., Osborne, M. and Richardson, J. (eds.) Improving What is Learned at University: An Exploration of the Social and Organisational Diversity of University Education. Routledge: London, pp. 17-30. ISBN 9780415480154

Brennan, J., Osborne, M. and Jary, D. (2009) The universities: cultures, organisations and reputations. In: Brennan, J., Edmunds, R., Houston, M., Jary, D., Lebeau, Y., Osborne, M. and Richardson, J.(eds.) Improving What is Learned at University: An Exploration of the Social and Organisational Diversity of University Education.Routledge: London, pp. 33-54. ISBN 9780415480154

Jary, D. and Osborne, M. (2009) Implications for institutions, academic staff and students. In: Brennan, J., Edmunds, R., Houston, M., Jary, D., Lebeau, Y., Osborne, M. and Richardson, J. (eds.)Improving What is Learned at University: An Exploration of the Social and Organisational Diversity of University Education.Routledge: London, pp. 171-192. ISBN 9780415480154

Maclachlan, K. and Osborne, M. (2009) Lifelong learning, development, knowledge and identity. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, 39(5), pp. 575-583.

Osborne, M. (2009) Universities and their regional engagement.In: FACE Conference 2009, Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent, UK, 1-3 July 2009,

Osborne, M., Brennan, J. and Edmunds, R. (2009) Diversities and commonalities in the student experience. In: Brennan, J., Edmunds, R., Houston, M., Jary, D., Lebeau, Y., Osborne, M. and Richardson, J. (eds.) Improving What is Learned at University: An Exploration of the Social and Organisational Diversity of University Education. Routledge: London, pp. 157-168. ISBN 9780415480154

Osborne, M. and Thomas, E. (2009) La formazione continua universitaria in Europa: sistemi a confronto. In: Piazza, R. (ed.)Lifelong learning ed educazione democratica in Europa. Guerini Scientifica: Milan, pp. 117-146. ISBN 978888107285

Lumsden, M.A.Millar, K.Osborne, M. and Remedios, R. (2008)Working in Health Access Programme (WHAP): Initial results.Medical Education, 42(4), pp. 412-419. (doi:10.1111/j.1365-2923.2008.03007.x)

Brennan, J. and Osborne, M. (2008) Higher education's many diversities: of students, institutions and experiences; and outcomes? Research Papers in Education, 23(2), pp. 179-190.(doi:10.1080/02671520802048711)

McNair, S., Quintero-Re, L., Clarke, A., Eldred, J., Hallam, A., Lavender, P., O'Hagan, J., Pearce, R., Thomson, A., Tuckett, A., Watters, K., Osborne, M., Tibbett, J. and Tett, L. (2008) CONFINTEA VI : United Kingdom National Report: National Report on the Development and State of the Art Adult Learning and Education (ALE). National Institute of Adult Continuing Eduation: Leicester. ISBN 9781862013810

Osborne, M. (2008) Widening participation to Higher Education in the UK. In: Hanft, A. and Knust, M. (eds.) Weiterbildung im Elfenbeinturm!? Waxmann: Muenster, pp. 39-42.

Trache, M., Schuetze, H. and Osborne, M. (2008) University continuing education: third mission or first? Journal of Adult and Continuing Education, 14(1)


Osborne, M.Houston, M. and Toman, N. (Eds.) (2007) The Pedagogy of Lifelong Learning: Understanding Effective Teaching and Learning in Diverse Contexts. Routledge: London, UK. ISBN 9780415424943

Doyle, L.Houston, M. and Osborne, M. (2007) Grading: A Review of National and International Issues. Project Report. Scottish Qualifications Authority.

Morgan-Klein, B. and Osborne, M. (2007) The Concepts and Practices of Lifelong Learning. Routledge: London. ISBN 9780415428606

Osborne, M., Sankey, K. and Wilson, B. (2007) Social Capital, Lifelong Learning and the Management of Place: An International Perspective. Routledge: London. ISBN 9780415427951

Wallace, C., McKie, J., Houston, M. and Osborne, M. (2007) Assessment: a review in practice. Discussion Paper. Scottish Qualifications Authority.