Our people

Dr Graeme Atherton, PhD

Graeme has been working in higher education for nearly 20 years. He has led regional, national and international initiatives to increase opportunity in higher education. He is a frequent commentator on social mobility and education in the UK and internationally. As Chair of the World Congress on Access to Post-Secondary Education he is leading a global movement to open up opportunity to benefit from education for learners over the life course across the world.

Graeme is also a Director at NEON, a professional organisation to support those involved in widening access to higher education and social mobility. His research interests relate to education and he is the author of numerous books in the area including The Success Paradox which examines social mobility.


Dr Penelope Hood, PhD, MSc

Penelope has worked in senior management in the university sector in a range of positions, most recently as Director of International Partnerships at the Lord Ashcroft International Business School. An external examiner to three universities, her specialist areas include organisational behaviour and culture in an international business context. Experience in the field of international education and training, embracing both further and higher education worldwide includes Botswana, Ghana, India, Kenya, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Vietnam and Zambia. She was visiting Professor at the Postgraduate Institute of Management in Sri Lanka, has supervised PhD students since 2005 and has experience of  working in both local government and the NHS.


Dr Hosein Piranfar, PhD, MSc

Hosein has a variety of academic and professional experience during a 40 year career in Higher Education. Hosein has taught at numerous UK institutions including Sheffield University, London School of Business and Finance and the University of East London.

Hosein has supervised numerous PhDs with particular experience in International Economics, Corporate Social Responsibility, Operations Management and Risk Management. He has gained practical experience as an associate researcher for major companies such as Nittan UK Ltd. Hosein has over 30 articles published in numerous journals covering a variety of topics including operations, logistics, risk management and International economics.


Dr John Webb, PhD, MSc, FHEA

John has held a range of senior academic posts spanning a career of 30 years in Higher Education. During that time he has been Head of Department for Accounting and Finance at a major UK university, has been an examiner for a UK accountancy body and for 17 years has been an assessor in Financial Management for the largest international accountancy body.

Within research John is a keen supporter of new and developing researchers and has held the position of publishing editor for the Journal of Finance and Management in Public Services, a 1* journal aimed at the inexperienced researcher seeking a first refereed publication.

John is now Managing Director of Fardings Limited offering education training, support and consultancy to higher education organisations including Amity.