Attending the 10th HERA Conference, Taipei as a PhD Education Researcher: A Memorable Experience

by | Jun 19, 2024 | Education, Postgraduate research, Uncategorised | 0 comments

What is HERA?

HERA stands for Higher Education Research Association. HERA describes itself as collaborative network of higher education researchers, practitioners, and graduate students from around the globe.  They proudly embrace members from every corner of the world, our roots and primary focus lie in fostering academic exchange and innovation within the Asia-Pacific region. 

Find out more. 

Third-year PhD Education student Zhuo Sun reflects the experience of attending a research conference in Taipei and the value of the event.

As a third-year PhD student in Higher Education Policy Studies from the Manchester Institute of Education, attending the 10th HERA Conference in Taipei was an extraordinary experience. The conference brought together scholars, researchers, and practitioners from around the world, creating a vibrant and intellectually stimulating environment. The following reflections encapsulate my journey and insights gained from this remarkable event.


Speaker on stage in front of large presentation screen

Welcome Presentation 10th HERA Conference


The opening ceremony was a grand affair, with a large audience filling the impressive auditorium. The insights of Dr. Robin J. Chen,  Dr. Dian-FU Chang, and Dr. Hugo Horta from education as public goods and doctoral students in the Chinese higher education institutions were truly inspiring. The keynote speeches set the tone for the conference, emphasising the importance of global challenges and innovation in higher education in the era of AI and marketisation, which resonates with my research interests as well.


Lecture theatre of conference attendees

Attendees at the 10th HERA Conference, Taipei


Engaging Sessions and Thought-Provoking Discussions

Throughout the conference, I had the opportunity to attend numerous sessions that covered a wide range of topics. One particularly memorable session focused on reputations as the mediator for Sino-Foreign universities’ appeal for students impressed me. The presenter highlighted the dual phenomena of reproduction of social patterns and the potential for change in reputation management, offering a nuanced analytical lens. I reached out to her afterwards, and it turns out because we are in the similar research field, she referenced my article in her work, what a lovely coincidence!


Networking and Building Connections

Four conference attendees in front of banner

Zhuo with fellow delegates

The conference provided ample opportunities for networking. I engaged in discussions with fellow researchers and practitioners, exchanging ideas and exploring potential collaborations. The diversity of perspectives enriched my understanding of higher education policy issues across different contexts.

Personal Achievements and Recognition

A highlight of my experience was receiving a certificate via presenting the work co-authored with Dr. Miguel Antonio Lim and Bing Liu. This recognition of my work and contributions to the field was incredibly rewarding. It reaffirmed my commitment to my research and motivated me to continue striving for excellence.

Reflections and Future Directions

Attending the 10th HERA Conference in Taipei was a significant milestone in my academic journey. It provided me with valuable insights into global higher education policies and practices, and the challenges and opportunities they present. The interactions and discussions have not only broadened my horizons but also inspired new directions for my research.

Zhuo receiving conference certificate

Zhuo receiving conference certificate

In conclusion, the HERA Conference was a platform for intellectual growth, professional development, and forging meaningful connections. I am grateful for the experience and look forward to applying the knowledge and insights gained to my ongoing research in higher education policy studies. In particular, I appreciate the SEED funds for supporting PGRs to attend conferences to expand their networks, as well as promote their works, laying the ground for future success in academia!

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