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Meet the new Research Team

Researchers move on as their careers develop. This is the research team who conducted the Futuretrack Stage 5 research and are conducting the Covid-19 codicil and future track Stage 6 Degrees of Advantage? research: a longer-term investigation of the careers of UK graduates (Futuretrack Stage 5). The former research team for Futuretrack stages 1-4, led by Professor Kate Purcell, can be viewed hereLink opens in a new window.

Principal investigator


Peter Elias is an internationally-recognised expert on occupational classification. Primarily a statistician and labour economist, he has become increasingly interested in the gap between policy labour market information requirements and the deficiencies of available microdata – particularly with reference to the extent to which the expansion of HE can address national skill shortages and erode obstacles to social mobility. With Kate Purcell, Peter led the previous stages of the Futuretrack survey, and worked on previous graduate labour market studies such as Moving On and Seven Years On. His research experience includes statistical monitoring of the status of particular groups in the labour market and the relationship between education, vocational training and labour market outcomes.

Contact Peter:

View Profile: Peter Elias


Kate Purcell was the original PI on the Futuretrack project before her retirement at the end of Stage 4, and she returned to work on it in June 2019. She has been working on the relationship between higher education (HE) and employment since 1979 and conducted a series of longitudinal studies of graduate transitions into the labour market, follow-up studies of graduate early careers and related research on tertiary educational policy and practice and with graduate employers. Her main interests are on the impact of HE expansion on labour market stratification, occupational change and organisational restructuring with reference to equality of opportunity in employment and career development, mapping the increasingly diverse HE participant population and graduate labour supply, and identifying the socio-economic costs, benefits and wider impact of HE to individuals, organisations and the wider community, beyond financial premia. She is a passionate advocate of the value of mixed-methods research to address policy-related issues. Awarded the status of Emeritus Professor from 31st December 2012, she continues to work at the institute on a part-time basis on graduate labour market issues, the transition from education to employment and particularly, on developing the potential of the Futuretrack project.

Contact Kate:

View Profile: Kate Purcell

Research team


Gaby Atfield is a social geographer and experienced qualitative researcher who has worked on both the Futuretrack survey analyses and related projects. Her research primarily focusses on differential access to education and employment and social inclusion and exclusion. Within this broad theme, she is particularly interested in the relationship between geographical and social mobility and in the higher education experiences and outcomes of students from non-traditional backgrounds.

Contact Gaby:

View Profile: Gaby Atfield


Rosie Day joined the institute in July 2016 as a Computing Officer. She has over 12 years' experience working in various analytical roles. Her most recent position was as a Management Information Analyst at the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Before this she worked as a Research Analyst at the West Midlands Regional Observatory and an Information Analyst at the West Midlands Cancer Intelligence Unit.

Contact Rosie:

View Profile: Rosie DayLink opens in a new window

E Kispeter

Erika Kispeter is a Senior Research Fellow at the IER - she has worked on Stages 5 and 6 of the Futuretrack study. Erika has a background in Sociology and Gender Studies and her research focusses on gender inequalities in work and employment. She is experienced in the use of both quantitative and qualitative research methods.

Contact Erika:

View Profile: Erika Kispeter


Lynne Marston joined IER over 20 years ago and has supported Peter Elias and Kate Purcell in secretarial/PA roles and assisted with formatting reports produced by Peter, Kate and IER.

Contact Lynne:

View Profile: Lynne Marston


Stef Poole joined IER as a project assistant in 2013 and has since worked on projects such as: Evaluation of Business Class' (BITC), Employers' behavioural reaction to the apprenticeship levy (BIS), Longitudinal Study of FE students (Edge Foundation and City & Guilds), Research into the need for and capacity to deliver STEM related Apprenticeship in England (BIS), Alternative Provision Workforce Research (DfE), Evaluation of the Impact of the Levy on Accountancy Apprenticeships (Kaplan)

Contact Stef:

View Profile: Stef Poole