Yuan is a Research Fellow in the Centre for International Research on Education Systems (CIRES). Her research interests include globalisation and internationalisation of higher education, Intercultural education, and STEM education.

Yuan’s recent research projects include:

  • An examination of the role of education in regional development: Using the case of Hainan Province in China, the findings of this study suggest that regional economic structures and cultural traditions in both the past and the present shape the provision of education, and that education plays a mediating role in mobilising regional cultural and economic resources.
  • An investigation of the patterns and tendencies of student deferrals and leave-taking in Australian universities over the past two decades, and of university policies regarding deferral and leave-taking: The findings suggest that universities should take a more individualised approach to re-engage student who defer or take leave, as this will help improve course participation and completion by students from groups that are traditionally under-represented at university, including students from low SES backgrounds.

Yuan has held various educational research, teaching and consulting positions over the past nine years, including Senior Research Officer in the Centre for Higher Education Equity and Diversity Research (CHEEDR) at La Trobe University (2019-2021), and Research Officer at CIRES (2017-2019).

From 2010 to 2012, Yuan was Program Manager in the International Office of Nankai University in China.

Yuan obtained her PhD from the Centre for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Melbourne, MEd with distinction from University of Bristol, and honours Bachelor of Arts (double degree) from Peking University, China.

Areas of expertise

  • Internationalisation of higher education
  • Intercultural education
  • Vocational education and training
  • STEM education

Contact details

(03) 9919 1845

Recent publications


Gao, C.Y. (2019). Measuring university internationalization: Indicators across national boundaries. London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Book chapters

Gao, Y. (2015). As an emerging giant of science: the achievements and challenges of STEM education in China. In B. Freeman, S. Marginson, & R. Tytler (Eds.), The Age of STEM: Educational policy and practice in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics across the world (pp. 47-66). Routledge.

Gao, Y. (2015). Invigorate the Asia Tiger: Science education in Taiwan. In B. Freeman, S. Marginson & R. Tytler (Eds.), The Age of STEM: Educational policy and practice in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics across the world (pp. 67-80). Routledge. 

Gao,Y., Baik, C., & Arkoudis, S. (2015). Internationalisation of higher education. In H. Jeroen et al. (Eds.), Handbook of Higher Education Policy and Governance (pp. 300-320). Palgrave Macmillan.

Journal articles

Liu, J., & Gao, Y. (2021). The role of education in regional re-positioning: experiences of Hainan, Asia Pacific Education Review. DOI: 10.1007/s12564-021-09717-6

Gao, Y. and Liu, J. (2020). Capitalising on Academics’ Transnational Experiences in the Domestic Research Environment, Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 400-414. DOI: 10.1080/1360080X.2020.1833276

Yang, R., & Gao, C.Y. (2020). Rethinking Cultural Competence Education in the Global Era: Insights from Fei Xiaotong’s Theory of Cultural Self-Awareness, Frontiers of Education in China, 15(4), 539-563. DOI: 10.1007/s11516-020-0026-4

Gao, Y., & Liu, J. (2020). International student recruitment campaign: experiences of selected flagship universities in China, Higher Education. DOI: 10.1007/s10734-020-00503-8

Gao, Y. (2019). International Collaborations in the VET Sector: Motivations and Challenges, Journal of Studies in International Education. DOI: 10.1177/1028315319835531

Conference presentations

Gao, Y. (2020). Cultivating Students’ Cultural Self-Awareness: Transformation from Structure to Cultural Diversity in the Global Era. Proceedings of the WES-CIHE Summer Institute 2020 (CIHE Perspectives No. 18, pp. 46-48), https://www.bc.edu/content/dam/bc1/schools/lsoe/sites/cihe/publication/Perspectives/Perspectives%20No%2018.pdf

Gao, Y. (2020). China’s capital gain in hosting international students. Proceedings of 2020 AERA Annual Meeting, San Francisco, 17-21 April

Gao, Y. & Yan, B-W. (2018). Hotspots in research on STEM education in China. Proceedings of the 5th International STEM in Education Conference (pp. 115-122), Brisbane, 21-23 November, https://stem-in-ed2018.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/5th-International-STEM-in-Education-Post-Conference-Proceedings-2018.pdf

Gao, Y. (2014). The urgent challenge faced by university leaders: measuring internationalisation performance. Proceedings of the AARE-NZARE 2014 conference, Brisbane, 30 November – 4 December, http://www.aare.edu.au/data/2014_Conference/Full_papers/GAO_14.pdf