Simon is Professor of International Higher Education at the University of Oxford, Editor-in-Chief of the journal Higher Education, and a member of the Editorial Board of the Tsinghua Journal of Education. Simon has worked at the University of Oxford since September 2018. Prior to that he was Professor of International Higher Education at the UCL Institute of Education (2013–2018), Professor of Higher Education at the University of Melbourne (2006–2013), and Professor of Education at Monash University (2000–2006). He was the Clark Kerr Lecturer on higher education at the University of California, Berkeley in 2014, and in the same year received the Distinguished Research Award from the Association for Studies of Higher Education in the United States. He is a member of Academia Europaea, a Lifetime Fellow of the Society for Research into Higher Education in the UK, and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in the UK and Australia.
Simon is one of the most cited scholar-researchers in the world in the field of higher education studies (h-index Google Scholar 51, Web of Science 16). He draws on and integrates a range of social science disciplines in his work, primarily political economy and political philosophy, historical sociology and social theory. He works primarily on globalisation and higher education, international and comparative higher education, and higher education and social inequality. He is currently researching the public good contributions of higher education, and completing a book with colleagues on the implications of the worldwide trend to high participation systems of higher education.
His books include Markets in Education (1997), The Enterprise University (with Mark Considine, 2000), Global Creation (2009) and Imagination (2010) with Peter Murphy and Michael Peters, International Student Security (with Chris Nyland, Erlenawati Sawir and Helen Forbes-Mewett, 2010), Higher Education and Globalisation (edited with Roger King and Rajani Naidoo, 2011), Higher Education in the Asia-Pacific: Strategic Responses to Globalisation (edited with Sarjit Kaur and Erlenawati Sawir, 2011), Higher Education in Vietnam (with nine co-authors, 2014), The Age of STEM (edited with Brigid Freeman and Russell Tytler, 2015), The Dream is Over: the Crisis of Clark Kerr’s Californian Idea of Higher Education (2016) and Higher Education and the Common Good (2016).