Nick Hillman has been the Director of HEPI since 2014. He worked for the Rt Hon David Willetts MP (now Lord Willetts), the Minister for Universities and Science, from 2007 until the end of 2013, as Chief of Staff and then Special Adviser in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Previously, he was a History teacher and worked at the Association of British Insurers. At the 2010 general election, he was the runner-up in Cambridge.
He has written for a range of think tanks and journals. His journal articles include pieces on the Coalition’s higher education reforms for the Oxford Review of Education (2016), on access to schools and selective universities for Higher Education Review (2014) and on the fifty-year history of student loans for Contemporary British History (2013). He also wrote the authoritative account of being a special adviser for the Institute of Government (2014).
His recent research for HEPI includes a paper on the tenure of vice-chancellors, a history of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), a piece on the likely impact of Brexit on student demand and university governance in a new age of regulation.
In late 2020, he was shortlisted for the first Prospect magazine Think Tanker of the Year Award. He is an Honorary Fellow of both Queen Mary University of London (2016) and the National Conference of University Professors (2022).