Barbara is an Economics graduate of the London School of Economics and completed her masters and doctoral studies at the University of Manchester. She has a postgraduate teaching qualification from the University of London in adult and higher education. She is associated with the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research (of which PREST is now a part), the University's main research centre in science and technology policy. Barbara is a visiting research associate of the Departamento de Teoría e Historia de la Educación, University of Salamanca.
Barbara's current research interests centre on the political economy of skill formation including skills policy and migration policy regimes. This includes the relationship between work, learning, skill formation and training for competence in new and emerging technology areas. She has been involved in a wide range of funded research projects both as PI and Co-I and author of commissioned reports funded by among others, the UK government, the Centre for Workforce Intelligence (UK), the EU, OECD, CEDEFOP, NESTA, IPTS-JRC, the Human Frontier Science Program and USDOL. She has served as a commissioning member of the ESRC/Medical Research Council Commissioning Panel for the Innovative Health Technologies Programme: Research Advisory Board member of ESRC Cultural Industries and the City (ESRC British Cities Programme): evaluator of new technology and learning programmes for PROMAT/Human Resources & Education Department, Limpopo Provincial Government, South Africa and evaluator of the EU Ten-Telecom programme. She was an IBM –University of Manchester Fellow examining how new skills and occupations are created in emerging distributed technologies. She is currently a member of the Expert Group on Migration for the European Union with specific reference to patterns of high skill migration, labour market integration, exclusion and precarious employment across new and emerging technology areas.