Prior to joining SEI, Oliver worked for the German Development Institute (DIE) in Bonn and at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Geneva.

He has a Ph.D. in Science and Technology Policy Studies from SPRU (Science & Technology Policy Research) at the University of Sussex. His doctoral work focused on ownership and knowledge in electricity reform in Ghana and Tanzania. He also has an MA in International Studies from the University Leeds and a BSc (Hons) in Physics from the University of Nottingham.