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Research facilities

Laboratories and equipment

Over recent years, the University has invested in new state of the art laboratory facilities. We have new laboratories for design, music, ecosystems and geobiology, and atomic, molecular and plasma research. Other laboratories for biomedical, cognitive psychological and environmental research have all been modernised.

Details of the specialist equipment and facilities available are listed on the individual subject area pages of this website.


Using the OU Library at Walton Hall

Library Services combines the best traditional library facilities and services with the latest technologies and learning opportunities, to provide a modern, quiet, spacious environment for study and research.

Your online Library

As an OU research student you have access to our world-class online library service. The Library website is a gateway to a wide range of online information resources that can help you develop your research and keep up to date with your subject. These include full-text journal articles, electronic books, statistics, newspapers, images, theses and conference proceedings. 

Reference management

Reference management tools enable you to store and organise your references and automatically generate in-text citations and bibliographies in a variety of styles. Please review advice and guidance on selecting a reference management tool.

Document delivery

Both full and part-time research students can take advantage of the document delivery service for items that are not available through the Library Services’ extensive range of electronic resources. The British Library’s EThOS service for free access to full text British Doctoral Theses.

Open Research Online (ORO)

The OU’s freely accessible, open-access database of research outputs – Open Research Online – shows the range and depth of published OU research. ORO also provides access to the full-text of a range of OU thesis. See ORO.

Access to other libraries

If you would like to use other libraries, you can find out about suitable ones near you by checking the access arrangements at Library Services.

The OU Library is a member of the SCONUL Access scheme, which allows borrowing from over 160  university libraries throughout the UK and Ireland.

Access to national libraries

All OU students are entitled to apply for a free pass to use the British Library's reading rooms at St Pancras in London. You will need to present two forms of identification as proof of your identity and the details of your programme of study. The National Libraries of Scotland and Wales also welcome OU research students.


We recognise that different research requires different computing facilities and equipment. We aim to provide the appropriate computing equipment and support to enable you to conduct your research effectively. If you are based on campus, you will have exclusive access to a fully networked personal computer for word processing, email, access to electronic libraries, software development and so on. In some research areas, specialist computing hardware and software is provided.

Additional equipment and services

The University welcomes people with disabilities or additional requirements and we encourage you to inform us of these as early as possible so that we can support you fully.

Some students may be eligible to apply for a Disabled Students’ Allowance, and you will normally be asked to apply for the allowance to contribute to any additional study costs – we will tell you how to do this when we send your offer of registration. The How to Apply section of this website gives further details.

Your questions

For advice about applying for a research degree, or sponsoring a research student, send us an email or call +44 (0)1908 654882.