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Chemistry and Analytical Sciences

Chemistry is a central science contributing to the understanding of biological and environmental processes and the development of new materials. Researchers at The Open University are involved in a wide range of projects including developing analytical techniques for the diagnosis of medical conditions, exploring potential new drugs and biomarkers, and investigating new materials for industrial applications. We have an international reputation for excellence in silicon chemistry and analytical methods. A number of projects have an applied focus to tackle modern challenges in industry, with part-time students combining their studies with working in industry.

Research in Chemistry and Analytical Science contributes to the University’s interdisciplinary research centre for physical and environmental sciences, CEPSAR; the biomedical research network, BRN; and the science and engineering educational research centre, eSTEeM.

There are three major research themes:

  • Chemistry education
  • Materials chemistry
  • Medicinal chemistry and diagnostics.

Key facts

  • Research is supported by substantial funding from industry and by national and international funding agencies, including the European Union.
  • Research students are recruited both nationally and internationally (some grants are restricted to UK nationals).
  • Research students are encouraged to gain experience of presenting their research in both UK and international conferences.
  • Staff in Chemistry and Analytical Science collaborate with research centres, universities and commercial/charitable sector organisations across Europe, Asia, America and Africa.


Researchers in Medicinal chemistry and Materials chemistry have a suite of laboratories on the OU campus. Facilities include NMR and ESR spectroscopy, Faraday susceptibility balance, FT-IR, fluorescence and UV spectrophotometry, GC-MS, HPLC (coupled to MS, fluorescence, electrochemical and photodiode detectors), automated DNA synthesizer and Atomic Force Microscopy. Other centralised research facilities include support for DNA sequencing, real-time PCR and a Typhoon imager for quantitative nucleic acid detection and other fluorescent studies They also have access to the University’s IMPACT computing cluster.

Further information

If you have an enquiry specific to this research area please contact:

Administrative support
+44 (0)1908 659845

For general enquiries please contact the Research Degrees Team via the link under 'Your Questions' on the right of the page.