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Energy and sustainability

Open University Energy and Sustainability Research For more than thirty years The Open University has been active in considering the relationship between energy and sustainability. We have research interests in electricity technology and policy, including the growth of renewables. We have much interest in energy recovery from end-of-life materials. We are also active in seeking to understand the behaviours of energy users and the linkage of those behaviours to the built environment and design. Our research involves laboratory-based investigation, desk-based assessments and qualitative research engaging with human subjects.

Qualifications available:

PhD or MPhil


For detailed information on current fees visit Fees and funding.

Entry requirements:

Minimum 2:1 in a technical or appropriate social science discipline, depending on the project proposed.

Potential research projects

For proposed projects in the School of Engineering and Innovation please email The best time to enquire is late autumn each year.
  • The Open University has strong ongoing interests in: waste to energy (science, technology and policy); and in the use of energy in buildings and communities (in the UK and overseas). There are growing links between community energy programmes and the roll-out of smart grid electricity systems.
  • The OU has a particular and growing interest in sustainable energy solutions with a potentially beneficial role in the world’s least developed countries – especially in Africa and South Asia.
  • The OU has a growing programme of research into hydrogen science, technology and policy. Hydrogen has the potential to be a major low-carbon energy carrier in the future.

Current/recent research projects

One recent example is PhD student George Matthew

Potential supervisors

Further information

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

Professor William J. Nuttall
+44 (0)1908 655113

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