Skip to content

Toggle service links

Innovation and entrepreneurship

research Managing knowledge and innovation with The Open University.

We have an active group of researchers working on topical issues relating to entrepreneurship and innovation. Our specialist interests include: environmentally and socially sustainable enterprise, the role of digital technologies in home-based micro-enterprises, and linkages between entrepreneurship, innovation and economic development. Our work is often multidisciplinary in approach and covers a variety of organisational types and industry sectors, including social enterprises. We are currently developing new educational initiatives around innovation and enterprise, including a specialist undergraduate programme, which may offer teaching opportunities for suitably qualified research students.

Several of members of our academic team are based in the Public Leadership and Social Enterprise discipline at the OU, which provides scope to examine cross-functional issues such as inclusive innovation, cross-sector collaboration or the role of ethics in specific entrepreneurial contexts. We are also linked to Innovation, Knowledge and Development (IKD), a vibrant interfaculty research centre that brings together academics from across the OU and other institutions to undertake joint research on the contributions of innovation to inclusive and sustainable development around the world.

Qualifications available:



For detailed information on current fees visit Fees and funding.

Entry requirements:

Applicants should have minimum qualifications of an upper second class honours degree 2:1 and usually a specialist masters in a subject relevant to the intended study with a strong research element.

Potential research projects

Internally funded full-time research studentships are advertised in January (closing date end of March) and may include the areas below. We also welcome part- and full-time self-funded applications in areas such as:

  • The promotion of more environmentally and socially sustainable models of innovation and enterprise
  • The growth, performance, leadership and governance of social enterprises
  • Entrepreneurship in home-based, micro and small and medium-sized enterprises
  • Impact investing and inclusive business development in sub-Saharan Africa
  • Realising the potential of information systems and information technology in new venture start-ups and existing SMEs, including social enterprises

Current/recent research projects

  • Understanding SME owner and manager sensemaking in relation to climate change and other environmental challenges
  • Promoting environmental improvements in SMEs: an examination of contemporary practices and interventions in the leather sector of Pakistan
  • An exploratory study of the implications of the technological and the online social media developments, on innovation in fashion retail industry

Further information

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

Lin Nilsen
+44 (0)1908 858365

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