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Research in STEM education

Research in STEM education with The Open University

In addition to scientific research, the School of Life, Health and Chemical Sciences also has strengths in pedagogic research (particularly within the STEM disciplines) and our research in this area primarily focuses on understanding and improving the student experience, provision of online materials, practical skills and employment skills. Online delivery of teaching material is increasingly popular and offers a fertile ground for research.

Our funders include: eSTEeM at The Open University, the Higher Education Academy and The Royal Society of Chemistry.

Key themes of our research include:

  • Assessment, encompassing assessment praxis, policy, assessment design, and engagement with assessment processes
  • Distance learning, distance teaching, including remote experimentation
  • Graduate skills
  • Widening participation
  • Work-based learning, focusing on training in the workplace, working alongside employers to provide training, and vocational training.

Qualifications available:

PhD or MPhil


For detailed information on current fees visit Fees and funding.

Entry requirements:

Minimum 2.1 (or equivalent)

Potential research projects

  • Work-based learning: the effect of employer (workplace) support on student success
  • Teaching practical skills at a distance - developing remote experimentation platforms

Current/recent research projects

  • Graduate skills in chemistry: online delivery and assessment 
  • The use of peer assessment/review in distance teaching via the Moodle VLE
  • Online context-based learning activities to improve the engagement of international students
  • Going with the (remote) flow - teaching practical chemistry at a distance
  • Enabling access to the chemistry curriculum for visually impaired students

Potential supervisors

Further information

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

Administrative support
+44 (0)1908 655808

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