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Research at the OU

The Open University is unique among UK universities in combining a mission to widen access to higher education with research excellence. Research and knowledge exchange is fundamental to The Open University's founding principle: to be 'open to people, places, methods and ideas’.

Our research underpins the teaching we deliver to almost 170,000 students as the UK’s largest university. It informs the high-quality free open educational resources we provide to learners worldwide. It feeds into the TV and radio programmes we make with our partner the BBC, which reach an audience of 40 million viewers annually.

Key themes

Our current strategic plan is aimed at strengthening our academic reputation, improving our research environment, ensuring there is intellectual breadth and rigour across all our curriculum areas with a focus on a number of key themes.

About our research

Our world-leading innovative research and development ranks in the top third of UK universities. It influences policy and practices from local to global levels.

Partner with us

Our Enterprise team are dedicated to develop Knowledge Exchange opportunities and are the first port-of-call to begin exploring how the OU can work with you.

Faculties & institutes

Our research is designed to have impact, influence policy and practice and change lives for the better and is carried out across our four faculties and two research institutes.

Research degrees

The OU has a vibrant international community of research students working in state-of-the-art facilities with academics who are leading experts in their disciplines.

Work for us

Our careers mission is to provide excellent training and development opportunities for researchers at all stages of their career so that they excel in their profession.

News & articles

Two ladies of different ehnicity talking

OU research informs new report on Culture in an Age of Uncertainty

A new report into the benefits of international cultural engagement published this month (22 November) draws on rigorous, independent research conducted by the OU, led by Marie Gillespie, Professor of Sociology, and The Hertie School of Governance in Berlin.

22nd November 2018
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Get in touch

Speak to our key research contacts by phone or email.

Contact us

Open Research Online database

OU research is available to all via our free public access online repository, home to thousands of peer-reviewed publications.

Go to the ORO website

Upcoming Events

Jan 28

Back from the future, forward from the past: The journey that is lifelong learning

Monday, January 28, 2019 - 15:00 to 16:00

Berrill Lecture Theatre, Walton Hall, Open University, MK6 7AA

Professor Devendra Kodwani, Executive Dean of The Open University's Faculty of Business and Law, will introduce the OU's 50th anniversary inaugural lecture series with a lecture on lifelong learning and the role of universities.

Feb 19

Aspects of Open: The evolution of the meaning of open education

Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - 18:00 to 19:00

Berrill Lecture Theatre, Walton Hall, Open University, MK6 7AA

As The Open University celebrates its 50th anniversary and its mission of openness, Martin Weller, Professor of Educational Technology at the OU, will examine what the term ‘open’ means and consider what an ‘Open University’ would look like if we were to invent it now.

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