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  5. B11: Computer Science and Informatics

B11: Computer Science and Informatics

The OU’s Centre for Research in Computing (CRC) develops people-centred solutions to complex problems that matter to a society where computing is ubiquitous.

Our research is interdisciplinary, drawing on linguistic, ethnographic, and other techniques, with applications in domains like the arts, biodiversity, education, energy, and healthcare.

We work with end users in a wide range of organisations, like the NHS, banks, city councils and charities. We participate in and lead multi-million pound projects with partners from industry and academia.

Research specialisms

  • Human-centred computing, including new tangible and whole body interfaces, music computing, and animal-computer interaction
  • Knowledge media, including natural language generation, information retrieval and ontologies
  • Software engineering and design, including privacy and security requirements, empirical studies of software development and adaptive systems

Headline results

  • 75% of OU research was assessed as world-leading or internationally excellent (4* or 3*) for its overall quality
  • 100% of the OU environment for research in Computer Science and Informatics was assessed as 4* or 3*

Research highlights

OU research into security and privacy (funded by RCUK and ERC) investigates how mobile and pervasive systems can be engineered for dependability (safety, security, privacy, reliability) while still being usable and useful. Government funding has supported the development of a MOOC to teach the nation on cyber-security issues with over 22,000 students currently studying online.

Our research into semantic processing of scientific papers has established a semantic recommender that is now integrated with digital libraries and repositories of cultural institutions, including the European Library and UNESCO. CORE has been selected as the metadata aggregator (several millions publications from hundreds of repositories) of the UK’s national open access services. 

MK: SMART is an OU-led consortium of local and national partners in a significant Big Data initiative that will see Milton Keynes benefit from a £16M HEFCE catalyst grant funded project. MK:SMART will develop innovative ways of supporting the significant forecast growth in Milton Keynes through curation of the data that drives the city’s key transport, water and energy infrastructure, to make it more sustainable.

OU research into human and animal-computer interaction (HCI and ACI) is pioneering the development of new touch based interactive technologies to support stroke survivors during rehabilitation, blind and sighted audiences to engage with art installations and assistance dogs to support people in their homes. 

Find out more about our researchers

Current staff (research projects, publications, contact details) in the related departments