Skip to content

Toggle service links

You are here

  1. Home
  2. Research
  3. Scottish and global impact

Scottish and global impact

Scotland benefits from the quality and impact of the wider OU's research, such as: innovations in floodplain management; the empowerment of people through intuitive technology; the development of a new theory of software engineering; improved decision-making in financial environments.

Open University in Scotland staff and research students are actively engaged in a varied programme of research work, which is of impact and relevance both in Scotland and further afield. This includes:


Putting poverty at heart of Holyrood election campaign

Dr Mooney is pictured, above far left, with the book editors and contributing authors at the launchDr Gerry Mooney, a Senior Lecturer and Staff Tutor in Social Policy and Criminology in Scotland, co-edited and co-authored Poverty in Scotland 2016, a new and updated 'state of the nation' report. 

A unique collaboration between The OU in Scotland, Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland, Glasgow Caledonian University and the Poverty Alliance, it sets out how key tools, like social security, fair work, education and local government, could be used by the Scottish Parliament to transform Scotland toward a poverty-free country.

Launched at The OU in Scotland's office prior to the Scottish Parliament 2016 election period, representatives from all five of Holyrood's political parties gave responses: Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Communities and Pensioners' Rights Alex Neil (SNP); Scottish Green Party co-convenor Patrick Harvie MSP; Scottish Labour Party MSP Ken Macintosh; election candidates Alex Cole-Hamilton (Scottish Liberal Democrats) and Iain McGill (Scottish Conservatives). 

Dr Mooney is pictured, above far left, with the book editors and contributing authors at the launch.


Solving crime through social media

Solving crime through social mediaDr Hayley Ness (pictured right) is a Lecturer and Staff Tutor for Psychology in Scotland, and member of The OU's Forensic Cognition Research Group. An applied cognitive psychologist, her main areas of interest and expertise include face recognition and perception, facial composite construction and eyewitness memory, plus more general aspects of memory, visual evidence and juror decision-making.

She is interested in research that impacts on policy and/or aims to improve police investigations. 

At a How can we solve crime? OU OpenMinds talk at Glasgow's Mitchell Library in Spring 2016, with a key focus on the role of citizens, Dr Ness spoke of her research into the way the public and police engage with social media. She is working with policing partners to better understand the use of social media in policing, both in terms of engagement with the public and the impact of citizen identifications on Facebook. 

Recent papers Dr Ness has contributed to include Are two views better than one? Investigating three-quarter view composites, published in a special issue of the Journal of Forensic Practice on facial composites.


Icelandic and Chilean volcanoes: being prepared for future eruptions

Icelandic and Chilean volcanoes

Dr Dave McGarvie, a Senior Lecturer in Volcanology and Staff Tutor in Scotland, is leading research into two Icelandic volcanoes and one Chilean volcano, via three Natural Environment Research Council-funded PhD studentships with The Open University and The University of Edinburgh. 

The unstudied Icelandic Tindfjallajökull volcano neighbours Eyjafjallajókull, which shut European airspace in 2010. Research aims to map Tindfjallajökull, understand its eruptive history and gain an insight into past environmental change. 

Iceland’s largest explosive historic eruption occurred in 1362 at Öraefajökull, and produced a large ash cloud which would have disrupted air travel. Still active, it contains Iceland’s highest land. This project aims to understand what happened in 1362, to improve prediction and mitigate the effects of future eruptions. 

An expedition led by Dave McGarvie found that Quetrupillán (pictured) in Chile has produced large eruptions in recent centuries, but that nothing is known about them. Any repeat would threaten nearby population centres. The study will examine potential hazards and inform future plans should unrest be detected.

Dr McGarvie was a scientific advisor for, and appeared on, the BBC Horizon programme Space Volcanoes that aired in 2017.


Dr Elaine Moohan brings medieval music to our ears

Dr Elaine MoohanDr Elaine Moohan, Senior Lecturer and Staff Tutor in Music in Scotland, is bringing medieval music back to life by producing a performing edition of the 16th century music of fugitive Scottish priest and composer, Robert Johnson.

She is interpreting and transcribing the medieval notation used to write down Johnson’s works into modern-day notation, which involves producing scores from sets of individual partbooks. 

Dr Moohan won a research grant from the The Royal Society of Edinburgh to visit UK libraries - which have 36 of Johnston’s works in scattered manuscripts - to compile the volume.

Once published, it will enable schools and amateur and professional singing groups to perform the music, as well as being of interest to music scholars. 

Recent research by Dr Moohan also includes investigating the remaining fragments of medieval books from Glasgow Cathedral and, as a Co-Investigator on the Listening Experience Database project, researching 19th-century Scottish diaries and letters that record individuals' reactions to listening to music.


Request your prospectus

Explore our qualifications and courses by requesting one of our prospectuses today.

Request prospectus

Contact us

To contact Scotland-based academic staff, please email:

Or call +44 (0) 131 226 3851.