Development Studies

Underpinning its international research excellence, the Development Policy and Practice DPP Group has extensive networks within and outside the University. It hosts the OU’s Priority Research Area in International Development and Inclusive Innovation, which brings together and supports the wide range of inter-disciplinary development and innovation research undertaken across the University. In the UK, the DPP group works closely with academics from a range of development studies institutes and with a consortium of non-governmental organisations. Internationally, it has research and teaching collaborations with staff and institutions from more than 20 countries.

In the 2014 UK Research Excellence Framework results:

  • OU research in Development Studies is ranked 5th in the UK overall for the quality and intensity of its research using the Times Higher Education Research Intensity Score
  • 69% of OU Development Studies research was assessed as 4* (world-class) or 3* (internationally excellent)
  • 100% of the OU environment for research in International Development topics was also assessed as 4* (world-class) or 3* (internationally excellent).

Key facts

  • The group is recognised for its internationally excellent interdisciplinary research on innovation and development and for its growing profile in generating theoretically informed and empirically grounded knowledge on the roles and impacts of individuals, groups and systems in development processes.
  • The group is continuously developing new conceptual frameworks and avenues of inquiry and prides itself in being able to attract and retain world-class researchers and students who are willing and able to expand conceptual and empirical horizons.
  • The group’s network of local and global partners provides students and researchers access to a vibrant intellectual community.
  • We focus on questions of governance of development and the role of the emerging powers in reconfiguring development cooperation.
  • We focus largely, though not exclusively, on Africa and Asia.


Most of our full-time research students are based at our Milton Keynes campus; for details of residence requirements for different modes of study see Full-time study and Part-time study.


The value of collegiality is evident with our research students co-located in a comfortable and well-equipped space, with easy access to faculty administrative and academic staff. The OU Library building is a short walk from the faculty building and provides an alternative study space as well as print collections and the main OU postgraduate common room.

We also offer access to a world-class collection of online resources via the OU Library, a dedicated Library Research Support Team, as well as other university libraries across the UK via the Sconul scheme.



Find your research topic

Explore specific areas of research, current and prospective projects, entry requirements, fees and funding, available supervisors, how to apply and contact details for advice.

Civil society and non-state actors in development

Conflict, security and development

Health systems and development

Inclusive innovation and development

States, political systems and development