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Research degrees
Research areas
International development

International development

Qualifications Duration Start dates Application period
(MPhil also available)
Full time: 3–4 years
Part time: 6–8 years
February and October January to April
PhD (MPhil also available)
Full time: 3–4 years
Part time: 6–8 years
Start dates
February and October
Application period
January to April

Space technologies have been widely hailed for their potential to improve people’s lives, so innovation within space and International Development (ID) are becoming increasingly interrelated. Our work is organised around three themes:

Technology and Inclusion. We aim to map the use of space technologies in ID programmes that aim to improve the living conditions of marginalised communities. We evaluate their effectiveness using the theory of ‘Inclusive Innovation’.

We ask: How can space technologies be used effectively and equitably as a tool to achieve societal impacts?

Partnerships. The UN, EU and corporate actors have all supported the building of partnerships between space and development research. Sustainable Development Goal 17 encourages this and is a priority for the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs. Simultaneously, the African Union Agenda for 2063 explicitly mentions ‘space’ as a priority area for Africa.

We ask: What do cooperation and partnerships in space exploration mean on a geopolitical scale? At a time when African countries are investing in their own space programmes, are these partnerships equitable?

Ethics. Astrobiology raises several ethical issues including who has the right to space and for what purpose? We look at astrobiology as a global discipline and explore ways in which the knowledge produced through accessing extreme environments, often located in the Global South, can be democratised.

We ask: What are the practices and conduct on Earth that underpin space research?

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 undergraduate degree (or equivalent). If you are not a UK citizen, you may need to prove your knowledge of English.

Potential research projects

  • Anti-colonial and decolonial approaches to outer spaces
  • Indigenous cosmologies and conceptions of space exploration
  • Uses of space technologies in the Global South
  • Conflicts around space infrastructure on Earth

Current/recent research projects

  • The use of space technologies in International Development: Opportunities and Challenges

Potential supervisors

Fees and funding

UK fee International fee
Full time: £4,500 per year Full time: £14,769 per year
Part time: £2,250 per year Part time: £7,384 per year

For detailed information about fees and funding, and to see current funded studentship vacancies across all research areas, visit Fees and studentships.


Africa from space

How to apply

Get in touch

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

Email: AstrobiologyOU

Apply now

If you’re interested in applying for this research topic, please take a look at the application process.