Space exploration analysis and research

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

This research cluster provides a locus of research, scholarship and knowledge exchange in the increasingly important area of te analysis and evaluation of the deeper and wider socio-economic benefits of space exploration and development.

It builds upon existing capacity created by the multi-disciplinary and cross-Faculty reputational capital of the OU’s expertise on space. These include the European Space Agency BEERS, Research England E3 AstrobiologyOU and SpacePort Scotland projects.

The cluster focuses on key issues of business and society, public policy, industrial strategy and place-based leadership, governance and law, combating social exclusion and global challenges/sustainable developments goals that stem from the Space Economy in relation to the Earth Economy.

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

  • Socio-economic analysis of space exploration programmes and missions
  • A Community capitals approach to evaluating qualitative measures of socio-economic benefits of space exploration
  • Evaluating the impact of UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on space exploration
  • Input-Output (I-O) analysis of national income, employment and fiscal impact of space missions
  • The impact of space on new industries and business (tele-medicine, lunar architecture, lunar mining)
  • The impact of Space 4.0 industrial strategies on regional economic development in Europe
  • Spaceports as basis of a new discourse of development
  • The creation of innovation milieu in space related industries and sectors
  • Evolution of leadership frameworks and processes in Space city-regions
  • Collaborative and co-operative governance of space agencies and industrial partners in international space programmes
  • Negotiating new structure and processes of space governance and law

Potential supervisors

Fees and funding

UK fee International fee
Full time: £4,786 per year Full time: £12,146 per year
Part time: £2,393 per year Part time: £6,073 per year

Some of our research students are funded via The Grand Union Doctoral Training Partnership or the Open-Oxford-Cambridge AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership; some are funded by University studentships; others are self-funded.

For detailed information about fees and funding, visit Fees and studentships.

To see current funded studentship vacancies across all research areas, see Current studentships.


Picture of a planet in space

How to apply

Get in touch

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

Lin Nilsen

Email: FBL-phd
Phone: +44 (0)1908 858365

Apply now

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