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Research at the OU

The Open University is unique among UK universities in combining a mission to widen access to higher education with research excellence. Research and knowledge exchange is fundamental to The Open University's founding principle: to be 'open to people, places, methods and ideas’.

Our research underpins the teaching we deliver to almost 170,000 students as the UK’s largest university. It informs the high-quality free open educational resources we provide to learners worldwide. It feeds into the TV and radio programmes we make with our partner the BBC, which reach an audience of 40 million viewers annually.

COVID-19 research

Our world-leading innovative research and development is designed to meet societal needs. A key focus in 2020-2021 has been supporting society through COVID-19.

 Robert Hooke building

Faculties & themes

Our research is conducted across four faculties, two research institutes and five interdisciplinary and inter-faculty strategic research areas.

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Partner with us

We are passionate about the creation and impact of research-based knowledge and how we can apply this to real challenges.

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Research degrees

The OU has a vibrant international community of research students working in state-of-the-art facilities with academics who are leading experts in their disciplines.

We have over 900 postgraduate research students, some at our campus in Milton Keynes and others around the globe and linked through our Affiliated Research Centre programme.

We are a member of a number of Doctoral Training Partnerships and Centres for Doctoral Training across a variety of areas of research excellence.

In the Postgraduate Research Experience Survey 2019, the OU was in the top quartile for student satisfaction.

Learn more about our research degrees

Open Research Online database

OU research is available to all via our free public access online repository, home to thousands of peer-reviewed publications.

Go to the ORO website

Get in touch

Speak to our key research contacts by phone or email.

Contact us