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Research at the OU

The Open University (OU)’s research shapes policy and practice, drives innovation, and change lives for the better throughout the UK and around the globe and addresses government research priorities and initiatives in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, from upskilling to championing research and development.

The last Research Excellence Framework - the UK's system for assessing the quality of Higher Education Research - ranked the OU in the top third of UK universities for research power and 72% of the University's research, which spans 18 broad and distinct disciplines, world-leading or internationally excellent. 

Research is critical to our unique and longstanding partnership with the BBC, enabling researchers to share their and others’ work with hundreds of millions of people worldwide and shape the public debate through landmark series such as Blue Planet II.

We empower our global and diverse community of more than 1,200 academic and research staff and 900 postgraduates research students from Milton Keynes, locations across the UK and at 18 Affiliated Research Centres, with tailored professional development and wellbeing support at all stages in their research careers.

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Research Impact

Our vibrant research community collaborates with diverse partners to shape policy and practice, drive innovation and change lives for the better throughout the UK's four nations and around the globe.

Learn more about our impact

Research student in Open University lab

Research Degrees

We have a supportive and diverse community of 900 postgraduate research students, doing cutting-edge PhD and Professional Doctorate projects.

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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.


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