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Awards and achievements

The OU’s mission is to be open to people, places, methods, and ideas. Researchers join our community because we are known as innovative and inclusive and have the technology and global influence to change people’s lives across the world.

Our careers mission is to provide excellent training and development opportunities for researchers at all stages of their career so that they excel in their professional areas. In pursuing this mission, we have been conferred a number of internationally recognised awards.

Research awards and accreditations

Athena SWAN

Athena Swan logos

Athena SWAN is a gender charter, administered by Advance HE.

Established in 2005 to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in STEMM employment in higher education, the Charter has been expanded to include arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law, and staff working in professional and support roles, and the experience of trans staff and students. It is used across the globe to address gender equality in HE more broadly, in all subjects, and not just barriers to progression that affect women.

The OU submitted its first institutional submission in 2013 gaining a Bronze award and was renewed in 2016. We have applied to renew our Bronze status again in 2020 and undertaken a gap analysis of what is needed to apply for Silver in future.

At a departmental level, we aim for all Schools to have applied for an award by 2023. Currently, the School of Physical Sciences hold a Silver award, and we have Bronze awards for the Schools of Maths & Statistics, Engineering & Innovation, Computing and Communications, Life Health & Chemical Sciences and the Knowledge Media Institute.

Learn more about the OU's involvement in Athena Swan.


Acknowledged for excellent practice for women

IOP Juno logo

The School of Physical Sciences has Institute of Physics (IOP) Juno Champion status which acknowledges excellent practice in relation to female academics in subjects allied to Physics.


Awarded for HR Excellence in Research

HR Excellence in Research logo

We are recognised for commitment to researcher career development.

A UK-wide process, incorporating the QAA UK Quality Code for Higher Education, Chapter B11: Research Degrees and the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers, enables institutions to gain the European Commission’s HR Excellence in Research Award, acknowledging alignment with the principles of the European Charter for Researchers and Code of Conduct for their Recruitment.

View The Open University's Concordat Implementation Plan and Action Tracker 2017-2020, its revised Success Measures for 2019-20 and Six Year Interim Review Report.


Find out more about the OU’s School of Physical Sciences.