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Research themes

The OU’s new, five year, Research Plan 2022 - 2027 sets out a distinctively ‘Open University’ research and enterprise agenda, designed to differentiate and enhance our research profile on a national and international scale.

Areas of cross-institutional, thematic research will continue to receive institutional support. These strategic research areas are our flagships of multi-disciplinary, challenge and mission focused research capability as well as acting as key vehicles to deliver on our primary aims for research and enterprise.

Citizenship & Governance

OU research is rethinking the changing relationships between citizens and authorities in the 21st century. Its scope ranges from global issues like migration, to the increasing scrutiny of private lives.

International Development

International Development research at the OU is pioneering a different approach which we call ‘inclusive innovation’. We are working with poor and marginalised people developing their own solutions.

Space Exploration

The OU is one of the top three university space science centres in the UK. OU scientists play key roles in iconic missions, such as Rosetta, the first comet landing.

Technology enhanced learning

The Open University is the European leader for massive innovations in learning technologies which have worldwide influence and deliver digital education at scale.

Health & Wellbeing

Within the context of an ageing demographic, the OU focuses on evidence-based interventions to reduce the disease burden, prevent ill-health and promote wellbeing.