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The Open University’s groundbreaking research in International Development and Innovation reflects our deep commitment to educational opportunity and social justice.

Building on the university’s leadership in open learning and partnership to promote debate, our work is frequently able to shape both policy and practice at the highest levels.

The research presented is supported by two main research networks within the university:

IDII: International Development and Inclusive Innovation 

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IDII is a research-intensive unit which offers a collegial and supportive space for researchers. We are home to world-class researchers and PhD students from across the globe.

As one of the OU’s Strategic Research Areas, we collaborate with OU researchers, international networks, and institutions based in local communities to help develop solutions to bring about change.

IDII takes the view that top-down initiatives – which redistribute resources in response to market outcomes – cannot on their own hope to tackle global inequity and poverty. Market processes need to be reshaped to ensure innovation involves and serves the needs of poor and marginalised people. Working in partnership with poor and marginalised people, involving them in developing their own solutions, is the most effective way to realise a fairer and more sustainable world.

Primarily focused on research, we also connect and work closely with the OU’s International Development teaching teams. Our teaching modules offer outstanding capacity-building for a career in international development.

Our research collaborations span multiple disciplines and we work towards ensuring an integrated approach to all our research and related activities.

Find out how we can help you with your bid applications

To support our interdisciplinary approach, here is a flavour of our activities:

  • Networking: We develop relationships with academics, practitioners and policy-makers to generate interdisciplinary research projects
  • Grants:  We provide seed-funding grants (up to £2000) to OU researchers to support activities that could lead to the submission of grant proposals
  • Early Career Researchers:  We host one-to-one Development Sessions with ECRs – sessions are tailored to help ECRs conceptualise and hone their research projects
  • Proposal Development:  We help our researchers to develop their project proposals – Cases for Support, Stakeholder engagement strategy; Risk registers; ODA statements; Gender/Equality statements; compliance with Funding criteria. In our 5 years of existence, we have generated 28 successful applications valued at £9.4 million.
  • Peer review: We provide and arrange reviews of funding proposals, generally conducted by successful grant holders and by staff who have worked on funding council review boards
  • Impact:  We help our researchers plan and generate impact
  • Events: We host a regular series of seminars and webinars

You can watch this short video to find out more about how we work:

IKD: Innovation, Knowledge and Development 

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Established in 2004, IKD is a vibrant interfaculty research group that brings together academics from across The Open University to pool expertise and undertake joint research on various theoretical, policy and applied themes on international development and innovation. Our strength, diversity and ability to carry out interdisciplinary work is enhanced by a series of internationally renowned Visiting Professors, Fellows and External Associates. IKD’s cross-faculty research activity is a key element of The Open University’s 'outstanding research environment' in the field of international development, graded third in the UK in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF).

Multidisciplinary working

A particular strength of both research networks is our multidisciplinary work, with members being drawn from across the university's Faculties: Arts and Social Sciences (FASS); Business and Law (FBL); Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS); and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).  We also work in close partnership with:

Contact us

To find out more about our work, or to discuss a potential project, please contact:

International Development Research Office
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
The Open University
Walton Hall
Milton Keynes
United Kingdom

T: +44 (0)1908 858502