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Research at The Open University

The Open University is unique, 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.'


Open University research is designed to be open and to influence policy and practice and change lives for the better.

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 demonstrated that The Open University undertakes research that is both world-leading and impactful beyond academia.

We maximise our impact through collaborations with external organisations ranging from public bodies to third-sector to business, benefitting the economy, society and cultural life.

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

Research areas

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Health and Wellbeing

Achieving good health and wellbeing for all is essential to achieving social justice and lies at the heart of the OU's mission.

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Technology enhanced learning

We are the European leader for massive innovations in learning technologies which have worldwide influence and deliver digital education at scale.

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International Development

We are pioneering a different, 'inclusive innovation' approach. We are working with poor and marginalised people developing their own solutions.

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Space and Exploration

We are 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. 

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Citizenship and Governance

We are rethinking the changing relationships between citizens and authorities, from global issues like migration to the increasing scrutiny of private lives.

Find out more about OU research

You can visit The Open University's main research website by clicking here.

eSTEeM is our centre for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics teaching, which promotes innovation, scholarship and enterprise in open and distance learning.

Open Research Online (ORO) is The OU's repository of research publications and other research outputs. It is an open access resource that can be searched and browsed freely by members of the public.