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Research and Innovation

OU's COAST telescope in Tenerife The Open University combines a mission to widen access to higher education with research excellence. Research and knowledge exchange is fundamental to our principle to be open to people, places, methods and ideas.

Our teaching is underpinned by research. It informs the high-quality free open educational resources we provide to learners worldwide.

Research feeds into the content we make with our partner the BBC, such as TV and radio programmes. For over 50 years our collaboration has brought learning to life for millions.

Research power

Our commitment to research and societal impact is recognised world-wide, with 82% of our research impact assessed to be ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ by the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021.  

Research is carried out across our four faculties and two research institutes. OU in Scotland staff and research students are actively engaged in a varied programme of research work, which is of impact and relevance both in Scotland and further afield.

Real-world application

As well as engaging with the public and policymakers on contemporary issues, we also use our expertise to support real-world challenges and aspirations, from industry to the third sector.

Scientist working in a laboratory

Open Societal Challenges themes

Our research aims to address the global challenges of our time and promote social justice. 

Team leader, standing, with colleagues pictured in background

Knowledge exchange

Working together, our knowledge base could help meet your organisation’s needs.

For more information about OU research you can visit:

  • The Open University's main research website
  • eSTEeM, our centre for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics teaching, which promotes innovation, scholarship and enterprise in open and distance learning
  • Open Research Online (ORO), 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.

Image: Robotic telescope COAST (The Open University).

Contact us

If you have an idea for working with the OU in Scotland on research or knowledge exchange, please contact our
External Engagement & Partnerships Team.