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Open Societal Challenges themes

At the OU our five Open Societal Challenges themes are aimed at addressing twenty-first century global challenges and promoting social justice.


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Citizenship and 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. 

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Health and 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.

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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.

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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.

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Technology enhanced learning

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