Research and Knowledge Exchange

The Open University offers an extensive range of Research and Knowledge Exchange materials that focus on social and environmental sustainability.

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Research and Knowledge Exchange

We recognise that sustainability is a global and interdisciplinary issue and undertake relevant research accordingly within each of our faculties and all four nations of the UK. This includes the Faculty of Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS), the Faculty of Business and Law (FBL) and the Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS), The OU in Wales, The OU in Scotland and The OU in Ireland.

Each faculty and nation has a thriving research community with a shared desire to understand the processes and systems that nourish and sustain the world around us.

Our resources fall into three broad areas; The OU undertaking meaningful research with practical outcomes; Knowledge Exchange that empowers our audiences, better equipping them to engage with local to global environmental issues; and Collaborative Research Projects to maximise our impact through major collaborations with external organisations ranging from public bodies to third sector businesses, benefiting the environment, economy, and society.

In the short videos below, Dr Kadmiel Masyek and Dr Suzanne Schwenzer discuss why collaboration is key within our research if we are going to address complex sustainability issues with interrelated problems.


The following pages signpost you to some of the resources available across the University to assist your research endeavours. This page is currently being developed and we will continue to add more links and information.

Research at The OU

OU/BBC Co-productions 

Citizen Science

  • X-Polli:Nation - a citizen science project to help protect the future of pollinators through learning about them and making practical changes.
  • iSpot A friendly and free community helping to identify wildlife and share nature utilising citizen Science 
  • Treezilla - A citizen science project that iencourages members of the public, local authorities, business, local groups and other organisations to map, measure, and monitor trees across the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland.

Research groups:

Collaborative Research Projects

Knowledge Exchange

In the below video (left), Andrea Berardi discusses why is it fundamental for academics to engage with communities facing the real-world impacts of environmental issues. This is particularly important when a lot of what is undertaken in research cannot be applied in ‘the real world’ unless it's codesigned with those in communities to make sure it works. The Open University can play an important role in engagement and scalability and is well-positioned to engage people from all walks of life and draw on those individuals.

We also hear from Gaia Cantelli (right), who discusses why it is so important to come together in dedicated spaces, in order that our research community can build connection and community. It's crucial to connect our academics, both to each other and to other members across the research community, who may all have disparate interests but that are all relevant to the theme of Sustainability. Gaia also discusses the OSC programme that formally launches in October 2023.


For more information on Research and The Open University, please visit our website: