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The OU has four strategic research areas aimed at addressing twenty-first century global challenges and promoting social justice.​


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.


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

International Development

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


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. 

Research, innovation and engagement in Wales

The Open University in Wales has produced a Research Wales Innovation Fund Strategy. Funded by the Higher Education Funding Council of Wales (HEFCW), the strategy highlights how we will develop our research, innovation and engagement work over the next three years. Our focus will be on skills development, working closely with further education colleges and employers for continuing professional development (CPD) and our civic mission and public engagement. In this area we will be building capacity to extend our programme to foster critical thinking and build an informed and engaged citizenship, enhance our offer of free, bilingual, online learning and develop and share OU research and knowledge to the people of Wales.

Click here to read the Research Wales Innovation Fund Strategy

Find out more about OU research

In the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF2014) rankings from The Times Higher Education, almost three-quarters of OU submitted research was rated as world-leading or internationally excellent, and we came in the top third of UK higher education institutions for 'research power'.

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.

If you would like to discuss the OU’s research activities or working with our academics please contact Rhodri Davies.