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Open University Astronomy

Universities / May 10, 2017

Big data imageThe Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics is The Open University’s largest research faculty, helping to cement its position as one of the UK’s top research institutions. Our researchers enjoy state-of-the-art facilities to support their subject interests, including specialist laboratories and world-leading analytical facilities.

We focus on innovation in the real world – developing scientific and technological solutions to some of society’s most pressing and complex challenges, leading behavioural transformation, influencing policy and practice, and addressing STEM skills shortages across the UK. Our strong commitment to interdisciplinary research is grounded in outward-looking, sustainable academic communities that engage fully with impactful teaching and scholarship, maintaining strong links with professional bodies and industry.


Nearly three quarters (72%) of the OU’s research was assessed as world-leading or internationally excellent in the 2014 Research Assessment Framework (REF), with STEM subjects making a significant contribution. STEM researchers contributed to 12 Units of Assessment, including Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, and Allied Health Professions.


  • Our biomedical scientists are working with industrial partners to develop novel approaches for selective delivery of therapeutic compounds to the brain. We are also setting up a clinical trial with local oncologists to assess the use of fluorescent probes to find the operable margins of skin tumours.
  • OU research is informing decision-making on some of the most important nature conservation sites in the UK, working with key nature conservation, land and water management organisations.
  • OU/BBC co-productions such as The Hunt and Countdown to Life: The Extraordinary Making of You reach millions of viewers every year. By working as consultants on these programmes, our academics bring a greater understanding of science – and our own exciting research – directly to the general public.

Research highlights

  • Our Floodplain Meadows Project holds a substantial UK data set from these species-rich, threatened habitats – including data collected by volunteer ‘citizen scientists’ used to improve their management. Our work promotes the restoration of floodplain meadows, and we recently produced a technical handbook for anyone involved in this vital work.

Source: stem.open.ac.uk