Open University PhD Studentships

Based in Milton Keynes, UK 

The Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology (CREET) at the Open University has an international reputation for the quality of its research. At the Open University research students are provided with a supportive environment and excellent research facilities to ensure a future supply of first class researchers. We are recruiting PhD students in Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) who study under guidance from world-class experts in the field. We encourage interdisciplinary research. If you feel that the challenge of research in this exciting and interesting area is for you and you have the drive and intellectual curiosity to pursue postgraduate research, then we look forward to hearing from you! 

We are offering up to 4 fully-funded, full-time studentships for a 1+3 programme (MRes and PhD) or +3 programme (3-year PhD).   

You will have, or expect, a 2:1 or above in an undergraduate degree or a Master’s degree in education (or equivalent), psychology, computer science or another appropriate discipline. For direct entry to PhD you will need to have completed postgraduate study that includes appropriate research methods. 

Funding is available for UK, EU and International students. Full funding for studentships will include fees and maintenance (£14057 in 2016/17) for either four years (1+3) or three years, depending on satisfactory progress.  

Further information, including more details of CREET research, can be found here.

Closing date: 31 March. Interviews will commence in early May. 

Potential topics for research are listed on the website. They include: 

  • The battle for open and engaged research
    • Public funding for research is increasingly founded on the requirements for researchers to be both open and engaged (Holliman et al. 2015). This project will address current theoretical, practical and policy developments in open and engaged research, exploring how calls for greater openness and transparency, and engagement on the part of researchers with other forms of expertise, is reshaping and extending the social practices of research. We are particular interested in proposals that explore practices of open and engaged scholarship in relation to the roles that digital tools and technologies play in mediating information, interaction and participation. 
  • School-university engagement with research work
    • School-university engagement with research is a high priority for UK research funders (Holliman and Davies, 2015). Young people are the talent from which the next generation of expertise will develop. They are also prospective citizens with a stake in how research agendas are framed and prioritised.  However, school-university engagement remains an under researched area.  In this project, you will explore a range of technologically-enhanced, research-based activities involving secondary school students. You will investigate the effects of these activities, e.g. in whether and how they inspire young people to consider a range of careers in research and raise ambition to succeed in these ends; influence the development of transferable skills in learning, communication and citizenship; raise awareness of different types of academic research; and generate awareness of the nature and challenges of contemporary research. 
  • How are digital tools and technologies influencing participation in citizen inquiry initiatives?
    • This project will combine several lines of complementary research to explore citizen inquiry activities. Building on the findings of previous doctoral research (Curtis, 2015), you will explore developments with digital tools and technologies and how they mediate interaction and online activity, influencing and extending opportunities for participation and collaboration, and the ways in which the greater visibility and value afforded to stakeholders and publics is shifting and extending academic scholarly practices. We are particular interested in proposals that address one or more of the following issues in relation to citizen inquiry initiatives: 1) what role does gender play in participation; 2) what are the factors affecting participation in different disciplinary domains, e.g. comparing arts-focused and science-based projects? 3) how does participation translate into learning in technical environments such as a publicly accessible telescope service offering images of the night sky 'on demand’, or a community-building biodiversity website for proper identification and logging of flora and fauna? 

For further information about these topics prior to application, please contact: Richard.Holliman@open.ac.uk