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The Open University

An open research university: embedding public engagement within the culture of research at the Open University

The Open University has an established international reputation for open learning. Through the work of the RCUK-funded Catalyst for Public Engagement with Research project we will extend this commitment. We have adopted an action research approach to inform organisational change. Through this we will change the culture of our research, and aligning this with our mission to be ‘open to people, places, methods and ideas’.

The Open University Catalyst project is informed by the University’s long-term commitment to social justice and inclusion. We will embed an 'ecology of openness' to inform all aspects of how researchers engage publics, user communities and other stakeholders with research, and at different points in the research process. The aim is to change the culture of our research and to improve the overall quality and impact of the University’s research portfolio, increasing the Open University's relevance to, and impact on, society.

By March 2015 The Open University will become an ‘open research university’. Public engagement with research will be embedded within strategic planning for research, support mechanisms, and the operational practices of researchers at all levels.

OU catalyst team

The Open University’s Catalyst for Public Engagement with Research Project Team

Left to right: Trevor Collins, Richard Holliman, Fiona McKerlie, Ann Grand, Eileen Scanlon; Richard Holti, Hilde Stephansen and Nick Mahony. (Missing: Tim Blackman and Anne Adams)


Dr. Richard Holliman
University Champion for Public Engagement with Research
The Research School
The Open University
Walton Hall
Milton Keynes