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Open University hosted SUPI

Engaging Opportunities

Principal Investigator: Professor Richard Holliman

Title: Engaging opportunities: connecting young people with contemporary research and researchers

Lead school: Denbigh School (Milton Keynes)

Original project proposal

The Engaging Opportunities project is built around an existing partnership between The Open University and the Denbigh Teaching School Alliance. Over three years we will engage 3800 young people from Milton Keynes with Open University research and researchers. The project team will work with Open University researchers and school-age students from Key Stages 3, 4 and 5 to plan, deliver and assess opportunities for engagement, drawing on a flexible and adaptable framework involving four types of activities: Open Lectures; Open Dialogues, Open Inquiry; and Open Creativity.

Evaluation research will assess success against the project's objectives: inspiring young people to consider a range of careers in research and raise ambition to succeed in these ends; raising awareness of different types of academic research; developing skills and competencies that empower citizenship and facilitate media literacy; generating awareness of the nature and challenges of contemporary research; and introducing discussion about the social, economic and ethical impacts of research.

The project will embed a culture at The Open University where schools-university engagement is strategically planned, effectively delivered, and systematically assessed. Young people who wish to make the transition from school to university will be more effectively supported, whilst those engaging will develop skills and competencies that will empower them to participate in debates and deliberations about the social, economic and ethical impacts of research.

You can find out more about the project via the Open University's Engaging Research blog and access resources here.

Project contact: Professor Richard Holliman ( and Diane Ford (

A Spotlight on school-university engagement with research

Associated case study: 
Science Matters Open Lectures programme
Communicating partnership: Participatory design with young people
Case studies
Case studies