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Research activity

Research activity in the School focuses on five research centres and a number of clusters.

They attract top-level research-active academic staff and leading international partners, providing a distinctive offering to funders.

Research Centres

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Centre for Policing Research and Learning (CPRL)

Aims to improve policing through a wide range of courses and qualifications, and problem-solving research.

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Centre for the Public Understanding of Finance, Institutions and Networks (PUFin)

Aims to empower the UK public to better manage their finances by providing free tools to help them make sound financial decisions.

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Centre for Social and Sustainable Enterprise (CSSE)

The Centre for Social and Sustainable Enterprise (CSSE) addresses the connections between entrepreneurial activity, innovation and the transition towards more environmentally and socially sustainable ways of doing business.

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Centre for Voluntary Sector Leadership (CVSL)

Provides voluntary sector organisations with access to free leadership development modules and research-led insight.

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Research into Employment, Empowerment and Futures (REEF)

REEF aims to pioneer innovative research in the field of organisation studies and in interdisciplinary study, to help offer a more empowering future for all members of society.


Research Clusters

Our research clusters capture key interests and common themes with the School.

We foster innovation and development in research by encouraging the formation of research clusters, with the intention that some of these will develop sufficient critical mass to become research centres.

Gendered Organisational Practice

This research cluster, as part of REEF, takes feminist solidarity as a starting point to create a space where feminists of any gender can share insights and knowledge from academic study and practice. 

History and Political Economy of Business and Finance

The History and Political Economy (HYPE) of Business and Finance research cluster brings together scholars who aim at developing a critical approach to business and financial theory. HYPE puts forward an interdisciplinary research agenda using insights from the perspective of political economy and history.

Social and Responsible Marketing

The SRM research cluster draws on the Department of Strategy and Marketing’s scholarly expertise in social marketing, marketing ethics, marketing creativity, corporate social responsibility, social enterprise and voluntary sector marketing and sustainable and ethical consumption.

Space Exploration Analysis and Research (SPEAR)

Combining natural and social sciences to create a step-change in the identification and understanding of socioeconomic impacts of space.

Strategic Management and Leadership

This cluster addresses strategy research in its widest sense. We have an inclusive and broad perspective on strategic management and leadership.


University-wide research

The OU’s Open Societal Challenges Programme aims to tackle some of the most important challenges of our time through impact-driven research. We want to apply the research excellence of OU academics to some of the most pressing societal challenges facing people across the UK and worldwide to transform lives. Our focus on the themes of Tackling Inequalities, Living Well, and Sustainability aligns with our mission to be open to people, places, methods and ideas.