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Research activity

Research activity in the School focuses on four 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 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.

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Social and Sustainable Enterprise (SSE)

The social and sustainable enterprise (SSE) research cluster addresses the connections between entrepreneurial activity, innovation and the transition towards more environmentally and socially sustainable ways of doing business.

Space Exploration Analysis and Research (SPEAR)

SPEAR focuses on research, scholarship and knowledge exchange in the increasingly important area of analysis and evaluation of the deeper and wider socio-economic benefits of space exploration and development. Building on existing capacity created by the multi-disciplinary and cross-faculty reputational capital of the OU’s expertise on space, the cluster focuses on key issues of business and society, public policy, industrial strategy and place-based leadership, governance and law, combating social exclusion and global challenges/sustainable developments goals that are related to the Space and Earth Economies.

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 Open University has named four priority research areas aimed at addressing 21st century global challenges and promoting social justice. OUBS is involved in two of them: 

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Citizenship and Governance

Focuses on the challenges of governance and leadership pertaining to global issues like migration, climate change, security and on how people’s intimate lives are increasingly scrutinized and open to public policy and corporate intervention.

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International Development and Inclusive Innovation

Involving poor and marginalised people in developing their own solutions, and working with them to bring about a fairer and sustainable world.

We are also networked to other faculties through participation in the collaborative Centre for Innovation, Knowledge and Development (IKD), which undertakes research on the contributions of innovation to inclusive and sustainable development around the world.