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Welcome to WELS research

Research in the Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies is concerned with enabling people and communities to thrive within an increasingly complex, insecure and unequal world. We recognise that having a voice and experiencing agency is vital for personal wellbeing and democratic renewal and we work both in the UK and in broader global development contexts to ensure that excluded, vulnerable and complexly disadvantaged people are enabled to shape the research that impacts their lives.

Find out more about our REF results.


Research areas

All of our research interests are united by a strong commitment to interdisciplinarity - drawing strength from the breadth of our academics' experience and specialisms. We are also strongly driven by the OU's social justice ethos and our research aims to enable communities and individuals to thrive in an increasingly demanding and unequal world.



How our research is making a real difference to people's lives.


Research highlights

Read more about some of our award-winning and pioneering research projects.


Research degrees

Join our vibrant community of PHD and Professional Doctorate students.

PRAXIS Center for Scholarship and Innovation  


Our scholarship and innovation centre PRAXIS brings together all our academic expertise to undertake sustained and intentional inquiry into learning, teaching and assessment practices in higher education.

Knowledge exchange  

Partner with us

Whether you are looking to train and develop your staff, or need access to an academic consultant to develop new solutions, we offer a wide variety of ways for organisations to harness our expertise.

Research news

Guests sat in a large room around large round tables at the Research Excellence Awards held in London

WELS researchers win at The Open University Research Excellence Awards

Now in its third year, researchers at the Faculty of WELS walked away as winners and runner ups at The Open University’s annual Research Excellence Awards. The awards celebrate and recognise the outstanding achievement of the university’s research environment and WELS were no exception.

30th September 2022
Close up of an oval glass trophy with a silver star attached. On it is etched the OU log and text which reads The Open University, Research Excellence Awards 2022.

Have your say: vote for Jitka to win the 2022 People’s Choice Research Excellence Award

In an OU Research Excellence Awards first, one winner will be decided externally. The People’s Choice Award asks the public to choose the person or project they feel has made the most significant difference when addressing societal challenges. WELS Senior Lecturer Dr Jitka Vseteckova runs one of four nominated projects, and tells us how it feels.

28th September 2022
Young Nepalese woman dressed in blue wearing a colourful hat looking to the camera

ACCESS Project: what we achieved and what we are doing now

A year on from funding being cut to the ACCESS programme, Professor Lesley Hoggart celebrates the achievements and outcomes of the project, and outlines the plans for the future.

22nd August 2022
Photograph of glass Research Excellence Award trophies on a table at the 2019 ceremony.

‘Groundbreaking’ research among WELS projects nominated for 12 Research Excellence Awards

Research by WELS academics has resulted in 12 nominations at this year’s Open University Research Excellence Awards, including a project heralded as ‘groundbreaking’ by Dame Elizabeth Fradd DBE.

15th July 2022