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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.


Impact

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.


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.


Scholarship

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.

PRAXIS Center for Scholarship and Innovation

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.

Knowledge exchange

News

African school children sitting on the floor listening to a teacher reading a book

WELS-led research wins funding to address gender inequality in education

Kristina Hultgren, WELS Professor of Sociolinguistics and Applied Linguistics, has been awarded £100,000 towards her study of the role English-medium education plays in gender inequality within low and middle-income nations.

20th May 2022

REF 2021 recognises 82% of OU research impact as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’

The Open University (OU)’s commitment to research and societal impact is recognised today (Thursday 12 May), with 82% of its research impact assessed to be ‘world-leading’ (4*) or ‘internationally excellent’ (3*) by the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021.

19th May 2022
Young people from around the world sit in a large auditorium. They're looking towards a speaker who is off camera.

OU experts to deliver youth training for Commonwealth governments

A team of academics from the WELS School of Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport (ECYS) have been awarded £60k from the Commonwealth Secretariat to develop a youth training programme for stakeholders across 54 member countries of the Commonwealth.

18th May 2022
Red Chinese lanterns hang from above

OU launches world’s first Online Confucius Institute

The OU has launched the world’s first Online Confucius Institute (OCI) in partnership with Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU). Housed within the WELS School of Languages and Applied Linguistics, the OCI is a non-profit educational partnership between the OU and BFSU.

12th May 2022