23 Jan 2013

Open University receives HR Excellence in Research Award

The Open University (OU) has received the HR Excellence in Research Award from the European Commission. The Award demonstrates the OU’s commitment to improving the working conditions and career development for research staff, with the aim of improving the quantity, quality and impact of research for the benefit of UK society and the economy.

The Open University is one of 11 higher education institutions and 61 other UK organisations that have been given the Award.

Professor Tim Blackman, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, Scholarship and Quality, The Open University said:

“The Open University is a global leader in research and innovation and is very committed to developing our research community. The HR Excellence in Research Award acknowledges this commitment and strengthens our resolve to continue to improve the quality of our research environment and the benefit of our research to society.”

David Willetts MP, Minister for Universities and Science said:

"Our world-class universities are once again leading the way. It is great news that another 11 UK universities have been awarded the HR Excellence in Research Award. It's vital that the working conditions of researchers continue to improve because world-class science and research are the key to future economic growth.

"The total number of UK institutions with this award is higher than in the whole of the rest of Europe put together, which is a great testament to the strength of our research base."


About The Open University
The Open University (OU) is the largest academic institution in the UK and a world leader in flexible distance learning. Since it began in 1969, the OU has taught more than 1.8 million students and has more than 250,000 current students, including over 15,000 overseas.

The OU came top for student satisfaction in the National Student Survey this year, and has been in the top three universities every year since the survey began in 2005. In 2011/12 it had a 93 per cent satisfaction rating. Over 70% of students are in full-time or part-time employment, and four out of five FTSE 100 companies have sponsored staff to take OU courses.

In the UK’s latest Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2008) the Open University was ranked in the top third of UK higher education institutions. More than 50% of OU research was assessed in the RAE as internationally excellent, with 14% as world leading.

Regarded as Britain’s major e-learning institution, the OU is a world leader in developing technology to increase access to education on a global scale. Its vast ‘open content portfolio’ includes free study units on OpenLearn, which has had more than 23 million visits, and materials on iTunes U, which has recorded over 56 million downloads. The OU has a 41 year partnership with the BBC which has moved from late-night lectures in the 1970s to prime-time programmes such as Frozen Planet, Bang Goes the Theory, James May’s Big Ideas and The Money Programme.

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