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Research degrees
Research areas
Knowledge media and data science
Abstract image to represent Knowledge Media and Data Science

Knowledge Media and Data Science

We develop impactful research at the forefront of benevolent tech, producing hybrid methods and tools to create, analyse and understand knowledge and media to benefit society. We are a globally recognised data science centre, the Knowledge Media institute (KMi) with a focus on social applications and pay specific attention to the ethical implications of our research.

We pioneer hybrid methods that mix human and symbolic understanding with machine power and analysis. We focus on significant societal challenges, such as improving innovation and education; preventing hate crime and terrorism; and enabling new ways of fulfilled working and living within smart cities empowered through citizen oriented technologies.

KMi is a non-hierarchical and people-centred research lab facilitating the free generation of ideas, and provides students with an agile environment that encourages creativity, fosters innovation and enables talent to thrive. Our lab is founded upon a strong moral compass, passion, motivation and commitment to research. We know from experience that these are key to success and crucially contribute to attracting and retaining talented researchers. We constantly promote opportunities for KMi’s PhD students and junior researchers to attend information days from funding bodies and provide internal training and support from senior members of staff on how to write grant proposals and create an influential research network.

Key facts

  • KMi was set up in 1995, and is a cutting-edge research and development lab of around 70 people based in the OU’s STEM faculty.
  • KMi constantly delivers value to the University through our global research impact (with over 180 research projects) and as a technology innovation hub.
  • Our lab generates notable research outreach, such as with projects like CORE, MK:Smart and the Institute of Coding.
  • We provide an attractive programme of research (Data Modelling and Prediction, Machine Vision, Natural Language Processing, Smart Cities, and Blockchains).
  • With impressive alumni, KMi sees many of its PhD students now working globally with Google, Microsoft, General Motors, the BBC and Russell Group universities.


We have a wide range of powerful computing resources and infrastructure for development and prototyping, including a big data cluster and dedicated IT team. We also have a robotics lab, a multimedia room, streaming infrastructure, and a Maker space.



Research topics

Explore specific areas of research, current and prospective projects, entry requirements, available supervisors and contact details for advice.

Blockchains and decentralised systems

Computational social science

Data science and extended intelligence

New media in society