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Research degrees
Student views

Student views

Hear what our research students say about their experience of undertaking doctoral research with the Open University.

They talk about barriers removed, outlooks changed; interdisciplinary research and eureka moments.

Students exchanging views around a table

Lucinda Borkett-Jones

Lucinda Borkett-Jones is a research student in The OU’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Her PhD investigates ‘Ford Madox Ford’s Anglo-German Ambivalence: Authoring Propaganda and Negotiating Nationalism as a Literary Cosmopolitan’.

For me, it’s been amazing to be at an institution where interdisciplinary research is so natural and so much part of what’s done here. The quality of supervision is incredible, and the support they offer along the way.

Carlos Azevedo

Carlos Azevedo is a research student in The OU’s Faculty of Business and Law. His PhD investigates ‘British Higher Education Students’ Discourses and Experiences Within the Neoliberal University’.

I believe that higher education is a basic human right. It should be accessible to everyone. It’s important to explore everything connected to higher education, and try to figure out a way of changing things, of trying to make it something that is truly a right.

Candice Bedford

Candice Bedford’s PhD investigated ‘Distinguishing the Geochemical Effects of Sedimentary Processes and Source Region Characteristics in Gale Crater, Mars’. She is now trialling operations procedures for Mars 2020 at Johnson Space Center, NASA.

I just love the idea of being an explorer and discovering new things; that’s the epitome of space science and Martian exploration. To go through my PhD, while working as part of a collaboration between scientists around the world, it’s been an amazing opportunity.

Peter Macharia

Peter Macharia is a research student at KEMRI-Wellcome Trust, Kenya, an OU Affiliated Research Centre. His PhD investigates ‘Mapping Trends and Determinants of Under-Five Mortality at Sub-National Levels in Kenya’.

The experience of research has changed how I look at things analytically. It’s given me a different way of looking at things. I’m inspired to be able to give back to society, to use what I’ve learned to pass to the next generations.

Grainne O’Connor

Grainne O’Connor is a research student in The OU’s Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies. Her PhD investigates ‘Living with Multiple Sclerosis and the Experiential Use of Assistance Dogs’.

The ethos that comes across from the OU is that they want you to succeed. I’m a disabled researcher and I was anxious about managing the campus. They went out of their way to ensure that everywhere I went was completely accessible – it took away all my barriers to learning.

Akash Puranik

Akash Puranik is a research student in The OU’s Faculty of Business and Law. His PhD investigates ‘Creating Collaborative Advantage for Public Social Value’.

My research is actually challenging some of the priori assumptions about order and how you need to impose order. And I think creating a critical voice like that in itself can be a contribution. It makes us rethink about what are our priorities in life.

Research student perspectives

Five OU research students discuss first impressions of The OU, its international community, the support they have gained from peers and supervisors, and why they would recommend The OU as a research degree destination.

The Open University is on the cutting edge of world-class research that’s going on … To be here and to be part of that is phenomenal.