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Development at The Open University addresses the many challenges facing the global community. Our approach to development focuses on how power can be used to bring about change anywhere in the world, the conflicts of interest, values and agendas that can affect the actions taken, and the negotiations required to resolve those conflicts and bring about positive change.

Our courses and research recognise that the challenges – in particular those of poverty, inequality and injustice – posed by development are global in scope, facing people in all countries across the whole world. Our focus is on finding alternative approaches and policies to address development challenges and promote a sustainable future.

Our academics

Development policy & practice (DPP) is comprised of a group of economists, sociologists, geographers, anthropologists and political scientists who teach, research and engage people in international development. Our academics have led a series of high-profile projects with the BBC including Project 17African School and Why Poverty?. The latter aired in 72 countries to an estimated 0.5 billion viewers.

Our research

Our research strengths are in science technology innovation and development, Asian drivers in African development, migration, health and wellbeing as well as governance, security and conflicts. DPP also leads the interdisciplinary International Development and Inclusive Innovation research group, looking to address global inequality, as well as the Innogen Institute, a joint structure with the University of Edinburgh, focusing on emerging technologies and development.

We are the UK's only higher education institute that not only leads practice-based development research alongside teaching, but also implements education and health development programmes at scale in low and middle income countries. Our current key research projects include the Inclusive Societies: Migration for Inclusive African Growth and Innovation for Cancer Care in Africa projects.

How we work with others

DPP is closely linked to more than 50 universities worldwide, including institutions based in the Global South, and collaborates with over 400 other partners, from the private and NGO sectors, multilateral agencies and policy bodies. We are currently supporting international development staff through free, online courses such as Save the Children’s Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning programme, and Nesta’s DIY Toolkit

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