Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
Milton Keynes, United Kingdom

Open University is also the name of other institutions. See Distance education for a list. The Open University File:Open University coat of arms. pngMotto Learn and LiveEstablished 1969Type PublicChancellor Lord Puttnam of Queensgate CBEVice-Chancellor Martin G. Wikipedia.


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Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: ESRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 595.65K | Year: 2017

The past decade has seen the widespread emergence of what are now often called smart cities. Smart cities are generally understood to use the data produced by digital technologies to enhance their sustainability (by encouraging more efficient use of resources), economic growth (through innovating new products and markets) and openness (by enabling greater citizen participation in city governance). Smart cities are a global phenomenon at the heart of how many cities are planning for future growth, and the UK is no exception. Over half of UK cities are implementing smart projects, and the governments Information Economy Strategy aims to make the UK a global hub of smart city delivery by capturing 10 per cent of the global smart city market by 2020. The government directly funds several large smart city projects, sponsors three innovation Catapults with direct links to smart initiatives, and the British Standards Institute is developing a framework for implementing smart city technologies. Smart, then, is increasingly central to UK urban development. Smart technology in UK cities takes many forms, from smart grids, to sensors and chargers embedded in the built environment, to smartphone apps, to online open data repositories and dashboards. Smart cities are much, much more than their technological devices, though: a smart city also requires smart urban policy-making, it produces smart products, it has smart citizens and it has visions of what smart is and should be, and all these things converge and diverge in all sorts of ways. Currently, although local community and citizen participation is repeatedly asserted to be a prequisite for a successful smart city, almost nothing is known about how the development and rollout of smart policies and technologies actually engage city residents and workers. Who are smartphone apps designed for and what social needs do they ignore? What kind of populations are described by smart data hubs, and who do policies using such data therefore address? Indeed, various concerns have been voiced by journalists, academics and urban activists that smart activity may well not reach socially marginalised groups and individuals, for example, and that it might therefore contribute to increased levels of social polarisation in cities between the digital haves and have-nots. This project grasps the chance to answer these questions at a critical moment in the maturing of smart, and offers a real opportunity to generate social science that can both analyse and inform developments. Through a detailed empirical study of an actually-existing smart city - Milton Keynes - this project examines how smart policies, technologies, products, visions and engagement activities imagine particular kinds of users, citizens and consumers. It will thus enable a wide range of public and private-sector local stakeholders in MK to understand much better who their smart activity is engaging, how and why. These findings will then help to ensure that smart city activities are as accessible to as many different kinds of people as possible, and that as many people as possible are engaged by the smart city emerging in Milton Keynes. The project has been designed in collaboration with a range of local and national stakeholders in the UK smart city scene, including MK Council, MK:Smart, the Transport Systems Catapult, as well as Community Action MK, the umbrella group for voluntary and community groups in the city. This means that not only will its findings help MK to be a socially-inclusive smart city, but also that the projects findings will have impact on smart cities across the UK and beyond.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: STFC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 1.19M | Year: 2017

Our research programme, Astronomy at the Open University, covers the breadth of cosmic evolution, from dark energy to the birth of planets. We do this research by observation, laboratory experiments, simulations and modelling. We use purpose-designed laboratories and instruments, and instruments on telescopes and spacecraft to make our observations and measurements. Our group is based in the Department of Physical Sciences at the OU. So what are we trying to find out? We have 8 separate projects, from exoplanets and stars to distant galaxies. We already know a lot about how the Solar System came about. The Sun and planets formed from a cloud of dust and gas about 4570 million years ago. The cloud collapsed to a spinning disk and dust and gas spiralled inwards. The core of the disk became hot, forming the Sun, while the leftover dust and gas formed the planets. Boulders gravitated together to make planets, but no-one knows how the dust grains became boulders. We are experimenting with colliding centimetre-sized particles in zero-gravity conditions to see if they stick together, to find the missing link in how planets form. We also look at processes that cause stars to change as they age. Only recently has it been recognised that so many stars are binary systems, where two or more stars are in close association and affect each others motion. Such systems affect the way mass and energy is lost from a star, and how they are transferred into the interstellar medium. We will study how binarity affects the behaviour of massive stars (>20 times the mass of the Sun) and low mass stars (< the mass of the Sun), and how star populations change as they age. Studying these effects is vital, because the environment of a star influences any planets that surround it. Many hundreds of planets have been discovered around other stars (exoplanets) and we are working to describe the range of properties of these planets, especially when they are located close to their central star. A star can even completely destroy a close-in exoplanet, which could be an important new source of dust in the nearby universe and even in distant galaxies in the early Universe. Also in the early Universe, we can use the way that galaxies warp space and time to learn about the dark matter that surrounds them, and the dark energy that drives them apart. What else do we do? We build and test instruments for ground-based telescopes and for space missions, striving to make them smaller and lighter, and explore how they can be used on Earth for medical or security purposes. One of the most important benefits of our research is that it helps to train and inspire students: the next generation of scientists and engineers. We also enjoy telling as many people as possible about our work, and what we have learned from it about our origins.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 1.05M | Year: 2017

Treating older adults for medical conditions is complicated because they may need treatment for multiple conditions and they may also have chronic conditions such as reduced strength, mobility, hearing, eyesight or cognitive impairments such as dementia. This means hospital in-patient treatments may take longer and they may be unable to leave hospital to recover at home if they do not have a spouse/partner or family/friends/neighbours able to look after them. Older adults recovering at home frequently rely on circles of support which range from relatives and neighbours, to the voluntary sector, social workers, paid carers, and medical professionals. The STRETCH project aims to help coordinate these circles of support with both wearable and smart home technologies to enhance the social and technical resilience of these circles of support. This should have the double benefit of increasing NHS capacity to cope with increasing numbers of older patients while improving care by making sure that medical professionals have timely and accurate information at all times about their patients. By having intelligently combined both the human and sensor-based sources of data, physicians will be able to recognize when a patient is deteriorating and intervene early to pre-empt problems or longer hospital stays.


Grant
Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2016 | Award Amount: 3.88M | Year: 2016

Chemistry is fundamental to nanotechnology, as chemistry can prepare specifically tailored molecules to serve, in a bottom-up approach, as the building blocks for the fabrication of functional and structured nano-materials. Nanotechnology is the technology of the 21st century with applications from electronics to biotechnology and medicine. The next decade will thus be characterized by an increasing industrial demand for novel nanostructures with individual physical and chemical properties tuned to specific applications. This, in turn, requires increased flexibility and control over material composition, shape and resolution. To meet this demand the chemistry and the physics behind new and emerging nanoscale fabrication methods must be well understood and this understanding must be systematically deployed to advance these methods into commercially viable fabrication technologies. Simultaneously to ensure that Europe is a significant player in this economically and technologically important industry, the European nanotechnology industry must have access to well trained individuals with both the technical skills and a broad understanding of the physical and chemical parameters governing the performance of next generation processing techniques and, the skills and drive needed for further innovation and entrepreneurship in the nano-technology field. ELENA addresses these scientific and training needs by: i) studying the chemistry underpinning two emerging nano-technology writing techniques; Focused Electron Beam Induced Processing and Extreme Ultra Violet Lithography, ii) exploiting knowledge gained in (i) to develop these techniques such that they may be made commercially competitive, and iii) training a new generation of European scientists with a fundamental understanding of the physics and chemistry behind these processes and the mind set for innovation and entrepreneurship to provide an exemplar for up-skilling European nanotechnology industry.


Grant
Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2016 | Award Amount: 3.46M | Year: 2017

Quantum Information Access and Retrieval Theory We aim to establish an European Training Network (ETN) on QUantum information Access and Retrieval Theory (QUARTZ). Towards a new approach to Information Access and Retrieval (IAR) addressing the challenges of the dynamic and multimodal nature of the data and user interaction context, QUARTZ aims to educate its Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) to adopt a novel theoretically and empirically motivated approach to IAR based on the quantum mechanical framework that gives up the notions of unimodal features and classical ranking models disconnected from context. Each ESR will be aware that the current state of the art of IAR is not sufficient to address the challenges of a dynamic, adaptive and context-aware user-machine interaction and to make a major breakthrough in the overall effectiveness of retrieval systems, and that a genuine theoretical breakthrough is on the contrary necessary. We believe that this breakthrough can be provided by quantum theory which can integrate abstract vector spaces, probability spaces and logic in a single theoretical framework which extend and generalize the classical vector, probability and logic spaces utilised in IAR. QUARTZ will consist of training activities and ESR research projects which investigate theoretical issues and evaluate methods and prototypes for adaptive IAR systems managing large data collections and meeting the end users information needs in a dynamic context.


Grant
Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: BG-09-2016 | Award Amount: 15.49M | Year: 2016

The overall objective of INTAROS is to develop an integrated Arctic Observation System (iAOS) by extending, improving and unifying existing systems in the different regions of the Arctic. INTAROS will have a strong multidisciplinary focus, with tools for integration of data from atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere and terrestrial sciences, provided by institutions in Europe, North America and Asia. Satellite earth observation data plays an increasingly important role in such observing systems, because the amount of EO data for observing the global climate and environment grows year by year. In situ observing systems are much more limited due to logistical constraints and cost limitations. The sparseness of in situ data is therefore the largest gap in the overall observing system. INTAROS will assess strengths and weaknesses of existing observing systems and contribute with innovative solutions to fill some of the critical gaps in the in situ observing network. INTAROS will develop a platform, iAOS, to search for and access data from distributed databases. The evolution into a sustainable Arctic observing system requires coordination, mobilization and cooperation between the existing European and international infrastructures (in-situ and remote including space-based), the modeling communities and relevant stakeholder groups. INTAROS will include development of community-based observing systems, where local knowledge is merged with scientific data. An integrated Arctic Observation System will enable better-informed decisions and better-documented processes within key sectors (e.g. local communities, shipping, tourism, fisheries), in order to strengthen the societal and economic role of the Arctic region and support the EU strategy for the Arctic and related maritime and environmental policies.


Grant
Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: CSA | Phase: ICT-13-2016 | Award Amount: 1.42M | Year: 2017

The main goal of the FIREHUB2020 project is to transform the current FIRE scenario into a dynamic, collaborative, and participatory Innovation ecosystem capable of more effectively supporting and coordinating activities across the whole FIRE/FIRE\ context. The main idea is to guarantee continuity by building on top of the results and major achievements previous FIRE CSAs (FIRE WORKS, FIRE STATION, AmpliFIRE, CI-FIRE and FUSION) have produced, but give a major impulse to the whole FIRE community by providing an interactive framework that will assist all FIRE stakeholders, including new comers and outside players in related domains, via a unique set of tools and mechanisms. The selected coordination and support tools and mechanisms will be at the core of the FIRE2020 collaborative platform, which will offer and online collaboration environment (the FIRE social network platform!?) to facilitate exchange and promotion of know-how, technical activities to be coordinated, strategic liaisons to be established and managed, performance and progress for the overall FIRE\ initiative to be monitored and assessed.


Grant
Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: IA | Phase: ICT-22-2016 | Award Amount: 5.15M | Year: 2017

The key objective of our project is to bridge the gap between secondary schools and higher education and research by better integrating formal and informal learning scenarios and adapting both the technology and the methodology that students will most likely be facing in universities. We are focusing on the context of secondary schools, often referred to as high schools, which provide secondary education between the ages of 11 and 19 depending on the country, after primary school and before higher education. The learning context from the perspective of the students is the intersection of formal and informal spaces, a dynamic hybrid learning environment where synchronous activities meet in both virtual and real dimensions. For this, we propose to develop an innovative Up to University (Up2U) ecosystem based on proven experiences in higher education and big research that facilitates open, more effective and efficient co-design, co-creation, and use of digital content, tools and services adapted for personalised learning and teaching of high school students preparing for university. We will address project based learning and peer-to-peer learning scenarios. We strongly believe that all the tools and services the project is going to use and/or make available (i.e. incorporate, design, develop and test) must be sustainable after the lifetime of the project. Therefore, the project is going to develop business plans and investigate appropriate business models using the expertise of the Small Medium Enterprise and National Research and Education Network partners and their contacts with third-party business actors. Our plan is to make it easy for new schools to join the Up2U infrastructure and ecosystem that will form a federated market-place for the learning community.


Grant
Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: IA | Phase: ICT-20-2015 | Award Amount: 7.09M | Year: 2016

A major obstacle to increase the efficiency, effectiveness and quality of education in Europe is the lack of widely available, accessible, multilingual, timely, engaging and high-quality educational material (i.e. OpenCourseWare). The creation of comprehensive OpenCourseWare (OCW) is tedious, time-consuming and expensive, with the effect, that often courseware employed by teachers, instructors and professors is incomplete, outdated, inaccessible to those with disabilities and dull. With the open-source SlideWiki platform (available at SlideWiki.org) the effort of the creation, translation and evolution of highly-structured remixable OCW can be widely shared (i.e. crowdsourced). Similarly to Wikipedia for encyclopaedic content, SlideWiki allows (1) to collaboratively create comprehensive OCW (curricula, slide presentations, self-assessment tests, illustrations etc.) online in a crowdsourcing manner, (2) to semi-automatically translate this content into more than 50 different languages and to improve the translations in a collaborative manner and (3) to support engagement and social networking of educators and learners around that content. SlideWiki is already used by hundreds of educators, thousands of learners. Several hundred comprehensive course materials are available in SlideWiki in dozens of languages. In this large-scale trial project, we will further mature the SlideWiki technology platform, integrate it with a state-of-the-art MOOC delivery platform and perform four large-scale trials in (1) secondary education, (2) vocational and professional training, (3) higher education and (4) community-driven open-education. Each of these large-scale trials will be performed with hundreds of educators and thousands of learners in countries all over Europe. A particular focus of the technology development and testing in the trials will be the suitability for academics, teachers and learners with disabilities.


Grant
Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: IA | Phase: ICT-20-2015 | Award Amount: 7.28M | Year: 2016

Although online education is a paramount pillar of formal, non-formal and informal learning, institutions may still be reluctant to wager for a fully online educational model. As such, there is still a reliance on face-to-face assessment, since online alternatives do not have the deserved expected social recognition and reliability. Thus, the creation of an e-assessment system that will be able to provide effective proof of student identity, authorship within the integration of selected technologies in current learning activities in a scalable and cost efficient manner would be very advantageous. The TeSLA project provides to educational institutions, an adaptive trust e-assessment system for assuring e-assessment processes in online and blended environments. It will support both continuous and final assessment to improve the trust level across students, teachers and institutions. The system will be developed taking into account quality assurance agencies in education, privacy and ethical issues and educational and technological requirements throughout Europe. It will follow the interoperability standards for integration into different learning environment systems providing a scalable and adaptive solution. The TeSLA system will be developed to reduce the current restrictions of time and physical space in teaching and learning, which opens up new opportunities for learners with physical or mental disabilities as well as respecting social and cultural differences. Given the innovative action of the project, the current gap in e-assessment and the growing number of institutions interested in offering online education, the project will conduct large scale pilots to evaluate and assure the reliability of the TeSLA system. By the nature of the product, dissemination will be performed across schools, higher education institutions and vocational training centres. A free version will be distributed, although a commercial-premium version will be launched on the market.

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