Research course

Energy

Institution
Open University · Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
Qualifications
PhDMPhil

Entry requirements

PhD: The interdisciplinary strengths of The Open University are well suited to the challenges of energy technology and policy. Activities in energy systems range from expertise in end-user concerns and the potential for consumers to become ‘prosumers’; through the design of regional energy systems; to national energy policy and global considerations. There is particular interest in low-carbon energy options and in the needs and interests of developing countries. Recent initiatives have grown the OU’s involvement in matters relating to civil nuclear power and to greater engagement issues of future electricity transmission and distribution. Here the interests extend beyond the ‘physical layer’ of power flows, to include the ‘cyber layer’ of information technology and the ‘social layer’ of end-user behaviours. Recent investments have boosted our capability in energy materials science involving, for instance, nano-structures, graphene, innovative solar photovoltaics, electricity storage (batteries), atomistic simulation, nuclear materials and semi-conductor science. We have growing interests in both fuel cells and hydrogen-based energy systems. Our interests range from fundamental science and engineering to issues of policy and technology strategy. We also have ongoing interests relating to current and future nuclear fuels, including fuel claddings, spent nuclear fuel management, and advanced nuclear fuel properties (including thorium-based fuels). In the Mathematics and Statistics department, researchers spanning deterministic and statistical modelling, theoretical physics, and dynamical and complex systems have a growing interest in energy research including applications in smart grids, energy storage, and demand forecasting. Key facts As part of the recent increase in activity the OU has initiated a series of Energy Conferences – the first having been held on 1 March 2013 at the initiative of the OU’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics. See our Energy Meeting website. In the area of civil nuclear power the OU collaborates with Cambridge University and Imperial College London, including in recent years, a set of linked seminars. In April 2014 we launched the ICO Centre for Doctoral Training. The OU has strong links with Milton Keynes Council on matters relating to urban futures, sustainability and energy. As a leading modern city, Milton Keynes is an excellent environment in which to innovate and develop energy solutions. The OU is leading on a major public and private research programme concerning the smart future. Known as ‘MK Smart’, the multi-million-pound programme has a major energy theme. The OU advises and informs government and the European Union on a wide range of energy issues. We can draw upon strong links to industry both locally and globally. MPhil: Applicants should normally hold, or be expecting to obtain, a bachelors degree with at least first or upper-second class honours, or an equivalent qualification. However, entry requirements differ between academic areas, and sometimes a taught masters degree is also required. The research topic pages (in the menu on the right of our Research areas page) give details of specific entry requirements, and provide contact details to discuss your suitability for the MPhil with a member of academic staff.

Months of entry

October

Course content

The interdisciplinary strengths of The Open University are well suited to the challenges of energy technology and policy. Activities in energy systems range from expertise in end-user concerns and the potential for consumers to become ‘prosumers’; through the design of regional energy systems; to national energy policy and global considerations. There is particular interest in low-carbon energy options and in the needs and interests of developing countries.

Recent initiatives have grown the OU’s involvement in matters relating to civil nuclear power and to greater engagement issues of future electricity transmission and distribution. Here the interests extend beyond the ‘physical layer’ of power flows, to include the ‘cyber layer’ of information technology and the ‘social layer’ of end-user behaviours.

Recent investments have boosted our capability in energy materials science involving, for instance, nano-structures, graphene, innovative solar photovoltaics, electricity storage (batteries), atomistic simulation, nuclear materials and semi-conductor science.

We have growing interests in both fuel cells and hydrogen-based energy systems. Our interests range from fundamental science and engineering to issues of policy and technology strategy.

We also have ongoing interests relating to current and future nuclear fuels, including fuel claddings, spent nuclear fuel management, and advanced nuclear fuel properties (including thorium-based fuels).
In the Mathematics and Statistics department, researchers spanning deterministic and statistical modelling, theoretical physics, and dynamical and complex systems have a growing interest in energy research including applications in smart grids, energy storage, and demand forecasting.

Key facts
  • As part of the recent increase in activity the OU has initiated a series of Energy Conferences – the first having been held on 1 March 2013 at the initiative of the OU’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics. See our Energy Meeting website.
  • In the area of civil nuclear power the OU collaborates with Cambridge University and Imperial College London, including in recent years, a set of linked seminars. In April 2014 we launched the ICO Centre for Doctoral Training.
  • The OU has strong links with Milton Keynes Council on matters relating to urban futures, sustainability and energy. As a leading modern city, Milton Keynes is an excellent environment in which to innovate and develop energy solutions.
  • The OU is leading on a major public and private research programme concerning the smart future. Known as ‘MK Smart’, the multi-million-pound programme has a major energy theme.
  • The OU advises and informs government and the European Union on a wide range of energy issues. We can draw upon strong links to industry both locally and globally.

Fees and funding

Please see The Open University website http://www.open.ac.uk/postgraduate/research-degrees/fees-and-funding for more information.

Qualification and course duration

PhD

full time
36 months
part time
72 months
distance learning
variable months

MPhil

part time
24 months
full time
15 months

Course contact details

Name
William Nuttall, Professor of Energy
Email
energyresearch@open.ac.uk
Phone
+44 1908 655113