Research course

Innovation and entrepreneurship

Open University · The Open University Business School

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 (or equivalent) plus 120 credits in research methods training or, ideally, a masters degree in Research Methods (MRes), which is the usual precursor to PhD studies.

Months of entry


Course content

We have an active group of researchers working on topical issues relating to entrepreneurship and innovation. Our specialist interests include: environmentally and socially sustainable enterprise, the role of digital technologies in home-based micro-enterprises, and linkages between entrepreneurship, innovation and economic development.

Our work is often multidisciplinary in approach and covers a variety of organisational types and industry sectors, including social enterprises. We are currently developing new educational initiatives around innovation and enterprise, including a specialist undergraduate programme, which may offer teaching opportunities for suitably-qualified research students.

Several of members of our academic team are based in the Public Leadership and Social Enterprise discipline at the OU, which provides scope to examine cross-functional issues such as inclusive innovation, cross-sector collaboration or the role of ethics in specific entrepreneurial contexts. We are also linked to Innovation, Knowledge and Development (IKD), a vibrant interfaculty research centre that brings together academics from across the OU and other institutions to undertake joint research on the contributions of innovation to inclusive and sustainable development around the world.

Potential research projects

Internally funded full-time research studentships are advertised in January (closing date end of March) and may include the areas below. We also welcome part- and full-time self-funded applications in areas such as:

  • The promotion of more environmentally and socially sustainable models of innovation and enterprise
  • The growth, performance, leadership and governance of social enterprises
  • Entrepreneurship in home-based, micro and small and medium-sized enterprises
  • Impact investing and inclusive business development in sub-Saharan Africa
  • Realising the potential of information systems and information technology in new venture start-ups and existing SMEs, including social enterprises
Current/recent research projects
  • Understanding SME owner and manager sensemaking in relation to climate change and other environmental challenges
  • Promoting environmental improvements in SMEs: an examination of contemporary practices and interventions in the leather sector of Pakistan
  • An exploratory study of the implications of the technological and the online social media developments, on innovation in fashion retail industry

Potential supervisors

Fees and funding

Please see The Open University website

Qualification and course duration


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


full time
15 months
part time
24 months

Course contact details

Claire Wylde
+44 (0)1908 332311