Research Strategy and Projects

Our research strategy is to create an ecology of activities and funded projects. In the short term two projects are under way.

A Masters and PhD Programme for Ukrainian Students

The Open University has flexible programmes for masters and doctoral education with full-time students resident on its Milton Keynes Campus, and some studying part-time at a distance. Part-time students can be resident in any country and are mostly supervised online, although some face-to-face meetings are required.

The postgraduate scheme is now open. Scholarships may be available. It involves attending selected courses including:

        • An introduction to Social Science: Economics, Social Theory, Geography, and Population Modelling

        • An introduction to Systems Thinking, Multilevel Systems of Systems of Systems, and Complexity:

        • An introduction to Global Systems Science and Policy

        • An introduction to Mathematical, Statistical and Computer Modelling

        • An introduction to Big Data, Data Science, Machine Learning, Symbolic Reasoning and Artificial Intelligence

Prospective students from Ukraine wishing to join our Postgraduate Programme should contact us for further information and assistance.

The UK Ukrainian Diaspora Pilot Project

On the 18th March 2022 the UK Government launched its Homes for Ukraine scheme that enable people to sponsor a Ukrainians to stay in their house for six months or more. This scheme included fast track visa applications that enabled Ukrainian guests to be in the UK within weeks of applying. The Government also provided hosts with £350 per month towards the extra expenses involved. The scheme was administered by local government, and some councils provided an extra £200 each month to hosts. Ukrainian guest benefits on the scheme were: 3 years’ right to remain in the UK; accommodation for 6 months in someone’s home or property; access to some social welfare benefits, access to healthcare and to schools; and the right to work in the UK.

Late in 2022 as the six month hosting commitment ended this scheme began to face various local and national policy challenges in housing refugees. A UK Government survey published in August 2022 suggests that about 25% of respondents said they wanted their hosting commitment to end after six month. In November 2022, an article by Guardian journalist Amelia Gentleman reported that "Nationally, 2,175 Ukrainian households have had to register as homeless (about a half of these of had been living with Homes for Ukraine hosts)".

We have obtained the funds needed for a small pilot project collecting data on Ukrainian refugees living close to the Open University in Milton Keynes and Bedfordshire. We will use the methods of complex systems science to investigate policy questions. This will involve discussions with policy makers at local and national levels. We plan three phases: Month1 (preparation), Month 2 (fieldwork); and Month 3 (analysis).

We started preparations for this project early in 2023. Currently a period of desk research is underway to find out what data already exists, who is collecting it, and for what purpose. For data collection we have recruited some Ukrainian colleagues living locally and we are seeking others. Training will begin soon. We have made contact with the local councils administering the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, and with interested charities.

Members of the OU and Ukrainian network are invited to join us, including participating in discussions on methodology, questionnaires, online platforms, data security, ethics, and so on. Please contact us if your are interested.

Progress will be reported on this webpage as the pilot project proceeds.

17th March 2023