A new approach to doctorate supervision

A new approach to doctorate supervision

An innovative doctorate supervision approach in collaboration with a Natural History Museum in the US


The Open University has established a collaboration with the California Academy of Sciences (CAS) - a natural history museum in San Francisco, California, amongst the largest museums of natural history in the world – for the co-supervision of doctorate students (pursuing a PhD degree).

This is an innovative collaboration that will enable prospective US students to conduct their field work within the premises of a natural history museum (CAS) while receive their doctorate training online via the OU graduate school. Students benefit from an interdisciplinary supervision team, with natural sciences and learning experts from both CAS and the OU. Supervision meetings take place online. Students will graduate with a PhD degree from the OU.

The role of IET

IET pursued and established the above doctorate collaboration with CAS, with support from the OU graduate school. This followed the successful completion of the research project Learn CitSci - a five-year collaboration between three natural history museums in the US and the UK and three universities. IET/OU and CAS were two of the collaborated institutions and co-PIs on the project.


A first PhD student has started their studies in Oct 2022 under the supervision of the following OU and CAS supervisors: Christothea Herodotou (IET), Miranda Dyson (STEM), Judith Taylor (RES, Graduate school) and Lauren Esposito (CAS).

Research programmes


  • California Academy of Sciences (CAS)
  • The Open University