Dog in training session

A helping paw

Humans and dogs have worked in partnership for generations. Today, people with disabilities are forming incredible bonds with talented canines, enabling them to live independently. Yet, even for an experienced assistance dog, operating switches and handles designed for human hands is like trying to turn on a light switch wearing boxing gloves.

That’s why our Animal-Computer Interaction (ACI) team, led by Dr Clara Mancini, is developing a toolkit of buttons and switches, designed for paws and noses instead of fingers; for canine rather than human eyes. And because it’s portable, dogs will be able to use it at home and in the workplace.

With your support, we can give talented paws a longer, happier working life, by making everyday tasks for extraordinary dogs easier. By enabling dogs and humans to stay together longer, people with disabilities gain more confidence to live independent lives.

Female Open University graduate in a wheelchair with support dog, receiving her degree
Disability support dogs empower people like Corinna to do amazing things

Changing lives through education and more

Our research and education projects bring immeasurable benefits to so many lives, and we rely on the generosity of our donors for all of them. We’re already making a difference worldwide – but we have the potential to do even more. Each of our projects falls into one of four strands; opening up minds, opportunities, thinking and lives. 

Opportunities
Harnessing the full potential of our disabled veterans
Five members of the RAF
146
Lives
Join a movement of millions
Females studying at desk
126
Opportunities
Scholarships that defy expectations
Open University graduate celebrating her achievement with arms in the air
90
Opportunities
Rewriting the future, blink by blink
Open University graduate with a disability receiving his degree
85
Thinking
Sniffing out cancer
Cancer detection dog with white stripe on face looking into camera
96
Minds
Leading a new learning revolution
Looking at the OpenLearn website on a tablet
98
Minds
Sharing 50 years of education
Professor Wilson tutoring with The Open University
91
Thinking
A helping paw
Dog in training session
84
Opportunities
Helping offenders prepare for life after prison
Female student with study book
87
Lives
Bringing lessons to life across India
Pupils in classroom in India
89
Thinking
Helping stroke survivors walk tall
Prototype haptic bracelet
94
Lives
Sharing life-saving skills in developing countries
Smiling mother carrying baby in Africa
92
Opportunities
Using more minds to make discoveries in STEM
Female science researcher with lab equipment at The Open University
93
Lives
Creating an education revolution
Felicia, a teacher who uses the TESSA programme, with her pupils in Ghana
86
Minds
Building a fairer justice system
Model of human brain
88
Thinking
Helping people with dementia stay independent
Retail worker advising older customer
97
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