LONDON — The Open University, the UK’s largest academic institution, has opened a tender process to appoint agencies across all its consumer-facing marketing and communications accounts, with a combined budget of up to £17 million a year.

The last agency review took place in 2016 and the successful agencies will be retained for a minimum of two years. The roster of agencies will include a lead media buying partner, supported by suppliers across digital, social media and public relations channels.

Text 100 currently handles the OU’s PR, and the organisation also works with Mediacom (media) brief, Lida (strategy and creative) and Rapp (social media).

According to the OU, the strategic review signals its ambition to grow the adult learning sector by “driving consideration among prospective students and reaching fresh audiences in the business community and beyond”.

Around 75% of the OU’s 170,000 students across Europe ‘Earn and Learn’, studying part-time while in employment. This, combined with the university’s partnerships with three in five of the FTSE100, means that successful agencies are will have B2B and B2C capabilities, domestically and internationally.

Commenting on the agency review, OU marketing director Ella Hall (pictured) said: “This is an exciting time for the OU. We need agency partners who share our passion and have the vision to continue to position us as a first choice for students and business.”

Chief commercial strategy officer Jonathan Wylie added: “This tender represents a brilliant opportunity for agencies across an array of marketing disciplines to show they have the strategic thinking and creative impact to evolve our brand and fuel our growth.”

The deadline for responses is 17 July and successful agencies are expected to be in place by February 2019.