The chance to link his research in microbiology to planetary science has tempted Charles Cockell from the British Antarctic Survey to the OU's Centre for Earth, Planetary, Space and Astronomical Research (Cepsar).
Professor Cockell worked for Nasa for five years before moving to the BAS. "The appeal of the OU post was that it allows me to combine biology with planetary sciences. My research is focused on how micro-organisms live in the Earth's extreme rocky environments, such as polar deserts."
Monica Grady will join Cepsar in early 2005 having served as head of the meteorites and cosmic mineralogy division at the Natural History Museum.
Guy Cook joins the OU from Reading University, where he is chair of applied linguistics.
David Hargreaves joins from Roehampton University, where he is professor of child development.
Kathy Hall joins from Leeds Metropolitan University, where she is professor of childhood education.
Gilly Salmon , formerly of the Open University Business School, has joined Leicester University as professor of e-learning.
Mark Sephton moves from Cepsar to a readership at Imperial College London.
His research interests include meteoritics, organic compounds in meteorites and the causes and consequences of mass extinctions.
Mike Bullivant , course leader in chemistry and presenter of the BBC's Rough Science series, is retiring.