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Funding criteria, terms and conditions for the Seed and Shape Teaching Development Fund (TDF)

Information for staff wishing to submit an application to the TDF to support initiatives that enhance learning and teaching.

What projects will the TDF support?

Projects must demonstrate how they will enhance teaching and the student learning experience and contribute towards the delivery of the University’s Education Strategy 2021-26.

The Fund is open to allow proposals to emerge from existing good practice, innovative ideas and current issues in the University and the wider HE sector. Projects may wish to undertake research into an aspect of learning and teaching in higher education, or may seek to develop practical approaches.

This academic year (2023/24) preference will be given to applications that address:

  • Improvements to the experience of assessment and feedback
  • PGT education and experience
  • Online/Hybrid learning

However other excellent and innovative learning and teaching proposals can also be considered.

Applicants should also consider how their proposed project aligns with and actively works towards the goal of the University’s Climate Action Framework principle for Learning and Teaching to develop educational initiatives that build a world class reputation for high quality education on climate-related issues with global reach and scale; for example, by providing opportunities for students to study and work on climate related issues; delivering programmes with a sustainability agenda; or delivering pedagogically innovative teaching practices to reduce carbon emissions.

Selection criteria

The proposed project must demonstrate that it will enhance teaching and the student learning experience through the direct support of teaching.

Preference will be generally given to those projects that demonstrate the following:

  • a clear rationale for the enhancement (based on, for example, evidence of need, existing good practice at the University or elsewhere, or the learning and teaching literature);
  • cross-departmental collaboration;
  • involvement of students as active partners;
  • potential relevance more widely across the University (through, for example, sharing of lessons learnt from the project or possibility of adoption and/or adaptation by other departments);
  • sustainability of the project outcomes beyond its funded lifetime.

In addition, the full project plan must include the following information:

  • the scale, scope and methodology of the project;
  • a description of how the project will enable the exchange of ideas and/or practice;
  • an outline of the benefit (in terms of professional development) to the project leaders and participants;
  • a plan for the evaluation of the effectiveness of the project;
  • evidence of prior consultation with relevant professional services, e.g. Digital, Data & Technology (DD&T), CLT and the Library;
  • evidence of prior liaison with the University's Legal Officer if an external contractor is to be involved, to ensure that the University is not detrimentally affected by issues concerning copyright.

Who can submit an application for funding?

Proposals are invited from all staff and students, as individuals or teams, in academic departments, Professional Services and the Students Union. Please note that all proposals should include a member of teaching staff, together with their agreement to have their name included. Shape initiatives will need to involve inter-departmental/cross-University collaboration. Project leaders are encouraged to involve students as active collaborators in the work.

Your proposal may not be considered if the report of a previous TDF project, with which you have been associated, has not been submitted.

How much funding can I ask for?

For Seed projects maximum awarded amount is £1000.00 and is aimed at small scale projects. Larger scale projects should apply for Shape with a maximum of £3000.00 funding per application (In exceptional cases the panel may consider applications for more than the £3000 cap). When considering what to bid for, it is worth being pragmatic about what can be achieved within the 12 months of the project lifetime – a small-scale, high quality project will have greater impact (and be easier to run) than something larger and more complex.

What can I use the money for?

Funding might be used, for example, to:

  • buy-in staff or student time to work on the project (e.g. administration or data gathering and analysis);
  • fund the hosting of events, such as focus groups or workshops.

Funding cannot be used for:

  • general capital equipment, such as laptops, except where a strong case can be made for equipment that will subsequently be made available to, and benefit, a wider department;
  • current full-time staff salaries. However, support to increase the hours of part-time staff will be considered.
  • teaching buy-out or staff salaries beyond hourly support payments

You may find it useful to read our further guidance on the types of expenditure typically supported, which also gives an example of a TDF project costing.

Sharing project outcomes

In order to optimise collaboration and the sharing of good practice and experiences, successful project leaders or teams will be required to:

  • participate in the TDF project network;
  • share their outcomes via a short presentation at a Talk Teaching event organised by the Centre for Learning & Teaching or at EduFest, the University's annual learning and teaching conference and/or share their outcomes (e.g. as a talk, poster, video) within their Department or School, within Faculty Learning & Teaching Quality Committees or other alternative forum;
  • provide an evaluative report to the Education, Quality and Standards Committee (EQSC). This report will also serve as a case study for dissemination and may be shared on the TDF webpages.

Leading or contributing to a TDF project can also be used towards a claim for HEA Senior Fellowship via the Pathways to HEA Fellowship (PHEAF).Your project outcome can provide one of your case studies and evidence of impact. Find out more.

Long-term project planning

Projects demonstrating a long-term sustainable plan will be given priority. Should your TDF project prove successful and you want to keep delivering it, you will need to consider where resource for this will come from. For instance, if ongoing funding or resource is needed to extend the project, or additional licenses need to be paid for, this will likely need to be included in the University’s annual financial planning round which is submitted for consideration in March. If the project is relevant to your department it is worth speaking to your Head of Department about this ahead of March. If the project is of benefit to the University more generally, please reach out to your finance office to initiate discussions. If you think your project may require further financial resource after the life of the TDF, consider the timing of your project from the outset to ensure you have sufficient evidence of success in time for the March deadline. We expect that projects completed in Semester two will be finished in time for evaluation during the annual planning phase for the following year.

Evaluating your project

In your application you will be asked to describe how you will evaluate the success of your project. Having an evaluation plan embedded from the start of your project will be critical to the consideration of any application.

Many applicants will already have a plan in place for this. If needed, further guidance is available from TASO. The TDF panel would like to draw applicants' attention especially to the Theories of Change exercise which is a sector-wide guide on how to set out the expectations of any initiative and determine what needs to be measured

What advice and support is available?

The TDF is administered by the Centre for Learning & Teaching (CLT). The team will provide support in a variety of ways, for example:

  • providing one-to-one advice on writing proposals;
  • publicising and organising opportunities for collaboration and the sharing of ideas and experiences;
  • providing individual guidance on external publication or bids;
  • identifying and creating opportunities for dissemination.

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