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Durham University

Durham Centre for Academic Development

DCAD Collaborative Innovation Grants

This new and exciting grant scheme is designed to support staff across Durham University to develop innovative and inclusive learning and teaching approaches to enhance student learning and success, and to disseminate good practice across the institution and beyond.

These small grants will be given to innovative collaborative scholarship projects that support DCAD’s strategic aim of enhancing the academic learning and teaching expereince of Durham students, and underpinning student success. Grants will normally be up to £5,000 (although groups will be encouraged to bid for what they need and smaller grants are encouraged) and can only be used for staff time in exceptional circumstances (e.g. to pay for contract researcher time or for sessional staff to replace teaching time). There will be three calls for funding each year, with projects starting on 1 December, 1 April, and 1 August. Projects can be four, eight, or twelve months in duration.

Applications will be evaluated against five criteria:

  • Innovation - the degree to which the project is novel and sector-leading in terms of pedagogy and practice; innovative digital projects in particular are encouraged.
  • Feasibility - how realistic and achievable the aims of the project, timescale, plan, and proposed outcomes are.
  • Cost effectiveness - the degree to which the project budget represents necessary and appropriate expenditure for the proposed outcomes.
  • Evaluation - the robustness and appropriateness of the evaluation plan to provide evidence of the value of the project.
  • Impact - dissemination activities proposed (beyond a minimum requirement of a DCAD Blog Post and a talk at a SOTL Forum), and the scope and scale of the potential outcomes of the project on academic teaching and learning quality for students within Durham University, and potentially beyond.

Project teams must be an partnership between:

a) representatives from one or more academic departments (involvment from colleges and professional services is also encouraged and teams including representatives from multiple areas will be looked on favourably);

b) a named member of DCAD; and

c) one or more named students.

All team members must be involved with the writing and development of the project proposal. The role of each team member must be clearly stated in the bid.

We want to encourage truly innovative projects and, as such, there is inevitably a risk of failure; we will create a culture where learning from failure as well as success is celebrated. The embedded scholarship and emphasis on evaluation will ensure that all projects play a valuable contribution to knowledge, regardless of outcome. A panel will assess the applications using a peer review approach.

Applications should be sent to DCAD using this online form by midnight on the deadline dates specified (please use your Durham CIS username and password to login). The form includes a place to upload both the case for support (following the guidelines below) and a Head of Department short statement of support as a single attachment. If you would like to talk to someone in DCAD to support your application, please contact Nicola Whitton (

Timescales for 2019/20 are as follows:

Application deadline

Funding decisions

Start date

4 November 2019

18 November 2019

1 December 2019

3 February 2020

2 March 2020

1 April 2020

1 June 2020

6 July 2020

1 August 2020

2 November 2020

23d November 2020

1 December 2020

1 February 2021

2 March 2021

5 April 2021

1 June 2021

5 July 2021

2 August 2021

The funds awarded will be distributed according to the budgeting plan provided in the application.

Application Process Guidelines

Applications should be no longer than 4 pages A4 (11 point font) and including the following sections:


This section should cover the rationale for the project, with links to the appropriate key literature to evidence why the project is innovative. It should state the aims and objectives of the project.

Project Outline

This section should include a project plan giving timescales, milestones, and key deliverables/outputs.

Project Team

This section should detail who the project team members are, their relevant experience and the roles and responsibilities they will take within the project.


A detailed budget should be included, broken down into money spent in each of the following three periods (to allow for funding across financial years): 1 August-30 November; 1 December-31 March; 1 April-31 July. Where not obvious, spending should be justified.

Evaluation Plan

This section should detail how the objectives of the project will be assessed using appropriate research or evaluation methods.

Impact Plan

This section should detail how outputs from the project will be disseminated internally and externally. Internal dissemination is required and could include e.g. DCAD blog post, talk at SOTL forum, talk at annual L&T conference, etc.


References for citations in project proposal.

Equipment Purchases

Applicants should understand that because these grants are centrally funded, any required equipment listed in your application and purchased using project funds should be considered as a loan. At the end of the project, the expectation is that all equipment will be returned to DCAD so it can be added to the Education Lab pool of loan equipment for re-use. If you feel that the equipment is so specialized that it would simply gather dust in the store, you should discuss this before accepting the award.