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Durham University

Durham Centre for Academic Development

Enhancing Accessibility Funding Call

This new and exciting grant scheme is designed to support staff across Durham University to enhance accessible and inclusive learning and teaching approaches to enhance student learning and success and to disseminate good practice across the institution and beyond. In academic year 2020/21 the focus of these awards is on the use of digital tools to enhance accessibility particularly to online and blended learning and teaching.

These grants will be given to collaborative scholarship projects that support DCAD’s strategic aim of enhancing the academic learning and teaching experience of all Durham students, and underpinning student success.

These grants are provided through Durham’s allocation of the government’s Disability Premium, whose aim is to support the learning of students with disabilities and this focus should underpin any application made. In particular two elements which this funding should address are:

i. Expansion of assistive technologies

ii. Improvement of inclusivity of teaching and learning

More details on the Disability premium can be found at the OFS website

Following a successful first round, the total funding pot for this second call is £25K, and there is no maximum on a given project, but projects with significant cross-departmental impact will be considered more favourably. Grants 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). Given this money must be spent in financial year 2020/2021 there will be one call accepting projects ten months in duration. All project funding must be spent by 30th July 2021.

Applications will be evaluated against five criteria:

  • Impact - the degree to which the project will make a meaningful impact on the learning of students with disabilities in your department and beyond.
  • 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.
  • Dissemination - 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 a partnership between:

a) representatives from one or more academic departments (involvement 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's Digital Learning Team; and

c) one or more students - given the timing of this call student involvement must be written in, though students themselves need not be named at this stage

We want to encourage projects which will have a real and meaningful impact on accessibility to learning for students utilising digital solutions to enhance inclusive online and blended learning.The embedded scholarship and emphasis on evaluation will ensure that all projects play a valuable contribution to knowledge and will allow us to identify projects which have the potential for being scaled up to University-wide solutions. A panel will assess the applications using a peer review approach.

All team members must be involved with the writing and development of the project proposal and all proposals must adhere to the Application Process Guidelines (see below). The role of each team member must be clearly stated in the bid. The first step in developing a bid will be to contact the Head of Digital Learning, Dr Malcolm Murray.

Applications should be sent to DCAD at ( by midnight on the deadline dates specified below with a case for support (following the guidelines below) and a Head of Department short statement of support as a single email. A panel composed of faculty representatives, student representatives and representives from DCAD and Disability support will consider applications.

Timescales for this application round is as follows:

Application deadline

Funding decisions

Start date

8 January 2021

15 January 2021

25 January 2021

When the funding is complete, any technology purchased will be return to the Durham Centre for Academic Development and be available for loan to all departments, unless the equipment is only suitable for use in one department, in which case it will remain in that department.

Application Process Guidelines

Applications will be no longer than 4 pages A4 (11 point font), longer applications will not be considered. Applications must include 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, 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.