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  2. Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How will projects be approved for eSTEeM funding?
Project plans should be submitted using a project plan submission form. The eSTEeM Coordination Group will review and scrutinse the plans to ensure that they meet eSTEeM's criteria. Proposers will be informed as to whether their plan has been accepted and may also be invited to have a further discussion with the directors to develop or refine their plan where necessary. Projects will then be signed off by the eSTEeM directors.

2. What funding is available?
Funding is limited but will be sufficient for most purposes. We will not be able to fund staffing beyond short term consultancies.

To maximise return we will be looking closely at value for money in the proposed projects’ budgets. The primary resource is staff time; however, the work may involve travel, software development, etc. Funding may be used for:

  • Travel expenses to visit Walton Hall and other purposes such as travel to meetings and workshops
  • Incidental expenses (e.g. photocopying, telephone, postage)
  • Additional computer hardware and software
  • Consulting fees for ALs to help with interviews, analysing data, etc. These will need to be arranged through the eSTEeM manager
  • Transcription costs
  • Conference travel and fees
  • Hospitality to arrange external meetings/focus groups but these must first be formally negotiated with the eSTEeM manager

3. Will I be given help in evaluation, e.g. analysing questionnaires?
LTI can be commissioned to design surveys/questionnaires; however, eSTEeM will encourage you to take ownership of your own project evaluation. You will be supported in developing an effective evaluation strategy and advised about how to obtain the necessary permissions and carry out any necessary surveys. We will help you to develop skills in qualitative/quantitative analysis and will be on hand to assist with interpretation.

4. I work outside the STEM Faculty however my work seems to fit the aims and remit of eSTEeM; am I eligible to apply and get involved?
We are aiming to be as inclusive as possible and welcome proposals from beyond the STEM Faculty. We would certainly encourage you to contact us with your ideas so these can be further explored and we can assist you in making vital cross-faculty links with colleagues who may share similar interests. Funding is limited; however, eSTEeM can add value to projects through mentoring, by providing a scholarship community, evaluation support and guidance.

5. Can Associate Lecturers submit project proposals?
At this time there is no funding available for AL led projects, however that isn’t to say that ALs cannot get involved with the work of eSTEeM. Many projects will benefit from being close to the student experience and from involving those with AL insights and experience. We ask ALs to complete a skills register (please see the 'Resources' tab) which helps us to match ALs to relevant projects based on their previous experience and area(s) of interest.  We then keep those details on record and will be in touch when a suitable opportunity arises. 

The Associate Lecturer Development Fund (ALDF) offers ALs financial support for professional development activities which are clearly related to the development in their role at the OU as an AL and/or related to their career development, where no other source of funding is available. Whilst the ALDF are not keen on using the fund for attendance to eSTEeM briefings because the link with professional development is at one removed, they do see the ALDF as a possible means of enhancing the input that ALs can make to approved projects, within the limits of the fund. So, for example, it might contribute to the cost of attendance at eSTEeM events for knowledge sharing, training on evaluation, dissemination, conferences etc, once ALs are engaged on their projects.

For further information please see the ALDF website.

6. I’m thinking of submitting a project for external funding, what will be the relationship with eSTEeM?
Our long term aim is to be self-supporting or profit generating so we encourage all project leaders to consider external funding opportunities. eSTEeM can add value to projects seeking external funding through our well established processes so please come and talk to us. Many eSTEeM projects will provide pilot data that could underpin external bids.

7. I would like to get involved with eSTEeM but cannot fit it in at this time; will there be other opportunities to get involved at a later stage?
eSTEeM is always happy to hear from you at any time so if you have an idea for a project that you wish to discuss further please contact us esteem@open.ac.uk. Also keep an eye on our website and make sure you have joined our mailing list to be kept up to date.

 

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