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18th call for strategic innovation and scholarship projects

Posted 27th January 2021

Welcome to the 18th eSTEeM call for projects. Following on from the success of our last call which prioritised projects addressing the degree awarding gap for specific student groups, we are again seeking projects which investigate issues around registration, completion and awarding in respect of students with identified characteristics. The Access, Participation and Success Strategy details the University's strategic approach to supporting students from underrepresented and disadvantaged backgrounds to access HE and achieve equitable outcomes in each of the nations, please see the links below for further details. 

We are seeking projects from OU STEM colleagues which focus on the following characteristics:

  • Issues relating to Student Wellbeing and Mental Health
  • Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Students
  • Students with a Low Socio-Economic Status
  • Low Previous Educational Qualification
  • Students in Secure Environments
  • Students with Disabilities
  • Students with caring responsibilities

If you are thinking of proposing a project that focuses on BAME students or issues relating to student wellbeing and mental health, then please ensure to discuss this further with your respective School Scholarship Lead. They will be able to advise you of what projects are already in progress, or in the pipeline to avoid duplication and explore possible synergies. Those proposing projects on BAME students are encouraged to consider whether their project is best focused on all BAME groups, or whether it could be more tightly focused on one or more specific groups, e.g. Black or Asian students.

We are interested in supporting both individuals and groups of scholars and we would like to receive:

  1. Expressions of interest from individuals who would like to join teams; and
  2. Fully worked-up project proposals from individuals or groups of colleagues.

Please note that this focus does not preclude you from suggesting other scholarship projects that you feel would fit within the eSTEeM portfolio. For example, we would be particularly interested in receiving proposals which investigate student outcomes in STEM modules in relation to the Open Programme or the implications of changes made in response to COVID.  We would also be happy to receive projects which address themes such as accessibility and alternate formats for module materials, assessment, or other themes. 

We welcome proposals that actively involve students as scholarly co-collaborators/co-investigators on the project team (and not merely as study participants). We are happy to provide guidance on how exactly this might be achieved in the context of your project plan. 

Widening Access and Participation Links

There is currently no specific Access Plan for Wales.

What to do next

Sign-off procedure for proposals

Please note, all proposals must be reviewed/endorsed by your School Scholarship Lead, in addition to your time allocation being approved by your Head of School, before submission to eSTEeM. Therefore, please ensure that you contact your respective Scholarship Lead as soon as possible to discuss your proposal, and well in advance of the submission deadline to allow them sufficient time to provide feedback on your draft proposal. 


Scholarship Lead


Shailey Minocha


Daphne Chang


Sarah Davies


Trevor Collins


Duncan Banks


Rachel Hilliam


Jimena Gorfinkiel/Laura Alexander

Pre-bidding Workshop: Wednesday 10th February, 11.00-12.30 via MS Teams

We will be holding a pre-bidding workshop to assist colleagues with the preparation of an eSTEeM project proposal and discuss any project ideas that you may have. The workshop will take place on Wednesday 10th February, 11.00-12.30 via MS Teams. Please confirm your attendance by visiting the registration page by Friday 5th February.

Further details

The estimated duration of projects is around 12-18 months with each team member expected to commit a minimum of 10 days. 

If you would like to co-lead the project with an Associate Lecturer, then please contact in the first instance before approaching any AL. In light of the AL Contract Programme, the procedure relating to the sending of communications to ALs about employment or offers of employment has changed. 

If you would like to register your interest in joining a project group, please email indicating the issue(s) you are interested in investigating and why. Alternatively, if you already have a worked-up proposal in mind then please download a project proposal form, links below.

To assist you in preparing your proposal, please review the current and previous eSTEeM projects and final reports. Please also visit the searchable Scholarship Exchange, which is the University’s repository of scholarship projects and reports, to explore any related scholarship that your proposal can build upon. 

Submission deadline and queries

The deadline for expressions of interest and submitting proposals is 17.00 on Friday 5th March 2021.

If you have any queries, or if you would like to discuss any initial ideas that you have, then please do not hesitate to contact us at We look forward to receiving your proposals and expressions of interest.


eSTEeM Project Proposal Form 2021 (MS Word)

eSTEeM Project Plan Supplementary Information 2021 (PDF)