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  3. eSTEeM's 19th call for scholarship proposals now open

eSTEeM's 19th call for scholarship proposals now open

Posted 26th July 2021

Welcome to the 19th eSTEeM call for project proposals for Open University staff. As in previous calls, we are interested in supporting individuals and groups of scholars and we would like to receive both:

  1. fully worked up proposals by individuals or groups, and
  2. expressions of interest from individuals who would like to join others working on particular themes but do not yet have a defined project. We will then match people according to interest and help you set up a new project team.

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

We would like to further encourage collaborative proposals between the Student Recruitment and Support Centre and the STEM Faculty. If you would like to know more about current and planned activities within individual subject areas, please contact your SST Faculty Lead.

If you are seeking to gain recognition as a HEA Fellow or Senior Fellow, a completed eSTEeM project can be helpful to support your claim for professional recognition against the UK Professional Standards Framework via Applaud.

Priority areas

The following list of priority areas are of strategic importance and may help you in focusing your project proposal.

  1. Access, Participation and Success: We continue to seek projects related to Access, Participation and Success which investigate issues around registration, completion and awarding with respect to students from under-represented groups in STEM.
  1. Innovations in STEM education: The development and evaluation of new teaching approaches or technologies that enhance STEM education at a distance.
  1. Learning design: Projects that focus on what students do and how they acquire knowledge, which may include online study strategies and assessment design, and are well suited to working with students as partners.
  1. National context: We are particularly interested in scholarship that considers the higher education policy in each of the four nations and addresses issues in STEM teaching and learning within Scottish, English, Welsh or Northern Irish and Irish contexts. 
  1. Student support: Proposals that develop or evaluate student support, for example, correspondence tuition practices, supported open entry and re-engaging students that have deferred.

Please note that this focus does not preclude you from suggesting other scholarship projects that 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; the implications of changes made in response to COVID, or projects which address themes such as accessibility and alternate formats for module materials. 

What to do next

Sign-off procedure for proposals

Please note that 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 to discuss your ideas as soon as possible, and no later than Friday 20th August. This will allow them sufficient time to support you and provide feedback on your draft proposal before the deadline.  


 Scholarship Lead


 Shailey Minocha


 Daphne Chang


 Sarah Davies/Fiona Aiken


 Trevor Collins


 Duncan Banks


 Rachel Hilliam/Martina Gibbons


 Jimena Gorfinkiel/Laura Alexander

Pre-bidding Workshop: Thursday 12th August, 10.00-11.30 via MS Teams

A pre-bidding workshop was held on the 12th August. The purpose of the session was to assist colleagues with the preparation of an eSTEeM project proposal and discuss potential project ideas. To view the recording, please visit the link below under the 'Links/resources' heading.

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 the project proposal form 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 fully worked up proposals and expressions of interest is 17.00 on Friday 17th September 2021.

Project call timetable for 2021-22

If you are unable to develop a proposal during this round, there will be further opportunities to express your interest in working on a specific set of commissioned scholarship projects that will be announced later this year.

There will also be further open calls as detailed below. 

 20th call for projects

 January 2022

 21st call for projects

 July 2022

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 (MS Word)

eSTEeM Project Plan Supplementary Information (PDF)

Applaud website

Access, Participation and Success website

Current and previous eSTEeM projects 

Final reports

Recording of the pre-bidding workshop held on the 12th August 2021 (Intranet only)

Scholarship Exchange (Intranet only)

SST Faculty Lead (Intranet only)