Project Overview

Funding (up to £1,500 per project) is intended to support individuals/teams in conducting a project to inform and improve teaching practice and/or the quality of the student experience. Student researcher involvement is an expected part of project funding. Consider linking your proposal to the Teaching and Learning (T&L) pillar of the Academic Career Framework. 

For 2023-24, projects need to address one (or more) of the following themes: 

  • Digital Learning: the use of digital tools to deliver, support and enhance a variety of teaching and learning practices. Digital learning can
    • take place in a variety of contexts including but not limited to online.
    • be at-a-distance and face-to-face.
    • can enhance the student experience.
    • improve student outcomes.
    • widen participation.
    • improve accessibility, flexibility and inclusion. 
  • Continuation: the how and why students continue their studies or qualify, or how and why students are no longer in HE and did not complete their undergraduate qualification.
  • Degree Awarding Gap: defined as the difference in the proportion of one group receiving a first/2:1 compared with another group, often with a focus on ethnic minority students. 
  • Other: we will consider project applications other than the 3 main themes.


Here is a broad set of examples of types of projects to help you think about what you could do within/across our themes:  

  • Systematic investigation of issues, collecting data or reviewing literature.
  • Exploration of integration of research and teaching practice.
  • Adoption and evaluation of good practice from other areas and implementing in own module, course or subject area. 
  • Metrics-related.
  • Development and evaluation of innovative learning materials. 
  • Development and evaluation of case studies for a module. 
  • Exploration of current educational policy/issue and its impact on practice within discipline/subject.
  • Targeted plans that address aspects of students as partners (e.g. student voice, co-creation, etc.).
  • Funding for teaching team’s development activities with evaluation.

Please Note

  1. There are no work-planned hours associated with undertaking a funded project. It is expected that colleagues will use their RSA allocation to work on this project. 
  2. Applications must have Head of Department (HoD) / Deputy HoD / Line Manager sign off. 
  3. Ethics approval is required for all projects. Please ensure you have read the supporting Ethical Guidance document and note that conducting the project without ethics approval in place constitutes research misconduct. 
  4. The project may continue into a second year dependent on progress made and potential impact / business case and with agreement from Heads of Teaching and Learning (HoTLEs) / Line Managers.

What to expect during the year

Prior to submitting your application:  

  • Project expectations and beginners’ guide to delivering research / evaluation project. 
  • Digital dimension(s) of your project – possibilities, support, enhancement etc. 

Prior to the project starting, project teams are encouraged to attend support workshops including: 

  • Working alongside students & ethics (attendance mandated). 
  • Project expectations and beginners’ guide to delivering research / evaluation project. 
  • Digital dimension(s) of your project – possibilities, support, enhancement etc. 
  • Dissemination (progress / project). 

During the funded year, project teams will be expected to: 

  • Attend ‘ChangeBusters’ workshop (project planning / achieving outcomes) (this will be face-to-face).  
  • Become part of our project team community.
  • Provide updates on project progress via:
    1. Blogs
    2. Complete your tracker (this can be accessed for each College here – BTE, HWLS, SSA).

Upon completion of the project, project teams will be expected to: 

  • Disseminate project findings, as appropriate and as agreed with your HoTLE. 
  • Complete our Change and Impact 2023-24 form (this can be accessed for each College here – BTE, HWLS, SSA). 

Recruiting students

Our preferred way is that you utilise the Student Experience, Teaching and Learning (SETL’s) pool of trained student researchers. We will match them to your project. Previous experience shows that in many cases it is not necessary to have a student from a specific SHU area in place in order to support an enhancement project. If you think that you need student researchers with particular expertise / specialisms, please make sure you state this below in the application form. For further information, please contact Joel Kesterton. 

If you choose to recruit your own students rather than have students from SETL’s Student Research Team, you must make sure you follow the process recommended by HROD’s appointing a student casual worker guidelines.  Please note that if you choose to recruit your own student(s) that SETL will not be responsible for any administrative work relating to those student(s). You must not allow any student researchers to undertake work before they are properly registered with Campus Jobs and have had their right to work checked. This can put the University in breach of UK Employment Law and may put at risk the possibility of employing student workers in future.  


  • A minimum of 50% of funding must cover student engagement (researchers, incentives etc).
  • The amount of funding awarded will normally be up to £1,500. Funding over this amount may be awarded only exceptionally.   
  • Please include a detailed estimated breakdown of how you intend to spend the funding within your application. The following links should help with this: 
  • Refreshments for Student Focus Groups (contact Jill Ross for SSA, Jayne Guest for BTE and Thomas Dabbs for HWLS).

IT Equipment

Although project funding cannot be used to purchase specialist IT equipment directly, we will aim to support you in obtaining this from Digital Technology Services (DTS). 

Criteria for award 

Applications will be considered by a review panel. This review panel will look for: 

  • A well-considered and clear application with alignment to identified theme(s). 
  • A solid explanation of how student researchers will be incorporated into the project.
  • A clear set of outcomes (short and longer term).
  • Realistic and manageable plan of activities, including tracking and monitoring.
  • Detail of how the project will use the funding (student researcher time, incentives, dissemination, catering, etc.).


  • Applications should be submitted by 17:00 on Monday, 17th July 2023.
  • Confirmation of project winners will take place by 17:00 on Thursday, 24th August 2023.
  • Projects commence 1st September 2023 and run until 31st July 2024.   
  • Available funds need to be spent by 31st July 2024 (sorry, but funding cannot be transferred to the following year). 

Application Form

Please complete the online application form

Application Exemplars

Below are three example applications of successfully funded projects. Please note these applications were completed using a different form.

For more information, please contact your College HoTL via Jill Ross for SSA, Jayne Guest for BTE and Thomas Dabbs for HWLS.

2023/24 abstracts

Business, Technology and Engineering (BTE)

Dr Victoria Mellon: Evaluating our fundamentals programme

This project will involve evaluating student improvement and engagement in our fundamentals maths programme. The research will include looking assessment data at the start and end of the programme, along with some qualitative data from students gaining their feedback on the programme.

Professor Reza Saatchi and Dr Victoria Mellon: Improving degree and MSc students learning experience through knowledge dissemination. 

The main purpose of this exciting project is identifying barriers and developing plans to maximise benefits of Degree and MSc theses through their publication in journals or presentations in conferences. The focus will be addressing attainment gap, facilitating progression into high-skilled employment or advanced studies, and contributing to knowledge creation.

Mark Featherstone: using gamification to enhance engagement

What does good engagement actually mean to students? Can we use gamification, via video games and mobile devices, to encourage students to engage.

Mark Godson: A tailored approach to Academic Advising for Business School students

The delivery of management education promotes a number of characteristics and qualities (e.g. a transactive approach) relevant to the discipline which can colour the attitudes and approaches of students receiving Academic Advising on Business School courses. It is the perspectives of these students specifically that this project aims to explore.

Mark Godson: Creating a meaningful Hallam Welcome experience for returning undergraduate students

Engagement with HW events among returning students is considerably less than it is with new students. This project aims to determine what is of value to returning students, in order to design HW activities which improve their overall experience. We’ll need your assistance to evaluate the impact on student satisfaction, continuation, and retention.

Charlotte Rowley: Online, hybrid or campus-what is the ideal learning environment for disabled students?

This study aims to explore disabled students lived experience of different learning environments. We are investigating student’s experiences of online, on campus, and hybrid learning environments to understand where we are succeeding and what areas require improvement to help to maximise student’s academic success.

Health, Wellbeing and Life Sciences (HWLS)

Dr Miyoung Oh: Impact of socioeconomic background on students’ learning, belonging and course experiences in PE and School Sport (PESS)

65% PESS Students are categorised as Polar 1/ Polar 2 and come from non-professional backgrounds. The research aims to investigate ways in which PESS students’ socio-economic backgrounds affect their learning and course experience. It also aims to create recommendations to provide an empathetic and humanising learning environment and to increase in students’ sense of belonging to the course.

David Smith: Developing students AI literacy skills for research

This project aims to develop and evaluate the incorporation of Artificial Intelligence into research skills development. The goal is to increase students’ digital skills using AI through taught provision and assessment design centred on critical thinking and evaluation. We will then evaluate the effectiveness of this approach in enhancing student digital skill.

Katherine Garvey: Developing a diversified and inclusive Occupational Therapy curriculum

This project aims to incorporate inclusive and anti-racist practice in the occupational therapy curriculum. Authentic and diverse case studies will be co-produced to support the application of theory to practice and increase cultural sensitivity in students as well as foster a greater sense of belonging for students from marginalised backgrounds.

Rachael Spencer: An Evaluation of the BSc (Hons) Nursing Pre-registration Part-time Programme

This study aims to provide formative evaluation of the delivery of the programme in relation to structure, content and process and examine whether increasing the ‘family-friendliness’ of the full-time programme might be a valid alternative to the part-time programme. We’re intending to undertake interviews of academic staff, current students and postal questionnaires for students who have left the programme.

Prachi Stafford: Assessment types and Degree Awarding Gap within Biosciences & Chemistry?

Studies have suggested that assessment format could be contributing to the Degree Awarding Gap (the difference in the proportion of Good (First or 2:1) degrees being awarded to different groups of students). The aim of this study is to look at the impact of assessment types within the department by analysing student’s performance in a range of modules and look at how the method of assessment used impacted on students’ performance.

Richard West and Jane Gurman: What effect does Break-In-Study have on student experience and progression?

We ask is the current Break In Study process is transparent and effective? How many students use this option; return to their studies and progress through their course? What is the process for reintegration post Break in study and how is it managed at other higher education institutes? We will describe the current situation and opportunities for positive change.

Kim Longbon: Valuing the Foundation Year – Student and Staff Perspectives. 

Student retention from Foundation Year (FY) into undergraduate study is generally poor, however, since FY is seen as a significant feeder route into undergraduate studies, it is important to make sure the courses are fit-for-purpose. A mixed-method study will investigate how completion of the FY prepares students of undergraduate studies.

Social Sciences and Arts (SSA)

Dr Karen Nicholls: Business Students’ Perceptions of a Reflective Practice and Writing Intervention

This project investigates students’ experiences of reflective practice and academic writing. Participants will be interviewed several times over a year using a “talk around text” methodology (Lillis, 2009). Interviews will take place before, during and after specific teaching and learning sessions focussing on these aspects.

Anna Maria Di Betta: Evaluation of the Internationalisation Framework: A comparison of different activities

This project will evaluate the impact of different internationalisation activities at SHU, such as international physical mobility and online activities with international partners. The study will compare selected L5 student cohorts at two points in time and measure their experience as well as gained benefits, i.e., in intercultural competence.

Caroline Lear: Evaluation of hyflex learning with neurodiverse staff and students 

This project will trial a variety of digital technology to evaluate how this might enable flexible student engagement with learning. Researchers will co-design the study and work with our neurodiverse staff and student participants to support them to share their experiences, and to evaluate its impact and effectiveness.

Melike Bulut Albaba: Enhancing learning for multilingual learners in higher education

In this project, we explore the potential of using all our languages to facilitate learning in an MA TESOL module. The module leader and the volunteering students conduct a collaborative exploratory practice to investigate the value of incorporating multilingual skills in enhancing learning in a monolingual higher education context.

Jack Readman: Building an effective and resilient STAR society

The project seeks to identify barriers and enablers to the STAR (STudent Action for Refugees) society. It will involve researching the STAR society at Hallam, and others nationwide, to identify what makes these organisations successful, and what the potential outcomes may be for the university, local communities, and students.

Andrew Jeffery: The Inclusive Workshop

The Workshop is a key way that students of Creative Writing learn about and improve their writing. This project will look at barriers to student engagement in the Workshop and examine ways in which Workshop can be made as inclusive as possible. We will examine best practice examples and pilot approaches in Workshop sessions in partnership with student researchers. A final report will disseminate findings and be presented at the National Association of Writers in Education Conference.

Dr Elizabeth Freeman: Evaluation of the SHU Study Well, Stay Well initiative

Stress is the number one enemy for effective study. Feeling in control can lessen stress. Developing study skills is a key skill that will enable students to thrive while they are at university. It underpins the skills we want to promote through the Study Well Stay Well initiative. The command of good study skills will build confidence, boost mental wellbeing, reduce stress and anxiety, and enable students to fully participate in their programme of study.

Dr Susannah Gent: Our Future with AI: Film Production and Education 

The research will explore the creative possibilities of AI in media production through conducting a series of experiments that explore the artistic potential of AI software. The outcome will help inform how AI might be integrated into film production education to prepare students for a change in the industry.

Pam Bowman: Barriers to undertaking sandwich placements

Data suggests that sandwich placement years are valuable, improving employability and experience, potentially improving graduate outcomes and student achievement. However, we know that there are many barriers for students wanting to undertake a sandwich year and would like to better understand these barriers, and identify where support can be provided.

Dr Anna Sidorovitch: Performing individual roles in teamwork on a Problem-based learning (PBL) module: a student perspective

The project will explore the benefits and challenges of performing individual Problem-based learning (PBL) roles in PBL teams from a postgraduate student perspective with the main focus on student attainment during the process and their increased confidence to seek broader employment opportunities. The intervention will take place on the MA TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) module ‘Advancing Your TESOL Career’ which uses a PBL approach. The project will adopt a qualitative methodology and will be conducted by the main investigator working collaboratively with student researchers.

Carl James: Immersive Engagement of Digital Twin Architectural Modelling

The project seeks to explore how Virtual Reality technologies can potentially be used to enhance the Architectural Modelling workflow of undergraduates by allowing them to immerse themselves in a series of 1:1 replicas throughout the design process and allow them to physically explore at a human level.

Last updated: 12/10/23 NB