Teaching, Learning and Higher Education Research Fund

Teaching, Learning and Higher Education Research Fund

Guidance for Applicants –  Revised April 2020

Download a copy of the guidance

Link to the Application Form

Scope and Purpose

Scope of the grants

We envisage grants that may be more research-output focused, or grants focused on practice initiatives with an evaluative element and that can feed into communities of practice in higher education.

  1. Teaching, Learning and Higher Education research projects: The focus of these projects is to support local development of research activity and capacity, with outcomes oriented toward formal research outputs and aspirations to external funding.
  2. Scholarship-based teaching/learning practice initiatives: The focus of these projects is on implementing initiatives across multiple modules within a school and/or across schools. The focus of the project can be on implementation, but there should be at least some evaluative framework.
  3. NOTE: Given the changes associated with the COVID-19 lockdown, we are also open to targeted applications based on these unusual circumstances.

Aims of the grants

The grants can be pitched at addressing one or more of the following aims:

  1. Projects that provide proof of concept for a subsequent larger project, which might be the basis of further internal or external funding from research, practice, or policy-oriented funding schemes. The justification should show a plausible plan for how the grant will facilitate further development, including eligible funding schemes.
  2. Capacity building: Collaborations between experienced PI’s (published in education theory or practice oriented journals) and researchers relatively new to educational research. These projects should plausibly lead to publishable data that will increase the capacity of the team members to engage in further educational research.
  3. Network building: We are looking for projects that build genuine collaborative networks across multiple schools or teaching areas. Therefore, we are looking for projects that would involve data collection, implementation of practice and/or intended outcomes, across all applicants involved in the project. For example, such projects may use multiple settings to establish generality, increase sampling, and build interdisciplinary teams.  These projects may be of a more preliminary nature.
  4. Responding to the demands of online teaching or other organisational implications during the COVID-19 Pandemic lockdown. The sudden radical changes being made across the institution to deal with the lockdown and sudden shift to online provision may create a unique opportunity to collect data in these unusual circumstances.


Funding has been provided through the St Andrews Learning and Teaching Initiative (SALTI) and managed cooperatively by SALTI in association with the Centre for Higher Education Research (CHER) and the Centre for Educational Enhancement and Development (CEED).

Funding from the scheme may be sought up to a maximum of £3000, with a minimum of £300, and the amount sought should reflect the scope and ambition of the project goals. Funds requested must be clearly justified in the application form, and should relate specifically to the proposed project, and not include generic resources that should be provided by Schools.


  • Applications are welcome from any academic member of staff, whatever their contract type.
  • Professional services staff and students are welcome as collaborators, provided there is an academic principal investigator. Projects across Schools or across Schools and Units are also welcome.

Application, award and dissemination process

The scheme is administered and assessed by the combined SALTI/CHER/CEED board. Applications should be submitted using the online form.

Deadlines for submission in this round are:

Deadline: Wednesday May 6th 2020            –           For decisions by Friday May 22nd

If your application is successful you must make use of the funding provided by the end of the 2020/2021 budget year. (That is, all spending must be finalised by the end of July, 2021). You will be required to make a 500-word blog post upon the completion of your research project, which may be posted publicly on one or more university education-oriented sites. Where appropriate, you will be expected to accept invitations to speak on your research project at University sponsored dissemination events. We also encourage dissemination of the project outcomes at internal or external conferences.

Criteria for award

The University may restrict the number of awards made, irrespective of available funds, based on the quality of the submitted pool of applications.

Projects will be evaluated against the goals of the applicable categories, on the basis of academic merit, and likelihood of proposed outcomes.  The application should seek to address criteria such as:

  1. How well justified are the research questions based on the existing literature?
  2. Is there evidence that the team can collaborate effectively on the project?
  3. Are the aims of the project plausible given the grant funding and any additional financial support and support in-kind available for the project?
  4. Value for money.
  5. Likelihood of meeting the funding aims mentioned above.

You will be asked to verify that the Principal Investigator on the grant has notified their Head of School, Director of Research, or Line Manager of their application.


Given the short timeframe and current situation, written feedback will not be a feature of the scheme.

Updated April 20, 2020.


Guidance for the Application Form

The application form is online.  The following guidance can be used to prepare the information needed to complete the form.

Applicants:  The form allows for a Principal Investigator and up to 5 Partner Investigators.  The form requires an email address for the Principal Investigator.

Project Title, Aims and Scope: The aims and scope categories are based on the lists in the guidance above.

Budget Categories: The form encourages applicants to think about the following budget categories – Staff, Travel, Consumables, Equipment/Software, Dissemination/Impact.  The budget justification should account for the core expenses in each category. The committee reserves the right to award less than the full amount requested in order to support more projects.

Project proposal: The main substance of the proposal should provide a clear and concise summary of the project, and give some context; objectives; expected outcomes; benefits for research, teaching or policy; impact or application. (Maximum 1000 words to allow for description of projects at the higher end of the budget range. Shorter proposals are welcome.)

Justification of the budget: Give justification for the requested funds, and how they contribute to the project plan and intended outcomes. (Maximum 500 words)

Timetable for the proposed work: Set out a timeline for the project showing the major milestones, activities, and intended outcomes.

References: We provide separate space for any references used in the application.

Head of School notification: You will be asked to confirm that you have notified your Head of School of your proposed project.