What long-term impact do you expect, and how do you define long-term?
You should identify the outcomes and impact you expect to see as you develop your Theory of Change. There may be long term impacts (5 years +) which go beyond the timeframe of the grant. Where this is the case, you will need to tell us what the early indicators of those impacts will be that are identifiable within the funding period (12-18 months)
How much of the project budget should be allocated to evaluation?
There is no set proportion of the budget that must be allocated to evaluation. We require an evaluation plan as part of the submission, if you are commissioning external evaluators these costs should be included in the project budget.
What is meant by a Theory of Change? Could you give an example?
A Theory of Change is a way of describing how a programme has an impact on its beneficiaries. It defines the change that the stakeholders experience as a result of the programme, and the activities and outcomes that lead to that change, it identifies assumptions inherent in the project and key risks. We have created a Theory of Change template which you will need to use and include with your application.
Are there any restrictions on what can be funded?
These awards are not calculated on the basis of full economic costing (FEC). Costs cannot include indirect costs such as overheads, retrospective work or overseas travel (this list is not exhaustive).
Allowable costs include those directly related to the development and delivery of the proposed project. Salary costs will only be reimbursed if a full-time salary is not already in place. However, Diversity Impact programme funding can be used to cover the costs of staff needed to replace those who are taking part in project activities (for example, to cover teaching costs). If funding for salaries is requested you will need to make it clear in the budget if it is for a new post, backfill or other.
Can we pay for consultants to help do the work or does it need to be done by the institution itself?
You can use the funding to pay for external expertise when required.
What scale of funding is most likely – would a bid for a smaller amount be looked on more favourably?
You can apply for grant funding of between £40,000 and £100,000. There is no advantage to applying for funding at either end of the spectrum and the reporting requirements are the same for all projects. Value for money will be a consideration in all cases.
How many projects will you fund?
We expect to award funding to between five and ten projects this year. The final number depends on the budget available, and the amount of funding shortlisted projects bid for.
Is matched funding from institutions expected?
There is an expectation of support from institutions, but this doesn't have to be matched funding, it can be support in-kind.
How many people do you expect in a typical project team?
We do not provide any guidance on this. There are many variables that affect the size of a team, and teams may change size and makeup during the project's lifetime.
How should we involve students in the development of the project?
We can't advise on how to involve students, but you should factor in the time-pressure and other pressures that students face when considering their engagement. We encourage you to find out from them (directly or via networks/student union) how they want to be involved and what their capacity is.
Should students be involved in the bid or just the project?
Potential beneficiaries (students) should be involved in the development of the project. It is not possible to complete the application form without input from students.
Can we focus on one diversity characteristic e.g. gender?
There are no restrictions on the focus of your project. You can focus on one diversity characteristic, take an intersectional approach or consider ways in which your institution could become more inclusive to all minoritised groups. Each of these approaches brings its own challenges in terms of establishing benchmarks and evaluating success. These challenges need to be addressed in your project and evaluation plans.
Does 'diversity impact' include belonging?
Yes, belonging is an important measure of inclusion and has an impact on student outcomes.
How engineering specific do projects have to be?
Very! The funding can only be used to benefit students/departments with a clear engineering focus. Please refer to the CAH lists here: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/support/documentation/hecos/cah-list and the codes for CAH10 and CAH11
The scope is quite wide, is there a particular gap in funding that you are looking to address?
The programme is not designed to address any specific gap in funding or knowledge as we recognise that there is a wide range of needs. We encourage institutions to identify their own priorities for their context. Your priories may align with current national trends or they might be unique to your institution, but we expect some of the learning derived from your project to be applicable to other contexts.
How many applications can be submitted per institution?
We have not set a limit on the number of applications per institution. We encourage collaboration within departments/across faculty where this strengthens the project. Where different faculties have project ideas that they feel are sufficiently strong to stand alone then they can be submitted on an individual basis. Your institution might decide to restrict the number of applications it wants to endorse so it is worth having this conversation internally first.
Can we work with international partners?
Whilst we cannot fund activity that takes place overseas, you can use evidence from projects in other countries to inform your project development, collaborate with a partner from outside of the UK or buy in advice from a specialist attached to an international institution.
What kind of partners can we work with?
A partner can be any organisation/institution/individual/department in your own institution etc. who is a legitimate stakeholder in your project. Working with partners is not a requirement.
How does this programme connect with other Academy initiatives which are focussed on companies, SMEs etc?
This programme addresses a specific area not previously covered by Academy's work to support a more inclusive profession. It is informed by our activity over many years in partnership with universities and employers and contributes to Academy's D&I Action plan 2020-2025 .
Can we take a non-traditional approach to managing the grant?
We are open to innovative ways of managing the project and the grant. We do require one person as a liaison and where there are multiple leads the project plan must provide clear lines of responsibility.
How will the Academy judge success in these programmes?
The assessment criteria are laid out in the essential guidance document [hyperlink] (page 11). The applications will go through three rounds. Round one is an expert review (proposal reviewed independently by two reviewers with specialist knowledge), round two is a panel review, round three is an interview. Reviewers will include EDI specialists, academics and education leaders, current students and recent graduates, and Academy fellows.
Is this for undergraduate students only?
The potential beneficiaries of this programme can be university students at any stage of their journey. We will also consider projects which focus on potential students (i.e. post-16 attraction into engineering degrees/apprenticeships) and post student support (i.e. transition into careers in industry or academia).