Innovation Fund Winners Ask School Students What They Expect From University Life

Researchers from the School of Medical Education have won funding for a project which interviews future students to discover what they might expect from their University learning experience.

Laura Delgaty, Lynne Rawles, Joanna Matthan, Sally Munford and Claire Guilding submitted a proposal to the University’s Innovation Fund in order to complete the work.

The project looks specifically at how young people use technology and the sorts of technologies they may expect from their future learning environment.

The project also ties in with the University’s own five-year strategy to enhance their digital capability to ensure that they are catering to the needs of future generations of students.

Principal Investigator Laura Delgaty said: ‘What was really interesting was talking to these 15/16 year olds and hearing how they actually use technology.

‘We were incredibly surprised by the things that were really important to them because they were not necessarily the things that we thought.’

The project encouraged school students across Tyne and Wear to consider what attracted them to certain types of technology

‘For most of them the most important thing was that all of the software they were being asked to use could work on a number of different devices, allowing them to choose what brand of phone or i-pad etc. they wanted without being tied to a certain brand or model.

‘Obviously they asked for lots of chargers to be available but one really surprising thing was that they said that they expected fresh drinking water to be available in all teaching spaces.

‘That was just something that we’d never thought about, but I think these students are very alive to healthy lifestyle choices and drinking water is something that they expect the learning environment.’

‘It was amazing the amount of time these school students put in on answering the questions and the amount of detail they went into.

‘Some even described how they wanted different spaces to smell!

‘But what really came across was that they don’t think of technology as something new or separate. This will help contribute to the way we think about our five year strategy.

‘They think of it as something that is just there, that is just always part of their lives and which should be easy and functional and barely noticeable.’

The Innovation Fund supports projects which aim to provide innovative approaches to learning and teaching in the University.

This project was successful in the Strategic Project strand the call for this semester’s strategic strand closes on 15th January 2016.

There is also a Postgraduate Innovation Fund competition for innovative approaches to postgraduate learning or to enhancing the postgraduate experience.

Interested in applying for the Innovation Fund? Apply online or contact for more information.




Previous ULTSEC Innovation Fund Winners 2014-15

Past years’ awards

2014-15 Awards

In 2014-15 the following awards were made:

  • 7 Responsive Projects, each for up to £2,500
  • 5 Strategic Projects, each for up to £10,000

Details of all the projects can be found in the 2014/15 list of funded projects.

2014 Awards: Strengthening the relationship between research and teaching, Diversifying our portfolio of programmes, and Assessment and feedback.

In 2014 the panel funded 14 projects, each for up to £5k. Six projects were funded under the priority theme ofAssessment and feedback.  Five projects were funded under the priority theme of Diversifying our portfolio of programmes.  Three projects were funded under the priority themes Strengthening the relationship between research and teaching. Relevant resources are:

  • the 2014 list of funded projects – congratulations to all the award winners
  • guidance notes for applicants, including suggestions for projects aligned with each of the priority themes
  • resources from the Innovation Fund dissemination and welcome event on 9th December 2013 which included presentations from a number of Innovation Fund 2013 project teams. Here is the running order for the event and here is the ReCap recording (the recording lets you navigate between presentations). The table below has links to speakers’ slides and other materials
  • this short video for applicants, talking through the application process and judging criteria.
Chris Phillips and Simon Pallett (Introduction to the Innovation Fund): slides Laura Greaves and Ellen Tullo: slides
Rene Koglbauer and Paul Miller: slides, school visit news article Jarka Glassey, Katie Wray and Jess Jung: slides
Lynne Rawles, Alison Clapp and Laura Delgaty:slides Michelle Robson/Kate Aitchison and Marie Devlin: slides
Lindsey Ferrie and Simon Cotterill: slides Jean-Christophe Penet: slides
Kathryn Hollingsworth: slides John Lockey, Didier Talamona, Kenny Dalgarno: slides
Lee Fawcett: slides, ACC1012/3 course website Sara Marsham, Alison Graham, Jon Goss and Christie Harner: slides, Assessment & Student Dialogue event resources
Storify archive of tweets from the event

Previous ULTSEC Innovation Award Winners 2012-13

2012 Awards: Coherent Curriculum and Access to HE

In 2012 the panel funded 17 projects, each for up to £5k to support the development of learning and teaching activities.  By funding twice as many projects as in previous years it was intended to offer additional institutional support for work done in preparation for 2012.

Four projects were funded under the priority theme of Access to HE.  Thirteen projects were funded under the priority theme of Coherent Curriculum. Relevant resources are:

  • the list of funded projects – congratulations to all the award winners
  • the 2012 call for proposals document with more information on the two priority themes
  • the ReCap recording of the dissemination and welcome event (December 2011) with project updates from the 2011 Innovation Fund project teams. Their slides are also available:
Suzanne Cholerton: introduction Moira Bent: project update
Alison Clapp: project update Rachel Lofthouse: project update
Phil Ansell: project update Grace Cooper: project update
Lindsey Ferrie: project update Simon Cotterill: project update

Mei-Yen Chan (Food and Human Nutrition) and her students have set up a project using Facebook to help BSc students on the Singapore and Newcastle campuses to interact with each other. Their project update is presented as a video interview.

The following list of project outputs will be updated as projects progress. Outputs so far are: