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eSTEeM Call for Scholarship Proposals January 2024

22nd January 2024

Welcome to the 24th eSTEeM call for scholarship project proposals for OU colleagues. If you are new to the STEM Faculty and haven’t heard of eSTEeM before, but have an interest in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, then please talk to your School Scholarship Lead (details below). If you are based outside of a school, or are unsure who best to contact, then please email in the first instance to arrange a discussion with an eSTEeM Director and we will advise you further.

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 group.

Priority areas

Below is a list of strategic priority areas that may help you in focusing your project proposal. However, please remember that this does not preclude you from suggesting other scholarship projects that fit within the eSTEeM portfolio.

  • Continuation and completion: To meet the OU’s goal of enabling success for our students, we are actively seeking scholarship projects that investigate and implement strategies to enhance student continuation and completion, such as sense of community/belonging.
  • Access, Participation and Success: We continue to seek projects related to Access, Participation and Success which investigate issues around registration, tuition, completion and awarding gaps with respect to students from under-represented groups in STEM. 
  • Curriculum design and assessment: We would be particularly interested in receiving proposals that plan to actively involve students as partners within project teams which investigate student input into module and assessment design. eSTEeM can provide guidance on recruiting students.  
  • Innovations in STEM teaching and learning: With the rise of generative AI and extended reality, we are keen to explore the challenges, opportunities and impact on STEM teaching and learning of these technologies.
  • Sustainability in the STEM curriculum: Universities play a key role in the global transition to Net Zero emissions, and we encourage projects that seek to enhance teaching of sustainability through the STEM curriculum.  

Across all priority areas, we would encourage project teams to draw upon the experience of colleagues in the Student Support Team and consider how to actively involve students as collaborators/co-investigators within project teams. Further details can be found below under Guidance and recommendations.

What to do next

Obtain and complete the proposal form

If you have a worked up proposal in mind, then please download a project proposal form, link below under Related Resources. To assist you in preparing your proposal, please view our current and archived eSTEeM projects and final reports. Please also visit the Scholarship Exchange, which is the University’s repository of scholarship projects and reports, to explore any related scholarship that your proposal can build upon. We would also strongly encourage you to speak to those colleagues who have conducted similar projects to the one you may be proposing.

Expressions of interest

Alternatively, if you would prefer to register your interest in joining a project group, rather than proposing a project, please email indicating the priority area(s) you are interested in investigating and why. There is no need to gain School Scholarship Lead endorsement, Lead Line Manager or Head of School approval at this stage, they will be required at a later stage once a suitable project has been developed.

Sign-off procedure for proposals

Please note that before submission to eSTEeM all project proposals must be reviewed and endorsed by your School Scholarship Lead/eSTEeM Director. Your time allocation must be approved by your Lead Line Manager (Associate Lecturers) and all proposals must be approved by your Head of School. Therefore, please ensure that you contact your respective School Scholarship Lead/eSTEeM Director to discuss your ideas as soon as possible, and ideally no later than Friday 16th February. This will allow them sufficient time to support you and provide feedback on your draft proposal before the deadline. Please also make sure that you allow enough time for your Lead Line Manager and Head of School to sign-off the proposal in advance of the deadline.  

Timeline Activity
Tuesday 6th February Pre-bidding Workshop
Tuesday 13th February Drop-in Session
Ideally no later than Friday 16th February     Discuss proposal with School Scholarship Lead/eSTEeM Director
Ideally no later than Friday 1st March Obtain Lead Line Manager approval (Associate Lecturers)
Ideally no later than Friday 15th March  Obtain Head of School approval (all proposals)
5pm Tuesday 2nd April  Submission deadline
Late April  eSTEeM Coordination Group Scrutiny Panel
Early May Proposers informed of decision
May/June Induction

If you are an AL, and possibly working across a number of schools, then please contact the Scholarship Lead of the school to which the proposal relates.

School/Institute Scholarship/Institute Lead Email
C&C Rehana Awan/Soraya Kouadri Mostéfaoui 
E&I Anne-Marie Gallen
EEES Fiona Aiken
KMi Trevor Collins
LHCS Sarah Daniell 
M&S Susan Pawley
SPS Jonathan Nylk

Pre-bidding Workshop and Drop-in Session: 6th and 13th February

A pre-bidding workshop, to assist colleagues with the preparation of an eSTEeM project proposal, was held on the 6th February. A link to the recording can be found below under Related Resources

A drop-in session will be held on Tuesday 13th February, 19.00-20.00 via Teams, for those colleagues unable to attend the workshop who wish to discuss their project idea or if you have any further queries. If you would like to attend please email

Submission deadline

The deadline for fully worked up proposals and expressions of interest is 5pm on Tuesday 2nd April 2024. Proposals will be scrutinised by the eSTEeM Coordination Group in late April and proposers will be informed shortly afterwards.

Project call timetable 

If you are unable to develop a proposal during this round, there will be further open calls as detailed below.

25th call for projects July 2024
26th call for projects January 2025

Further details

The estimated duration of projects is around 12-18 months with each team member expected to commit a minimum of 10 days. 

Key information for Associate Lecturers

  1. Please note there is a maximum threshold of 1.3 FTE for all OU work. In the first instance, you should ensure that you have capacity for this role within your OU workload FTE. Before applying to this call, you will need to firstly contact your line manager to discuss your workload, to establish AL role workload commitments and whether exceptionally undertaking this task from your AL role FTE will leave you with sufficient capacity to undertake any other key, expected AL tasks. If no capacity is available, in exceptional circumstances the Faculty approval process to raise an Additional Duties Contract will be followed, providing that the time allocated to the project does not take you over 1.3 FTE.
  2. Project time is limited a maximum total of 30 days (over 12–18 months) which may be shared amongst a number of ALs working on the same project.
  3. eSTEeM may provide support for conference attendance to inform or disseminate project findings and expenses to attend eSTEeM community events, where applicable.
  4. Scholarship skills development and mentoring will be provided by eSTEeM.
  5. Project proposals will require endorsement from your School Scholarship Lead and approval of your time from your Lead Line Manager (for each AL on the project team).
  6. Applying for an eSTEeM project for the first time may feel a little daunting but please remember there is help and support available. If you have an idea, but not a defined project, and would like to discuss it further in the first instance, then please feel free to contact the eSTEeM Management Team (, School Scholarship Lead (details above) or your Lead Line Manager.
  7. Many eSTEeM projects require assistance with a variety of tasks, such as the collection of quantitative and qualitative data, literature reviews or running focus groups with students. Therefore, if you do not wish to lead a project but would be interested in contributing to a project in this way, please complete an AL skills register and return it to us at We will keep your details on file and when an opportunity arises, we will try to match it to the skills, experience, and areas of interest that you have told us about.

Guidance and recommendations

Students as Partners in Scholarship

We continue to prioritise projects that actively involve students as collaborators/co-investigators in the project team (and not just as research participants). We are happy to provide guidance on how exactly this might be achieved in the context of your project plan. Please note that students who accumulate eight hours or more of working on an eSTEeM project will be able to claim a digital badge ‘Student Partner in Educational Research’ in recognition of their contributions to scholarship.

Collaboration with Student Recruitment and Support Centre/Student Support Team colleagues

We would like to further encourage collaborative proposals between the Student Recruitment and Support Centre and the STEM Faculty that will evaluate the impact of activities around student experience and success. We are keen for these to involve Student Recruitment and Support Centre staff as active partners in the design and operation of the project, and not merely in contacting students. eSTEeM has a panel of SST Scholarship Champions who are advisors (Senior Advisors and Educational Advisors) willing to work with colleagues on eSTEeM projects. If you would like to know more about current and planned activities within individual subject areas, please contact your School SST Lead.

School Student Support Lead Email
C&C Alexis Lansbury
E&I Stephen Jones
EEES Fiona Aiken
LHCS Claire Rostron
M&S Alison Bromley
SPS Becca Whitehead

Professional development

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

In addition, eSTEeM has developed a Badged Open Course Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) in STEM, which is freely available on OpenLearn. The aim of the course is to guide colleagues through the process of systematically designing, conducting, reflecting upon and evaluating an ethically reasoned SoTL inquiry. This resource is highly recommended for anyone who is new to scholarship and looking to submit a proposal.

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.

Related Resources: 
File eSTEeM-Project-Proposal-Form-Jan-24-FINAL.docx69.61 KB

Project Proposal Form.

PDF icon eSTEeM-Project-Plan-Supp-Info-Jan-24-FINAL.pdf96.65 KB

eSTEeM Project Plan Supplementary Information.

eSTEeM Pre-bidding Workshop recording February 2024

Pre-bidding workshop recording. Intranet only.

File 20240206-eSTEeM-pre-bidding-workshop-FINAL.pptx4.56 MB

Workshop presentation.

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in STEM BOC

Free Badged Open Course which provides a toolkit for conducting Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL).

PDF icon Students-as-Partners-in-Scholarship-Framework-FINAL.pdf278.76 KB

Framework establishing a model for engaging students as partners in scholarship.

Impact of SoTL

A range of case studies, workbooks and other resources that will help colleagues to plan and evaluate for impact when developing a project proposal.

The OU Assessment Hub

Assessment resources. Intranet only.

Advance HE Enhancing Teaching and Learning in Higher Education

Teaching and learning resources by Advance HE.