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eSTEeM's 20th call for scholarship projects now open

18th January 2022

Welcome to the 20th eSTEeM call for project proposals for Open University staff. 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. For example, we would be particularly interested in receiving proposals which investigate student outcomes in STEM modules in relation to the Open Programme, innovations in STEM education, or projects which address themes such as accessibility and alternate formats for module materials. 

  • Access, Participation and Success: We continue to seek projects related to Access, Participation and Success which investigate issues around registration, completion and awarding with respect to students from under-represented groups in STEM.
  • Assessment and feedback1: Exploring the challenges, opportunities, and drawbacks of remote exams and online exams, as compared to F2F exams, in response to COVID-19, and in the post-COVID-19 future.  
  • Employability: The University continues to work closely with employers to ensure that our curriculum provides graduates with suitable employability skills including the importance of accreditation by professional bodies and what effect this has on student motivation and engagement.
  • Flexible study intensity: Projects in this area will explore the rise in flexible study intensity and develop strategies to ensure effective support is in place for these students to succeed.
  • National context: We are particularly interested in scholarship that considers the higher education policy in each of the four nations and addresses issues in STEM teaching and learning within Scottish, English, Welsh or Northern Irish and Irish contexts.

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.

To assist you in preparing your proposal, please visit the projects summarycurrent and previous eSTEeM projects and final reports. Please also visit the searchable 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 advise you to speak to those colleagues who have conducted similar projects to the one you may be proposing.

Sign-off procedure for proposals

Please note that before submission to eSTEeM all proposals must be reviewed and endorsed by your School Scholarship Lead and your time allocation must be approved by your Head of School (non-AL staff) or your Lead Line Manager (AL staff). Therefore, please ensure that you contact your respective Scholarship Lead to discuss your ideas as soon as possible, and no later than Friday 11th February. This will allow them sufficient time to support you and provide feedback on your draft proposal before the deadline.   

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 to.


Scholarship Lead


Shailey Minocha


Daphne Chang


Sarah Davies/Fiona Aiken


Trevor Collins


Duncan Banks


Susan Pawley


Jimena Gorfinkiel 

Pre-bidding Workshop: Wednesday 2nd February 2022, 14.30-16.00 via MS Teams

We will be holding a pre-bidding workshop to assist colleagues with the preparation of an eSTEeM project proposal and discuss any project ideas that you may have. The workshop will take place on Wednesday 2nd February, 14.30-16.00 via MS Teams. Please confirm your attendance by visiting the registration page by Friday 28th January 2022. The session will be recorded for those unable to make this date.

Expressions of interest

​If you would like 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.

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 Lecturer colleagues

  1. Projects will be funded by eSTEeM with ALs contracted to undertake the work on an additional duty basis up to a maximum of 30 days (over 12–18 months) and expenses. This may be shared amongst a number of ALs working on the same project. However, you must be able to fulfil this role within the maximum working allowance of 1.3FTE. Each role will be paid at the rate of £157.40 per day up to the indicated maximum number of days. In addition, eSTEeM may provide support for conference attendance to inform or disseminate project findings and expenses to attend eSTEeM community events, where applicable.
  2. Scholarship skills development and mentoring will be provided by eSTEeM.
  3. All Associate Lecturer 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).
  4. 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 or your Staff Tutor.
  5. 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 on a particular module. Therefore, if you do not wish to be substantially involved in a project but would be interested in contributing to a project, 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 ALs according to their skills, experience, and areas of interest.

Submission deadline

The deadline for fully worked up proposals and expressions of interest is 17.00 on Friday 25th February 2022. Proposals will be scrutinised by the eSTEeM Coordination Group in mid-March and proposers will be informed shortly afterwards.

Project call timetable for 2022-23

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

21st call for projects

July 2022

22nd call for projects

January 2023

Additional information

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 study 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 8 hours or more of working on an eSTEeM project will be entitled to download a digital badge ‘Student Partner in Educational Research’ in recognition of their involvement with scholarship through eSTEeM.

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 staff as active partners in the design and operation of the project, and not merely in contacting students. If you would like to know more about current and planned activities within individual subject areas, please contact your Student Support Team (SST) Lead.

Professional development

If you are seeking to gain recognition as a HEA Fellow or Senior Fellow, 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 new Badged Open Course Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) in STEM which is now 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 essential 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 by 17.00 on Friday 25th February.


Access, Participation and Success website

AL skills register

Applaud website

Current and previous eSTEeM projects 

eSTEeM projects summary

eSTEeM final reports

Registration form for the pre-bidding workshop, 2nd February, 14.30-16.00 via MS Teams

Recording of the pre-bidding workshop held on 2nd February Part 1 and Part 2

Scholarship Exchange (Intranet only)

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in STEM Badged Open Course

If you are considering the theme of ‘Assessment and feedback’ you may find the following resources useful: Keele Education Conference 2022 websiteThe OU Assessment Hub (Intranet)

Related Resources: 
File eSTEeM-Project-Proposal-Form-Jul-22-FINAL.docx114.52 KB

eSTEeM Project Proposal Form.

PDF icon 2022-01-eSTEeM-Project-Plan-Supp-Info-FINAL.pdf229.11 KB

eSTEeM Project Plan Supplementary Information