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eSTEeM's 21st call for scholarship projects now open

5th July 2022

Welcome to the 21st eSTEeM call for project proposals which is open to OU colleagues. 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 flexible study intensity, sustainability, innovations in STEM education, or projects which address themes such as accessibility and alternate formats for module materials. 

  1. Access, Participation and Success: We continue to seek projects related to Access, Participation and Success which investigate issues around registration, tuition, completion and awarding with respect to students from under-represented groups in STEM.
  2. Assessment and feedback: Exploring the challenges, opportunities, and drawbacks of remote exams and online exams, as compared to face-to-face exams.   
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Retention and progression: 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.

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 current and previous eSTEeM projects and final reports within the 'Resources' section. 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 encourage you to speak to those colleagues who have conducted similar projects to the one you may be proposing.

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.

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 and your time allocation must be approved by your Head of School (central and regional staff) or your Lead Line Manager (Associate Lecturers). Therefore, please ensure that you contact your respective School Scholarship Lead to discuss your ideas as soon as possible, and no later than Friday 12th August. This will allow them sufficient time to support you and provide feedback on your draft proposal before the deadline.  



Tuesday 26th July, 14.00-15.30

Pre-bidding Workshop

Thursday 28th July, 19.00-20.00

Follow-up Drop-in Session

No later than Friday 12th August

Discuss proposal with School Scholarship Lead

No later than Friday 9th September

Obtain Head of School/Lead Line Manager approval

5pm Friday 16th September

Submission Deadline


 eSTEeM Coordination Group Scrutiny Panel

End of October

 Proposers informed of decision

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


Scholarship Lead


Shailey Minocha


Daphne Chang


Fiona Aiken


Trevor Collins


Duncan Banks


Susan Pawley


Jimena Gorfinkiel/Jonny Nylk

Pre-bidding Workshop and Drop-in Session

We will be holding a pre-bidding workshop to assist colleagues with the preparation of an eSTEeM project proposal and to discuss any project ideas that you may have. The workshop will take place on Tuesday 26th July, 14.00-15.30 via MS Teams. The workshop will be recorded and available as a replay shortly afterwards; the link for which will appear below under ‘Related Resources.

In addition, we will be holding a follow-up drop-in session on Thursday 28th July, 19.00-20.00 via Teams, for those colleagues unable to attend the workshop who wish to discuss their project idea or have any queries. Please confirm your attendance by visiting the registration page by Friday 22nd July 2022.

Submission deadline

The deadline for fully worked up proposals and expressions of interest is 5pm on Friday 16th September 2022. Proposals will be scrutinised by the eSTEeM Coordination Group in October 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.

22nd call for projects

January 2023

23rd call for projects

July 2023

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.

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. 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 1.3 FTE. 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. 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. 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 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 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 the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.

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.

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 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.

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

eSTEeM Project Proposal Form.

PDF icon eSTEeM-Project-Plan-Supp-Info-Jul-22-FINAL.pdf229.59 KB

Project plan supplementary information.

The OU Assessment Hub

Assessment resources. Intranet only.

Advance HE Enhancing Teaching and Learning in Higher Education

Teaching and learning resources by Advance HE.

File 20220726-eSTEeM-pre-bidding-workshop-FINAL.pptx1.82 MB

Workshop presentation.