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SDP Call for Proposals 2019

Key facts and figures

Submission deadline: Friday 7 December 2018
Notification of outcomes: by Friday 4 January 2019
Anticipated start date: by Monday 21 January 2019
Anticipated completion date: Friday 31 May 2019
Available funding: £500 - £4,000
Eligibility: for Advance HE leadership, governance and management (LGM) strand member institutions only
Submissions to:

What’s this about?

Every year Advance HE (previously under the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education) invests in the sector through our  Small Development Projects (SDP) scheme. We have funded around 200 projects since 2005 which have produced research reports, case studies, toolkits, training materials, videos, guides and other resources to support leadership, governor and management (LGM) and organisational development in higher education.

We know that our member institutions are continuously developing new interventions and resources to support LGM and organisational development, or enhancing implementation. We also know that adoption of such interventions and resources by others can be limited, as evidence and knowledge of successful practice can be hard to find.
As part of our innovation work, SDPs provide an opportunity for Advance HE members to develop, demonstrate and share innovative practice with us and the wider sector, activity which might not otherwise attract full funding support within an institution.

What are we looking for?

Areas of focus

For 2019 we are particularly keen to fund innovative ways of sharing practice and evidence of ‘what works’ in relation to an over-arching theme of positive cultural and behavioural change. This approach has been identified through our parallel exploration of impact and ‘what works’ to support decision-making in higher education (see What Works: The Concept).

We are especially keen to identify impact and encourage take-up of practice in member institutions that can answer the following questions:

  • What interventions are effective in changing culture and organisational practice in support of better mental health and wellbeing for students?
  • What interventions are effective in leading and embedding approaches to addressing mental health and wellbeing of students?

Evidence and facilitation of take-up

Our initial explorations of mobilising knowledge of ‘what works’ suggests that face-to-face networking and communities of practice can strongly encourage take-up of interventions and provide evidence of impact. Innovative approaches such as film, infographics and animations (eg RSA Animate) and, to some extent case studies, are also effective.

We are therefore looking for proposals that:

  • Provide evidence of impact of intervention(s) in the above areas of focus (interventions may be at a single institution, across a region or a number of institutions)
  • Produce outputs in one of the following forms:

o Film (suitable for YouTube, up to 15 minutes’ duration)

o Animation (up to 3 minutes’ duration)

o Infographic (based on A4 size or multiple A4 pages)

o Other innovative medium as suggested by the project team

With a supporting 1-2 page executive summary and/or

  • Develop a community of practice (existing or new) to test, adopt and develop practice in the above areas of focus and report on implementation and impact

Funding up to £4,000 is available for proposals that provide evidence and outputs as above.

Case studies

As in last year’s SDP scheme, we are also interested in receiving proposals for short case studies that describe interventions in the above areas of focus, and share metrics of impact and lessons learned.

We are also interested in case studies describing the impact of institutions’ adoption and use of the Advance HE’s Research Leader’s Impact Toolkit, a membership benefit launched in 2017.

Funding up to £500 is available for case studies.


  • Proposals are welcome from all staff groups from individual member HEIs and from consortia of members.
  • All individual HEIs or consortium members must be members of Advance HE’s leadership, governance and management strand at the time of the proposal and for the duration of the grant.
  • Proposals will be subject to peer review as part of the selection process
  • Proposals should be presented under standard headings as indicated below, and within an overall word limit of 800 words. Please also consider the selection criteria and ensure that you provide sufficient evidence to enable the reviewers to make an informed decision:

Title (Please keep this short but meaningful)

Name(s) of the project leaders (with contact details)

Lead institution (for consortia, please also identify partner institutions. NOTE: all HEIs involved must be members of Advance HE LGM strand; if you are not sure if your institution is a member, check here

Intended output(s): Delete as appropriate: [Infographic] [Film] [Animation] [Community of Practice] [case study] [Other]

Description: (What intervention(s) will you include? What evidence do you have of their impact? How will you produce your chosen output(s) – including available facilities and resources?)

Benefits: (How will this benefit the work of Advance HE? Of the wider sector? How will you facilitate take-up?)

Plan: (include planned actions and timescales, any interim milestones and key delivery dates)

Experience: (who will be involved? What relevant experience do they bring?)

Budget: (Breakdown of allocation of requested funding, and total funding requested. Budget should reflect the planned activities, inputs, resources and outputs). Note that proposals that include matched or other institutional funding are welcome).

In addition to the proposal, each submission should be accompanied by a 200 word overview for inclusion on our website and use in any social media promotion.

A letter of support from an in-house champion (typically a senior member of staff in the relevant area of work in the lead institution) should be provided, and should confirm that outputs can be shared and that any resources or facilities needed to produce the planned outputs will be available in line with the plan and budget.

Proposals should be submitted to by noon on Friday 7 December 2018 in MS-Word, plain text or PDF format. An automatically generated response will acknowledge receipt.

If you would like to have a conversation about a potential proposal is welcome to contact Dr Giles Brown, E:

Selection criteria

This is a very competitive process. Proposals will be subject to peer review as part of the selection process, drawing on Advance HE staff, associates and partners, and specific external expertise where needed.

Proposals will be assessed against the following criteria:

  • Does the proposal clearly fit one or more of the identified areas of focus?
  • Is the intervention(s) covered of sufficiently wide interest to be adopted by Advance HE and/or wider sector?
  • Is there sufficient evidence of impact to facilitate take-up?
  • Are the outputs accessible and generalised so that they can be used by Advance HE in support of our programmes or member benefits, and/or the wider sector?
  • Has the project team provided evidence that they have agreement to use suitable institutional facilities or resources to develop outputs to high quality?
  • Can the outputs be easily hosted on the Advance HE website or YouTube (ie do not need any special infrastructure)?
  • Does the experience of those involved give confidence of successful delivery?
  • Does the budget appropriately reflect the description of planned activity?
  • Does it represent good value for money?
  • Are all HEIs involved members of Advance HE’s LGM strand?

Notification, contracting and implementation

Advance HE will notify outcomes of the selection process by Friday 4 January 2019 via email to the named project lead. Detailed feedback on unsuccessful proposals will not be provided. We aim to issue contracts in order for projects to start by Monday 21 January 2019 at the latest. We expect all projects to have completed and produced agreed outputs by Friday 31 May 2019.
We encourage projects to use social media to promote their work and anticipated outputs on a regular basis. We can provide guidance on the use of social media hashtags and our own channels as appropriate.
Templates, SDP and Advance HE branding and related style guides will be provided and must be applied to all outputs to acknowledge Advance HE funding (joint branding with the host institution is acceptable, to an agreed style).
Outputs may be restricted to our members only for an initial period. Outputs will be subject to peer review led by Advance HE; project leads will be expected to respond to feedback and prepare at least one further iteration of the output(s) where necessary, and should factor this into project timing and resourcing.

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      1. Current Tenders
        1. SDP Call for Proposals 2019
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      3. 2018 Research
        1. Exploring the Impact of Coaching in Higher Education
        2. Onwards and Upwards? Tracking women's work experiences in higher education Year 3 report
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      4. 2017 Research
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        2. Talent Management: Learning Across Sectors
        3. Big data – disruptive, distracting or adding value?
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      5. 2016 Research
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        3. The purpose of professors: professionalism, pressures and performance
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        7. The Role of Prestige in UK Universities: Vice-Chancellors' Perspectives
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        11. Exploring the Impact of Coaching in Higher Education: a Provocation
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        4. Religion in Britain: Challenges to Higher Education
        5. The Case for Growing STEMM Research Capacity in Wales
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        11. Leading academic talent to a successful future: an international perspective
        12. Leading academic talent to a successful future: interviews with leaders, managers and academics
        13. Out in Orbit: strategies and trajectories for higher education satellite campuses
        14. Neo-collegiality: restoring academic engagement in the managerial university
        15. Trends in Governance: Universities in the Southern, African Development, Community
        16. Action Learning as a Tool for Change and Development: The Experience of Registrars and Senior Administrative Officers in Southern Africa
        17. Registrars and Senior Administrative Officers as Change Leaders in Southern African Universities
        18. The Changing Role of the University Registrar: Challenges and Prospects in Southern African Higher Education Institutions
        19. Report from the: Programme for University Leaders in the Southern African Region (PULSAR)
        20. Leading the Student Experience: Academic and Professional Services in Partnership
        21. A Complexity Approach to Leadership Development: Developing Practical Judgement
        22. Performance Management in UK Higher Education Institutions: The need for a hybrid approach
      8. 2013 Research
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        2. Credit Risk? Reviving credit accumulation and transfer in UK higher education
        3. What do we know about: Collaborations and Partnerships in Higher Education
        4. Leadership of Practice Disciplines in Universities: The case of nurses and teachers
        5. Devolution and Higher Education: What next?
        6. Leadership for a better student experience: What do senior executives need to know?
        7. Horizon Scanning: what will higher education look like in 2020
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        13. Internationalising the curriculum: Design, delivery and depth
        14. Losing our Chains?
      9. 2012 Research
        1. What do we know about leadership in higher education?
        2. Leadership development within the UK higher education: its impact on organisational performance, and the role of evaluation
        3. The Future of English Higher Education: two scenarios on the changing landscape
        4. Disruptive Innovation and the higher education ecosystem post-2012
        5. Academic Leadership: Changing Conceptions, Identities and Experiences in UK Higher Education
        6. Leading the Student Experience: Super-Convergence of Organisation, Structure and Business Processes
        7. Leadership for Improved Academic Enterprise
        8. Leadership and Innovation Lessons from Professional Services Firms
        9. Leading Culturally Diverse Communities in Higher Education: A Self Assessment and Improvement Tool to Support Equality and Diversity Strategies Toolkit and Toolkit as Form
        10. Inequality and higher education: marketplace or social justice?
        11. Collaborations and Mergers in HE: Lessons Learned and Future Prospects
      10. 2011 Research
        1. Developing the whole student: leading higher education initiatives that integrate mind and heart
        2. A Review of Higher Education Collaborations Across Wales
        3. Higher Education Collaborations: Implications for Leadership, Management and Governance
        4. Enabling equality: furthering disability equality for staff in higher education
        5. A guide to offshore staffing strategies for UK universities
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        7. A Framework for Identifying Governing Body Effectiveness in Higher Education
      11. 2010 Research
        1. Higher Education Futures: Key Themes and Implications for Leadership and Management
        2. Understanding Career Motivation in Higher Education, Analysis of Agregated Results from 2009 Benchmarking Study
        3. Conversations and Collaborations: The Leadership of Collaborative Projects between Higher Education and the Arts and Cultural Sector
        4. A Guide to Scenario Planning in Higher Education
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        3. Mapping Leadership Development in Higher Education: A Global Study
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        5. The Management of Academic Workloads: Improving Practice in the Sector
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        9. What is an Effective and High Performing Governing Body in UK Higher Education?
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        2. UK Universities and Executive Officers: The Changing Role of Pro-Vice-Chancellors
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      1. Case Study: University College Cork

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