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Dear Vice-Chancellor or Principal

1.   In the early months of 2010 we propose to offer an additional route to the Leadership, Governance and Management (LGM) Fund. All English higher education institutions (HEIs) are eligible to apply.

2.   We are seeking proposals for projects that will support the Statement of Intent, recently sent to you by Universities UK (UUK) and GuildHE, and the implementation of our Sustainable Development Strategy (see 'Sustainable development in higher education: 2008 update to strategic statement and action plan' (HEFCE 2009/03)1). To support this strategy we will be publishing with UUK and GuildHE a carbon reduction target and strategy for higher education in January 2010.

Purpose of funding and eligibility

3.   We launched the LGM Fund in August 2004 to fund projects that contribute towards meeting our strategic plan objectives for supporting leadership, governance and management in higher education. Sustainable development is central to our strategy for the future development of the higher education sector and the fund has already supported a number of projects enabling HEIs to work towards sustainable development2.

4.   We are conscious, however, that the pace of activity on sustainable development in the sector is quickening. The Statement of Intent is itself an indication of HEIs' willingness to act, while responses (to be published in January 2010) to our recent joint consultation with Universities UK and GuildHE demonstrated a high level of commitment by the sector to carbon management3. This increasing awareness is reflected in the growing number of LGM Fund proposals related to sustainable development.

5.   There is widespread agreement that the sector has an important contribution to make and that HEFCE needs to support and encourage this. The LGM Fund is a means by which that support and encouragement may be provided. We have therefore deferred consideration of sustainable development projects for a short period in preparation for a special initiative, which will enable us to make strategic decisions on best use of the fund in this area.

6.   We are now inviting proposals for projects that support sustainable development in its broadest sense under this special initiative, called 'Leading Sustainable Development in Higher Education'.

7.   Normally, LGM Fund projects attract funding in the range of £30,000 to £250,000. We welcome applications for projects that will deliver 'quick wins' and/or aim to invest for longer-term gains. As a result of this invitation, we expect to fund a small number of higher-value projects (up to £250,000) and a larger number of small projects (up to £75,000).

How the funds might be spent

8.   We envisage that some projects will collate and share existing good practice, while others will initiate new approaches and ways of working. Projects might focus on:

  • strategic vision and leadership
  • capacity-building including staff and student engagement
  • measurement and public reporting
  • carbon management
  • sustainable operation of the estate
  • community engagement
  • communications.

Application process

9.   Applicants should e-mail their proposals, using the electronic version of the template at Annex A, to by noon on Friday 26 February 2010.

10.   For information, please contact

Evaluation of proposals

11.   We will evaluate the proposals using the LGM Fund criteria, modified with specific sustainable development measures:

  1. Outputs and outcomes:
    1. How will this help deliver the commitments in the Universities UK/GuildHE Statement of Intent and/or HEFCE's Sustainable Development Strategy?
    2. What is the quantitative and/or qualitative evidence of sector need and demand for the outcomes of this project?
  2. Impact: how will this project help to embed sustainable development at strategic leadership level in the higher education sector and contribute to culture change?
  3. Value for money.
  4. Originality:
    1. Would you describe this project as 'leading-edge'?
    2. How does the project complement existing good practice in this area?
  5. Long-term sustainability: will this project or the learning from the project continue once HEFCE funding finishes?
  6. Collaboration and commitment:
    1. Is there senior management support?
    2. What is the extent of collaboration among HEIs, with sector bodies and with other organisations?
  7. Are the project management arrangements robust?
  8. How will the project’s dissemination strategy ensure the embedding of the project’s outcomes in the higher education sector?

12.   Assessment will be carried out by the LGM Fund assessment panel and the fund's Strategy Group, which is made up of vice-chancellors and other senior higher education leaders. These groups will be supplemented by specialists in sustainable development, both from within the higher education sector and from other organisations.

13.   Proposals will be assessed in March 2010 and initial feedback will be given to applicants in April 2010.

14.   We envisage that some proposals may need further development, particularly where the project requests a larger sum in financial support. We will contact those applicants with developmental feedback in April and request a re-submitted application by 1 June.

15.   We may also put institutions in touch with others expressing an intention to work in similar areas, in order to develop the communities of practice.

16.   We expect to have completed the assessment process for all applications, including those that require further development, by 31 July 2010.

Yours sincerely

Sir Alan Langlands
Chief Executive


  1. All HEFCE publications are available.
  2. Information on all the projects funded through the LGM Fund.
  3. 'Consultation on a carbon reduction target and strategy for higher education in England' (HEFCE 2009/27).

Date: 9 December 2009

Ref: Circular letter 26/2009

To: Heads of HEFCE-funded higher education institutions

Enquiries should be directed to: