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HEFCE closed at the end of March 2018. The information on this website is historical and is no longer maintained.

Many of HEFCE's functions will be continued by the Office for Students, the new regulator of higher education in England, and Research England, the new council within UK Research and Innovation.

The HEFCE domain - - will continue to function until September 2018. At this point we will close the site entirely and all its information will only be available from the National Web Archive.


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Challenge Fund: encouraging new approaches to recruiting to or delivering healthcare courses

Higher education institutions and further education colleges providing courses in podiatry or therapeutic radiography are invited to submit funding bids for projects which will develop innovative approaches to course recruitment and delivery.

  • Call A is for single provider bids up to £30,000 and has a deadline of Monday 23 April 2018
  • Call B is for collaborative project bids up to £60,000 and has a deadline of Monday 30 April 2018

Read further information

Strategic interventions in health education disciplines (SIHED)

HEFCE funds the strategic interventions in health education disciplines programme. It is expected to run for three years, starting in 2017-18, with a budget of £1 million per year.

The SIHED programme aims to:

  • increase awareness of allied health disciplines
  • increase understanding of and demand for small specialist allied health disciplines
  • strengthen and diversify the delivery of the small and specialist disciplines covered by this initiative
  • develop a better understanding of the mature student market for nursing, midwifery and allied health.

The disciplines covered by the programme are:

  • therapeutic radiography
  • podiatry
  • orthoptics
  • prosthetics and orthotics.

Programme of activities

In 2017-18, the priority activities of the programme are:

  • Delivering a marketing and communications campaign to support student recruitment to small and specialist allied health professions from spring 2018 onwards
  • Developing marketing materials to support recruitment to the disciplines in scope, from spring 2018 to early summer 2018
  • Appointing outreach and communications officers in the four subject areas covered by the programme, from spring 2018 onwards
  • Supporting a wider healthcare and allied health professional recruitment campaign
  • Setting up a challenge fund and inviting providers to bid for funding, enabling them to pilot innovative ways of recruiting to their programmes, or delivering these programmes, from spring 2018 onwards
  • Facilitating work shadowing opportunities in orthoptics from spring 2018 to spring 2019. HEFCE will fund a fixed-term secondment of an existing professional to the British and Irish Orthoptics Society. Their role will be to develop agreements between NHS trusts and higher education providers, enabling the higher education providers to guide prospective students wishing to work shadow an orthoptist
  • Funding a fixed-term role to increase capacity for prosthetics and orthotics work placements, from spring 2018 to spring 2019, allowing more students to study the subject. This role will also coordinate the development of apprenticeship standards for prosthetics and orthotics, which should increase the candidate pool for this discipline
  • Evaluating the project and sharing outcomes from autumn 2018.

Why we are funding this programme

The majority of nursing, midwifery and allied health (NMAH) pre-registration courses moved into the higher education funding system from 2017-18. In its 2017 grant letter, the Department for Education indicated that HEFCE’s role in this funding reform included identifying small and specialist NMAH programmes and implementing measures to support them.

HEFCE’s board therefore allocated £1 million a year for three years to support these disciplines.

How we developed this programme

HEFCE had been working on subject-level vulnerabilities since the NMAH funding reforms were announced, and had identified a group of disciplines as being both small and specialist, and vulnerable. These are prosthetics and orthotics, therapeutic radiography, podiatry and orthoptics.

HEFCE worked with sector bodies and the professional bodies corresponding to these disciplines to develop a programme of activities to ensure their sustainability. These professional bodies are:

  • Health Education England
  • The British Association of Prosthetists and Orthotists
  • The British and Irish Orthoptics Society
  • The College of Podiatry
  • The Council of Deans of Health
  • The Society and College of Radiographers
  • Universities UK (UUK)

A programme board was put in place in summer 2017 with representatives of these organisations, chaired by Professor Alistair Fitt, the chair of UUK’s healthcare research and education policy network. This programme board met for the first time in September 2017 and agreed objectives and success criteria for a programme of activities which had been jointly developed with professional and sector bodies, and agreed by HEFCE’s executive.

How this programme is managed

HEFCE awarded The College of Podiatry a grant for the management of several major aspects of the SIHED programme. These include commissioning the development and delivery of a national marketing and communications campaign and coordination of the outreach network.

HEFCE will directly commission market research on the mature student market and on the evaluation of the SIHED programme, and will engage with governmental and sector bodies on the possible development of a wider promotion of healthcare disciplines and professions.

Read more about the project on The College of Podiatry website

Page last updated 8 March 2018