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The grants, from HEFCE’s Catalyst Fund (Note 1), were issued in response to a report by the Universities UK Harassment Task Force which explored the nature and scale of the problem in higher education, and highlighted the need for institutions to respond more effectively (Note 2).
The Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, Jo Johnson, said:
'We take any form of violence and sexual harassment extremely seriously, and expect universities to take a zero-tolerance approach.
'The interest and response to HEFCE’s fund has been hugely encouraging. The number of projects announced and the support shown reinforces the willingness of universities, across the country, to support staff and students in providing safe and secure campuses and I look forward to seeing the impact of these projects in due course.'
The projects have been developed with students, who will have pivotal roles in their delivery. They cover a wide range of activity, including training and awareness raising, digital innovation, and new approaches to prevention and reporting.
HEFCE Chief Executive, Professor Madeleine Atkins, said:
'All students should feel safe and supported during their time in higher education. Universities and colleges are working hard to tackle issues of sexual harassment and violence on campus, but there is more to be done. Their determination and commitment is evident in the overwhelmingly positive response to HEFCE’s Catalyst Fund call.
'We are delighted to be supporting a range of innovative projects, and we will be looking to share good practice and evidence of successful outcomes over the coming months."
1. HEFCE’s catalyst fund provides targeted investment in activity led by universities and colleges. The fund supports a range of student and sector priorities, including innovation in higher education, efficiency and effectiveness, and student interest issues. The call for student safeguarding on campus was issued on 20 December 2016 and closed on 02 February 2017. HEFCE has awarded £2,453,141 funding to 64 institutions. See a list of successful bids.
The proposals were assessed by the Catalyst Safeguarding Panel, which is chaired by HEFCE’s Director of Universities and Colleges, Yvonne Hawkins. Panel members include Ben Bailey (Chair of AMOSSHE and Director of Student Services, University of Birmingham), Nerys Thomas (Head of Research, College of Policing) and Hareem Ghani, (Women’s Officer, NUS).