Dear Vice-Chancellor or Principal
Catalyst Fund: Student safeguarding on campus
Purpose and eligibility
1. HEFCE-funded higher education institutions and further education colleges which are directly funded by HEFCE, are invited to submit proposals for projects on student safeguarding, to receive Catalyst funding of up to £50,000. The deadline for returning completed business cases is noon on Thursday 2 February 2017.
2. We expect a range of proposals, relating to institutions’ own strategies and to local and regional priorities, and building on the activities and research HEFCE, Universities UK and other bodies have undertaken in these areas. Further information, including the application process, selection criteria and timescale, is provided in Annex A.
3. Funding will be made available from the Catalyst Fund. We launched the fund in August 2012 as the route for discretionary investment to support key strategic priorities, and advised then that from time to time we might issue calls for projects relating to specific topics.
4. The Catalyst Fund remains open for bids in key priority areas, but we are unlikely to take forward other bids for student safeguarding while this call is running. Please discuss this further, if necessary, with your HEFCE institutional team.
5. Funding is available to higher education institutions and further education colleges which are directly funded by HEFCE. Based on the legal restrictions to our funding responsibilities, we can consider proposals from directly funded further education colleges only where these link directly to the development and delivery of prescribed courses of higher education.
6. The detailed requirements of the call are set out as Annexes A and B below.
Complying with state aid and other relevant legislation
7. We set out our general expectation that HEFCE-funded higher education institutions and further education colleges will have regard to state aid compliance in relation to all our funding in our Memorandum of Assurance and Accountability (HEFCE 2016/12). We may need to ask for some information on state aid in finalising awards for successful bids where there are state aids dimensions, to comply with European Commission monitoring information.
Freedom of information
8. HEFCE is subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000, which gives a public right of access to information held by a public authority. This may result in applications, communications between us and the institution, information arising from this work, or the outputs from the work undertaken being subject to disclosure if a valid request is made to us. We will comply with such requests in accordance with the legislation and our own policies.
9. Institutions can, if they wish, provide potentially sensitive information (such as information relating to commercial interests) in a separate annex attached to the business case. This will highlight to us that there are concerns about disclosure. With such annexes, the proposal must not exceed the maximum length as stated in the business case template.
10. Where we consider it to be appropriate and practicable we will seek the views of applicants before disclosing this information in response to a Freedom of Information request. Applicants should be aware that even when concerns have been expressed, HEFCE may nevertheless be obliged to disclose this information. Our assumption will be that all information in the main application documents can be disclosed on request.
11. Further information about the Freedom of Information Act is available at www.ico.org.uk.
12. Higher education institutions and directly funded further education colleges are invited to complete the proposal template, which is available to download below. The deadline for the return of completed business cases is noon on Thursday 2 February 2017. Bids must be emailed to email@example.com.
Professor Madeleine Atkins