1. In March 2017 HEFCE’s Board agreed funding to enhance the sustainability of small and specialist pre-registration healthcare courses which are transitioning to the higher education funding system as part of the nursing, midwifery and allied health funding reforms taking effect from September 2017. The funding aims to support demand for, and improve retention on, these courses. HEFCE’s funding decisions for 2017-18 are outlined in ‘Funding for universities and colleges for 2017-18: Board decisions’ at www.hefce.ac.uk/pubs/year/2017/CL,062017/.
2. Accordingly HEFCE has developed a programme of strategic interventions in health education disciplines (SIHED), in collaboration with professional and sector bodies, to support small, specialist healthcare subjects. More information on the SIHED programme is available from HEFCE’s website: www.hefce.ac.uk/lt/healthcare/sihed/.
3. One part of the SIHED programme is the establishment of a Challenge Fund which aims to encourage and contribute to the development of new approaches to the delivery of, or recruitment to, healthcare courses. The funding will also be used for engagement with providers and other stakeholders, and dissemination of outcomes.
4. Up to £200,000 is available in 2017-18 to support projects which would benefit podiatry or therapeutic radiography courses. Although the fund is only open to bids from, or led by, providers of podiatry and therapeutic radiography courses for this year, the projects supported could be broader than these individual disciplines as long as benefits to their podiatry or therapeutic radiography provision are clearly outlined.
5. After consultation with the professional bodies for podiatry and radiography, it was decided that two options would be available to potential bidders:
- Call A – Providers can bid for a maximum of £30,000 as individual institutions seeking primarily to innovate in their own recruitment or delivery.
- Call B – Funding of up to £60,000 can be applied for to support collaborative projects, for instance to support projects common to providers of the same disciplines, or projects that are based on a regional partnership.
6. It is expected that providers, and where applicable, their partners, will contribute resources or funding or both to the project they are bidding for, and the bids should clarify the amount and shape of this contribution. The SIHED programme board will be asked to evaluate bids and allocate funding.
7. Bidders will be required to outline how they aim to embed innovation tested as a result of this funding, to ensure benefits continue after this funding ceases.
8. Projects funded through this initiative will be expected to evaluate the outcomes and share lessons learned and good practice with other providers of their discipline, and potentially beyond. This will entail supporting the SIHED programme management with their own monitoring and evaluation, including with data (such as student application data) if required.
9. The deadlines for application are Monday 23 April 2018 (for Call A) and Monday 30 April 2018 (for Call B).
Office for Students
10. From 1 April 2018, the Office for Students (OfS) will take over from HEFCE as the regulator of higher education. Accordingly, higher education teaching funding, including the SIHED programme, will transfer to the OfS. The OfS will receive the bids submitted under this call after 1 April 2018, and will carry out the initial assessment before bids progress to the funding panel (see paragraph 18). Staff details and email addresses outlined in this letter and in the annexes remain valid.