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About the programme

This programme aims to address barriers to student success by supporting 17 projects involving 64 different higher education (HE) providers. It is funded through the Catalyst Fund.

The students most affected by differential outcomes are:

  • black and minority ethnic (BME) students
  • students from low socio-economic backgrounds
  • disabled students
  • mature students.

These groups experience significant differences in levels of retention, attainment, progression to postgraduate study and progression into work.

Read more about our work on differential outcomes.

Funded projects

Seventeen collaborative projects will be funded up to £500,000 each. The partnerships involve 64 HE providers and 23 other organisations such as charities, employers and local enterprise partnerships.

The programme will cover a broad range of areas including:

  • inclusive and active teaching and learning practices
  • well-being for students
  • progression to postgraduate study
  • graduate employability.
See a list of funded projects
Lead institution


Project title

Aston University

City University London, University of Ulster, Birmingham City University

Levelling the Playing Field through Work-Based Learning – Addressing Differential Graduate Employability Outcomes

Coventry University

Staffordshire University, Birmingham City University, 6th Form College Solihull, Coventry University College, Stoke College, University of Wolverhampton, Halesowen College

Driver: Data Responsive Initiatives as a Vehicle for achieving Equity in Results

Gateshead College

University of Northumbria at Newcastle upon Tyne, Derby College

BRIDGE - Building Routes Into Degrees with Greater Equality

Kingston University

University of Wolverhampton, University of Hertfordshire, NESCOT FE College, De Montfort University, Greenwich University, University College London

Using a value added metric and an inclusive curriculum framework to address the BME attainment gap

New College Durham

Sunderland College, Darlington College

HE Academic Support Tutor - additional support to address barriers to student success

Nottingham Trent University

Anglia Ruskin University, University of Bradford

Scaling Up Active Collaborative Learning for Student Success

Roehampton University

Carshalton College of FE, Queen Mary University of London

Re-imagining Attainment for All 2 (RAFA 2)

The Open University

Plymouth University, University of Leeds

Embedding and sustaining inclusive STEM practices

The University of Huddersfield

Coventry University, University of Lincoln, Manchester Metropolitan University

Intervention for Success

The University of Leeds

University of Manchester, University of Newcastle, University of Sheffield, University of Warwick, University of York

Progression to and success in taught postgraduate study by students who are low SEC and BME

The University of Manchester

Manchester Metropolitan University, University of Birmingham

Diversity and Inclusion Student Ambassador Programme

The University of Sheffield

King's College London, University of Portsmouth

Raising Awareness, Raising Aspiration: A Targeted Personal Tutoring Support Programme for Narrowing Gaps in Student Achievement and Ambition

University of Derby

Southampton Solent University, University of West London

Student Attainment Project

University of Exeter

University of Birmingham, Loughborough University, Queen Mary University of London, Pearson Education, Exeter College, Leicester College, Hereford Sixth Form College, City and Islington College

Transforming Transitions

University of Portsmouth

University of the Arts London, Canterbury Christ Church University, University of Brighton, University of Winchester

Changing Mindsets: Reducing stereotype threat as a barrier to student success

University of Southampton

University of Surrey, Kingston University

Maximising Student Success through the development of self-regulation

University of the West of England

University of York, Cardiff University, Student Minds, Universities UK

Implementing a strategic approach to mental wellbeing in HE (IMWB)


Externally commissioned evaluators Warwick Economics and Development Ltd will evaluate the programme at a national level over two years. 

Individual projects will evaluate their own activity at a local level, which will feed in to this national evaluation.

Evaluation approach

The programme evaluation has three parts:

  • ongoing evaluation of the entire programme, identifying and sharing good practice 
  • supporting the evaluation of individual projects
  • bringing together findings and recommendations from the projects, assessing their overall impact.

What the evaluation will assess

The evaluation will assess how successful the programme has been in meeting its aims to:

  • support collaborations that have scaled up approaches to address differential student outcomes 
  • support collaborations that have scaled up successful innovations for disabled students  
  • identify good practice across a diverse range of providers, and identify what conditions need to be present to facilitate this good practice.

Evaluation objectives

The evaluation will seek to:

  • ensure funding is spent according to plan
  • assess the impact that can be attributed to Catalyst funding
  • demonstrate the value of any impact at individual, provider, project, and national levels
  • identify differences between approaches to see if these differences are associated with different participation rates and progress
  • establish what works, why and in what circumstances.