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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 The information on this website is historical and is no longer maintained.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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P1010371 copy

A collaboration between the Open University, University of Leeds and University of Plymouth, this project will embed inclusive learning values and practices in the delivery of STEM subjects.

The proportion of students with disabilities registered on undergraduate STEM programmes has increased significantly over the past decade, with the largest proportional increases recognised among students with mental health issues, social or communication impairments, and specific learning difficulties (CaSE, 2014; ECU, 2015).

This project addresses how inclusive processes and academic practices become embedded within institutions, to enable equality of opportunity for students with disabilities studying STEM disciplines.

By engaging with successful and complementary institutional developments in fieldwork, labwork and online learning during the design and development phase, the project will develop case studies on STEM-specific pedagogies and institutional processes, presenting evidence of their impact on the success of disabled students. 

This work draws on the partner institutions’ track record of success in developing and delivering interventions to support inclusive STEM education, with developments ranging from entirely hands-on (e.g. Lab+ at the University of Plymouth) to fully technology-mediated (e.g. Open Science Laboratory at the Open University, and Virtual Landscapes at the University of Leeds), thereby offering a unique opportunity to explore the development of inclusive processes and practices across a spectrum of media.

Institutional differences, regarding student recruitment procedures, predominant delivery mode and student demographics, also offer opportunities to explore more broadly the impact of embedded processes, and collaboration will enable the knowledge and practice, which exists independently within each institution, to be consolidated as collective expertise.

The project therefore aims to facilitate:

  • embedded inclusive resources, module and curriculum design practices
  • sustained inclusive module and curriculum delivery practices
  • increased awareness of student diversity and inclusive design approaches among staff and students.

The project anticipates providing recommendations and principles for the higher education sector and associated professional bodies, to inform institutional policy and activities, with the aim of ensuring equality of opportunity for all STEM students.

Catalyst funding 

Total project funding  £912,749
Project contact name  Dr Trevor Collins 
Project contact email 

Project contact telephone  01908 655731

See a complete list of all funded projects


Page last updated 4 July 2017