Borders College

Ideas & Innovation Fund for Borders College Staff Be Innovative at Borders College

What is it and can I apply?

We want to encourage Borders College staff to come up with and take forward great ideas and innovations that have a positive impact on our students.

The Ideas & Innovation Fund is one way we support College staff with resources to identify, develop and implement improvements that will benefit students, directly or indirectly.

We are pleased to invite applications for grants for new projects. We are happy to support innovative pilot work that will later qualify for support from elsewhere, but we are also happy to support one-off projects that can demonstrate a lasting impact. Ideally, projects will be widely accessible, but we will consider projects that focus on one group.

How much grant will be awarded?

Grants will generally be for up to £500 initially to scope out or research an idea or innovation, with the possibility of up to a further £2500 to launch it. 

Who should I contact for more information?

You can find all of the information you should need below, but if you have any questions at all, please contact ideas&

How do I apply?

We welcome applications from staff in all areas of Borders College, for new projects that will provide opportunities for our students and enhance their experience.

Over time, we will share information below about what projects we have funded and some of the success stories.  We hope that these will encourage you to put forward your ideas and innovations.

What is the essential information I need?

In order to apply, you will need to:

  • Read the application guidelines and terms and conditions of funding
  • Demonstrate that you have support from your line manager
  • Talk to us! Once we have had the conversation, use the available information to:

Before you start you must:

  • Discuss your idea or innovation with key colleagues
  • Understand what is being looked for in an application
  • Think about what it is you are trying to achieve
  • Plan application writing, to meet deadlines
  • Consider what support you might need to progress

Is there a deadline for application?

We aim to have three windows for application, however we will review this dependent upon the uptake of the fund.

The deadline for applications for applications is:

  • 20 November 2019
  • 26 February 2020
    To be confirmed

We will notify applicants of the outcome.

What are the Application Guidelines?

Submission of an application does not guarantee an award of grant.  Awards made may be lower than the grant application.

Types of projects considered

Grants from the Innovation Fund provide opportunities for staff to, for example:

  • Grow initial research ideas
  • Pilot their projects

This could be through different types of projects, for example:

  • Research Project: project follows a process of original enquiry and leads to new insights, which should be shared effectively amongst the interested community to change approaches in College delivery
  • Curriculum Initiative: project supports the development of a new module or new materials and approaches to delivering existing modules within the programmes
  • Lightbulb Project: project supports artistic, academic, educational or enterprise development
  • Adopt Technologies: project supports streamlining a process or a business improvement

There is an expectation that ideas or innovations implemented will be sustainable after the grant funding ceases.

Evaluation of project

The Awarding Panel consists of one representative each from Borders College Students’ Association, the Finance team, the ISLT team, and a range of additional staff volunteers from across the College. It is chaired by the Director of Business Improvement & Performance.

We assess applications on how well they meet the evaluation criteria.  The evaluation criteria, which may change over time, include for example:

  • Initially
    • Is there a clearly developed idea?
    • Are expected outcomes clearly articulated and realistic?
    • Does the application set out effectively what would make their idea happen?
    • Is there a clear rationale for the project that supports the College’s strategic objectives, or our vision, values or behaviours?
  • For follow-up applications
    • How well does the application demonstrate that the project falls within this year’s theme (if applicable)?
    • Is there a clear benefit to the College and likely demonstrable impact for students?
    • Is there a realistic budget and project plan?
    • Does the project stand alone, or are feasible arrangements planned to ensure continued sustainability beyond the project?
    • What support is likely to be necessary for the success of the project?
    • How will the project help to develop the applicant(s)?
    • Does the project offer value for money?

The decision of the Awarding Panel is final.  There is no appeal.

What are the Terms and Conditions of funding?

Successful applicants will be required to:

  • Before they start, have read this guide, have spoken to managers and have clear objectives
  • Attend an initial meeting(s) with the Panel to discuss their application in more detail or provide additional information
  • Meet stewardship and reporting requirements that will help the College demonstrate transparent and ethical use of funds
    • Funding will be drawn down from Finance in stages and will be subject to approval
    • If the project does not progress or makes insufficient progress, funding will be frozen
    • Complete the initiative within six months unless otherwise agreed with the Panel, in which case report three-monthly
  • Produce a short report on use of the grant (Impact Report) to update the Senior Leadership Team, colleagues and the student body. This report will include:
    • Information on how the money was used
    • How the grant has benefitted the students
    • Quotes from students who have benefitted
    • Any additional benefits
  • Write a short promotional piece (approx. 100 words)
  • Take part in occasional activities and events, making themselves available to share with colleagues and in any surrounding publicity

Information about the grant will be included in any publicity related to the project.

What Past Projects have there been?

Over time, we will share information about what projects we have funded and some of the success stories.  We hope that these will encourage you to put forward your ideas and innovations.