skip to content

Cambridge Centre for Teaching and Learning


We don't necessarily expect completely new, experimental or out-of-the-box project ideas. While it's great if you have a proposal for something no-one else has ever thought of, you might also consider a project idea that is innovative for your particular teaching and learning context. It's also worth noting that you might choose to use a familiar digital platform or tool for a new and innovative purpose, or you might not use any digital tool at all. Basically, we are looking for fresh project ideas to enhance the Cambridge educational experience, but understand that this might look different in different contexts. You will need to be clear in the application how or why the idea is innovative and in what context.

Previous project titles are listed on the Previous Projects page.

The TLIF has been running for eight years and is firmly focused on projects that enhance teaching and learning practices at Cambridge. Traditionally these have involved some kind of technological tool or platform, but not necessarily, and technology is not a prerequisite. Successful applicants will be awarded a specific sum up to £20,000 to fund their projects, and some networking and evaluation support from the CCTL. Projects will take place throughout the 2019-20 academic year, reporting on outcomes in September 2020.

The TELP, or Technology-Enabled Learning Pilot, is a new pilot programme launched in January 2019, designed to help the University understand the capability needed to digitally enhance its educational provision. It seeks to support individual local projects to develop new digital content in teaching programmes, and to explore the potential for making that content available to new learner groups. Successful applicants won't be allocated a specific sum but will be provided with support from educational technologists and the Cambridge University Press digital development team, in order to develop a suite of resources for each project. The timeframes are much shorter, as the TELP team are keen to have outcomes by the end of 2019. They are also keen to have a wide range of projects, representing the full spectrum of student experience from transition into and through University, at all award levels, and into employability. You can find more information about TELP, and an application form, on the TELP information page,and are invited to submit ideas or proposals for a project via the TELP application form by 25 March 2019.

You may only apply for one of the two funds. However, there will be some discussion between the selection committees, so your project might be directed to the other fund if that's considered more suitable.

It would be helpful to the selection committee to get a sense of how your project proposal responds to an area that has been identified as needing attention - this might be at a local, institutional, disciplinary or national context. For instance, your Department or Faculty may have recently identified some topics related to education that need some attention - check your department committee minutes for any relevant direction.

The University's Learning and Teaching Strategy (2015-2018) is the most current strategy document for education at the University. The new Education Strategy (2019 - 2023) will replace the Learning and Teaching Strategy, but is still in the approval process, and unlikely to be published before the TLIF deadline of 25th March. You might also consult the Vice Chancellor's annual address, which identified some broad priority areas that have been integrated into the Education Strategy. You may also want to consult the current Digital Strategy for Education (2016-2020), and the Examination Review Report from Michaelmas 2017.

More broadly, you might consider topics that are addressed by the national Teaching Excellence Framework, which draws on the UK Quality Code for Higher Education; you might cite from the accompanying QAA guides on topics such as assessment, teaching and learning, enabling student achievement or student engagement. Do remember that these national directives are very broad and, if you choose to cite them, you should take care to make a persuasive link to your own local project in the Cambridge Education context.

Previously, project teams have found it hard to gather feedback from students at the end of the project, as they may have left the University or be otherwise occuped with their final assessment tasks. This year we are strongly encouraging ongoing evaluation and reflection across the course of your project, so would advise planning for regular evaluation. This might take the form of student feedback about the project aims early in the project's development, peer evalutaion by colleages, or some other evaluation method that suits your particular project.

It is generally good practice to work with a team. The benefits include having colleages to share the workload, to brainstorm with, and to help write up findings. It also means that the whole project won't necessarily collapse if one team member is unable to continue with it for any reason! This year we are encouraging teams, and would also welcome postdocs and student partners in the project teams. Just keep in mind that the project leader should be someone who has a contract with the University that covers at least the lifetime of the project.

Originally, we did not plan to fund teaching relief, as this seemed contrary to the Fund's key purpose of supporting and enhancing teacing practices. However, we do recognise that teaching schedules can be very intensive and that teaching workloads can prevent the development of innovative projects that would actually enhance teaching and learning practices. So this year we will consider funding teaching relief as long as a strong rationale for this is clearly spelled out in the project application.

Yes, it's okay if you can't name the specific person who might be funded to help with the project development, but do include details about the role: the expertise that the role-holder will bring, and the level at which they might be hired and paid. We don't require on-costing (e.g. NI contributions) or completion of an X5 as part of your application, but bear in mind that if you do not include these costs in your bid they may end up being shouldered by the Department.

It's great if you plan to include students in your project team, or as part of the project development, and we do appreciate that you can't plan too far ahead for specific cohorts. Just make sure that you describe the student type and the rationale for their inclusion. You might issue invitations in advance but allow for some leeway in take-up closer to the project commencement. Remember that although award winners will be announced in May 2019, the funding won't be formally transferred to the project team's accounts until after this point, so late June is probably an appropriate starting point.

You can reach out to UIS for advice about the technological requirements: you may call them directly with a brief technical question, or email Mark Chaney or Andy Kent about more complex issues. It is particularly important to ensure you have asked for advice about any planned integration with University systems (such as installation of a Moodle plugin), because there may be additional issues to consider that could impact your project implementation.

Teaching & Learning Newsletter

Stay informed of upcoming events and hear about innovative practices across the university by subscribing to our newsletter.

Check out the latest issue.