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Developing flexible ecosystems for education that support student success

Where are we now, what works and where next?

Advance HE Collaborative Development Fund

Advance HE is dedicated to supporting the development of our members based on sector needs, and provides funding to help enable this. Previously, funding had been in the form of our Small Development Projects (SDPs), which were launched in 2004 and more recently, our Good Practice Grants.

For the 2020-21 member benefit year, funding will be available to our global membership base in the form of our Collaborative Development Fund, which aims to harness the knowledge, experience and innovative capabilities of our members in order to address current challenges within the HE sector.

We invited our colleagues at member institutions to apply for the funding of between £20,000 and £35,000 per project, with projects starting in February 2021. 

Queen Mary University of London has been awarded the funding for this project. Further updates on the project and its outputs will be available in due course. 

The Collaborative Development Fund is an Advance HE member benefit and is open to colleagues at Advance HE member institutions. 

Find out more about Advance HE membership
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Developing flexible ecosystems for education that support student success: where are we now, what works and where next?

Prior to the current global pandemic the HE sector had begun to recognise the growing need for agile and responsive education and training systems to regularly upskill and reskill the workforce. Changes to the ways of working and living already being wrought by the fourth industrial revolution and artificial intelligence were driving changes in how and where we will work and continue to learn across our careers, but also upon how higher education would provide those on-going learning opportunities

The pandemic has highlighted that, globally, higher education institutions need to enhance their capacity to operate flexible and resilient education systems to meet student expectations and the accelerating social and economic transformations that society anticipates. To survive and thrive in the future employment landscape and to contribute economically, socially and culturally to society, students and graduates need to be self-motivated, innovative active agents prepared to take responsibility for their own learning and skill development. Globally, the higher education sector needs to ensure it has the strategies and infrastructure in place to develop and support the needs of graduates, society and the economy.

This project invites applications to lead a collaborative project entitled ‘Developing flexible ecosystems for education that supports student success’.

The principal aims of the study are:

  • to review the higher education sector’s capacity for flexible provision
  • to identify exemplars of the requisite infrastructure, strategies and enabling technologies that support equitable transitions through learning and work
  • to identify priority areas to be addressed by Advance HE or providers.
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Additional projects

As part of our Collaborative Development Fund, during the 2020-21 membership year, we are also running two additional projects:

The reshaping of higher education and research institute strategy and culture: pandemic perturbations, evolution or revolution?

The central question for this generative project will be ‘how have the strategies of higher education institutions and research institutes changed as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic?’ The inquiry/research goal will be to review the range of radical changes to institutional strategies (and strategic thinking) brought about so far by the pandemic, and hand-in-hand with this the transformation of organisational cultures.

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The reshaping of Higher Education and Research Institute strategy and culture project

Board Diversity Practice Project

This project aims to collate, understand and share members’ practice to deliver on board diversity via the sharing of practice and lessons learned from members’ attempts to diversify their boards. This will provide an evidence base for members, potential solutions through an easily-accessible bank of case-studies, and identification of priorities for areas still to address.

The Board Diversity Practice Project is running in collaboration with the international executive search firm Perrett Laver, whose involvement has enabled us to widen the scope of the research and maximise its benefit to Advance HE members and the sector.

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Perrett Laver