Student Partnership Agreement and Funding Scheme

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In this extra post, Catherine Bovill introduces the new 2021-22 Student Partnership Agreement and Funding Scheme and its three key areas of focus. Dr Bovill is a Senior Lecturer in Student Engagement at the Institute for Academic Development.

The University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh University Students’ Association have enjoyed a long and productive partnership. We were already working in partnership before the emergence of the idea of Student Partnership Agreements in 2011. In many ways the University was ahead of most Scottish HEIs in developing a joint Students’ Association and University of Edinburgh Student Engagement Statement in 2013. This statement set out an explicit commitment to working in partnership with students and outlined the many ways in which students could engage with the University. In the years since, the Student Partnership Agreement has built on the strength of that established partnership, and involves annual consultation with staff and students to agree a set of priority themes on which collaborate.

The 2021-22 Student Partnership Agreement prioritises the following three themes:


Supporting staff and students to develop, enhance, and support resilient learning communities that promote a sense of wellbeing and belonging.

 Equality, diversity and inclusion

Ensuring that we work in partnership to promote a University community where all are welcome, respected and nurtured. Making intentional efforts to meet the needs of our diverse community of students and staff, recognising intersectionality, and that we may need to change the way we practice to ensure some individuals and groups, who traditionally have been underserved, feel welcome and wish to engage.

 Transforming learning and teaching

Engaging in curriculum enhancement through student-staff co-creation. Recognising the power of learning, teaching, and assessment to transform the student experience. Supporting work on decolonisation of the curriculum and university-wide curriculum transformation.

Alongside the Student Partnership Agreement, there is an associated Student Partnership Agreement Funding Scheme, which offers funding of up to £500 for student-staff collaborative projects. The funding scheme is currently open with an application deadline of Thursday 13th January 2022 at 5pm. Projects can either run from February to July 2022 or from February to December 2022. Projects must involve collaboration between staff and students in both the application and the carrying out of the projects. We are particularly keen to receive applications connected to the themes of the 2021-22 Student Partnership Agreement, but other applications that aim to make a positive impact on the student experience will also be considered. More information and guidance can be found on the Student Partnership Agreement Small Project Funding web page.

Previous Student Partnership Agreement funded projects have come from across the University and have focused on themes including building community, mental health, and student voice. Examples of past funded projects include:

Coding club: building confidence using peer-to-peer teaching

The Mary Shepherd Philosophy Conference

Student-staff partnership: Gakuen-sai (Campus Festival)

Making of a better you: a student/staff collaboration

Politics and International Relations undergraduate dissertation retreat

Encouraging SolidariTEA amongst PhD students

If you have an idea for a project focused on the Student Partnership Agreement 2021-22 themes and is likely to have a positive impact on the student experience – why not consider applying for funding? We really look forward to receiving your applications and reading about your ideas.

Catherine Bovill

Dr Catherine Bovill is Senior Lecturer in Student Engagement at the Institute for Academic Development (IAD), University of Edinburgh, Visiting Fellow at the University of Bergen, Norway and Visiting Fellow at the University of Winchester, UK and previously a Fulbright Scholar. She is Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and Fellow of the Staff and Educational Development Association. Cathy leads the IAD programme and course design team, leads the UoE Student Partnership Agreement and funding scheme, is Convenor of the UoE Principal’s Teaching Award Scheme and is co-chair of the Curriculum Transformation Programme Student Engagement Strategy Group. Her research focuses on student-staff co-created curriculum – she has published over 50 articles and books in this area and is regularly invited to present her work internationally.

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