The Principal’s Teaching Award Scheme

iStock-523157354 [from2015]What is PTAS?

The Principal’s Teaching Award Scheme (PTAS) provides funding to support learning and teaching enhancement in our University. Every year, groups of staff and students who are interested in learning and teaching are welcome to apply for funding for either a pedagogical research project, or a learning and teaching innovation project.

Grants may be “small” (up to £1,500) or “regular” (up to £15,000).  This successful scheme has been running since 2007 with annual funding of £100,000-£150,000 and has involved over 350 members of staff and increasing numbers of students within project teams from around the University. In addition, this year we will again be awarding £25,000 additional funding provided by Information Services for projects related to the University’s introduction of lecture recording.

The aims of PTAS are to:

  • encourage colleagues to explore new practice in teaching and thereby enhance student learning
  • disseminate good and innovative practice across the University and more widely
  • promote and recognise excellence in teaching
  • raise the status of teaching in the University
  • enhance the quality of the student learning environment through pedagogical inquiry and capacity building

How does PTAS help teachers?

During the academic year 2016-2017, the Institute for Academic Development conducted interviews with 12 participants in the Principal’s Teaching Award Scheme as part of a small research project into the outcomes of the scheme.  All Colleges and some members of the Support Services were amongst the respondents.  The majority of respondents thought that their involvement in a PTAS project had changed their thinking about teaching or assessment as well as their actual practice ‘a lot’ or ‘quite a bit’.  One participant said:

“..the mandate PTAS gives for taking teaching seriously, and for making time for teams of colleagues to work together on shared areas of interest and innovation is absolutely brilliant, not only for individual careers but for the health and vibrancy of teams.”

Sharing and spreading good ideas

PTAS project teams are encouraged to disseminate their work widely, both within the University of Edinburgh and beyond.  The modes of dissemination are very broad, from the more traditional journals and academic conferences to blogs, videos and public events.

Some examples of successful project proposals in Academic Year 2016-2017

Interested in applying?

The Institute for Academic Development offers support for those submitting for PTAS awards and ongoing project advice. Contact the convenor Dr Daphne Loads

We gratefully acknowledge that annual funding for the Principal’s Teaching Award Scheme is provided by the University of Edinburgh Development Trust. We are also grateful for the additional funding for projects provided by IS.

Next steps:

Find out more about PTAS and how to apply on the IAD website

Attend a workshop for prospective applicants that provides advice both on how to bid to the Principal’s Teaching Award Scheme (PTAS), and on bidding for other kinds of funding for small education projects which focus on higher education.

02nd Oct 2017 (12:00-14:00) King’s Buildings – book now

06th Oct 2017 (10:00-12:00) Holyrood Campus, Central – book now

Browse more current and previous funded PTAS projects, searchable by school or theme.

Emily Salvesen

Emily Salvesen is the CPD Programme Manager in the Institute for Academic Development.

Daphne Loads

Daphne Loads works in the Institute for Academic Development and is academic lead of the Edinburgh Teaching Award and convenes the Principal’s Teaching Award Scheme.

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