Teaching & Learning


New Student Success Fund to enable UCL underrepresented UK undergraduates

6 July 2023

UCL staff can bid for up to £10,000 to fund intervention projects. Deadline to apply: Friday 25 August

Student Success Fund

UCL is launching a new Student Success Fund to enable the academic success, retention, and continuation of underrepresented UK domiciled undergraduate students. This support would be aimed at: the Access UCL cohort; mature students; disabled students; care experienced students; and estranged students.

The Student Success Fund will provide support for intervention projects at three stages: 

Seed (up to £1000): 

You have an idea which could improve the experiences of our student groups and can see the need for this intervention at an institutional level. Funding can be used for mapping and discovery e.g. student focus groups, support with data analysis, etc.

Sprout (up to £5000):

You have started to make a difference, have evidence of initial success, and need funding to pilot this as a structured, scalable project. Funding can be used to buy out staff-time, cover capital costs such as equipment, etc.

Grow (up to £10,000):

You have been working on an intervention project for a sustained period of time and would like to scale it, perhaps in a different department or faculty. Funding can be used to buy out staff time, cover capital costs, or to hire external experts. Scale projects must show how interventions can be embedded in the department or faculty once funding ends. 

What should projects focus on?  

Staff can bid for funding which can be used to buy out staff-time (a maximum of 50% of the overall costs, which will be assessed on an individual basis) or fund student internships to implement interventions. Funding can also be put towards capital costs (i.e. equipment) or use of external experts (i.e. to deliver training), where these approaches can be shown to be scalable and student-centred.

Funded projects will focus on applied interventions that are student centred with measurable outcomes focused on the following aims: 

  • Create learning environments that acknowledge, validate, and celebrate our diverse student body 
  • Create inclusive culture, policies, and operations 
  • Establish an equitable approach to student support and co-curricular provision 
  • Encourage varied forms of success that value our students’ strengths 

Embedding change to benefit future students  

Projects should be evidence-based, scalable, and seek to embed material change for the benefit of future students. As well as academic success, retention and continuation, projects should focus on culture change that will increase feelings of belonging for, and amplify voices of, underrepresented students at UCL.

Who should projects aim to support?  

Projects and interventions must be aimed at increasing equity for the following UK-domiciled undergraduate student groups: 

What can funding be spent on?  

Please note that if you have already received funds from the Student Success Fund, you are still eligible to apply for further funds. For example, if you received funds for a seed project, you could apply for further funds to develop your project into a sprout or grow.

If you have already received funding from the Student Success Fund, this does not affect what you have already received, and you do not need to apply again for any funds due to be received in August in agreement with the Student Success Office.

How to apply 

The deadline for applications will be Friday 25 August 2023.   

Applications for funding will be assessed against the following criteria: 

  1. Measurable outcomes focused on the academic success, retention, and continuation of students from underrepresented groups identified above (UK undergraduate students) e.g. student marks, retention, progression, and continuation rates. 
  2. Clear rationale behind the project, using research or evidence to support the project and its approach.  
  3. Intervention focussed: Projects (especially at Sprout and Grow stage) should focus on intervention and evaluation of interventions, rather than research. 
  4. Potential for scalability beyond funding from the programme.  
  5. Student-centred: consults with students and seeks to embed material change for the benefit of students.  
  6. Forward UCL’s commitments e.g., UCL Strategic Plan 2022-2027, the strategic aims of UCL 2034, and UCL’s Access and Participation Plan 2020/21-2024/25 
  7. Align with the themes in the Inclusive Curriculum Health Check: inclusive curriculum, belonging, creating safe spaces, inclusive teaching, and learning and assessment.  
  8. Impact: potential to make a significant impact on large cohorts and effect long-term change.  

Funding cannot be used to create new staff posts and no more than 10% of funding can be allocated to research costs (for Sprout and Grow projects).

Successful projects will need to provide a Project Update Report at six monthly intervals. Projects that are six months or under will only be required to submit an End Project Report.

Download application form

Download application guidance [Word]


    Successful projects can expect to receive access to the following support and networks: 

    • Meetings to discuss project progress  
    • Q&A sessions 
    • Support to collect relevant programme and/or module(s) data 
    • An invitation to join an online platform to share ideas, experiences and best practice with colleagues working on projects across the institution 

    About the Student Success Office 

    Established in March 2022, the team leads on the development and implementation of UCL’s strategies to support academic success and close awarding and retention gaps across UCL.  The team works in conjunction with UCL Arena, the Academic Communications Centre, VP (Education and Student Experience) Office, Student Support and Wellbeing (SSW), and faculties and departments, to develop and deliver interventions to address disparities in outcomes.  

    The Student Success Office takes an institution-wide approach to delivering initiatives and resources for staff and students which lead to culture change. We have a strong focus on evaluation and research and take an evidence-led approach to on-course success for student groups where there are unexplained gaps.