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UCL ChangeMakers

“…it was one of the best things that I did this year”  UCL ChangeMaker, project lead.

UCL ChangeMakers is about collaboration and innovation to enhance the UCL learning experience. It enables students and staff to work together to make changes for the benefit of everyone in the UCL community. 

  • Students undertaking the projects become more engaged, responsible and pro-active learners – students with a stronger sense of belonging.
  • Departments gain the expertise and enthusiasm of students motivated to help make positive change at UCL. 
  • Both learn from the experience of working with the other in a relationship of trust, equality and mutual gain.

Any member of the UCL learning community (students or staff) can apply for a grant to conduct a UCL ChangeMakers project and additional support is offered through the programme to ASER Intensive departments.

Why get involved?

A UCL ChangeMakers project gives you the opportunity to get student input into an educational enhancement project – resulting in project outcomes that should better meet student needs. Along the way, you enable the students to take responsibility for the student learning experience, develop a range of skills and undergo transformational learning. Staff can also use the work done in their applications for professional recognition with the Higher Education Academy through UCL Arena.

What is a project?

We support educational enhancement projects proposed by either staff or students, so long as they are conducted in partnership with each other. The projects investigate an educational issue and make improvements or to pilot a change and evaluate it.

There is £100-1000 funding available for projects, awarded by a panel of staff and students. This can be used for things like incentives, catering, travel, specialist materials (for example 3D printing costs) or to pay for the expertise of, say, designers or programmers.

All involved will be supported throughout by a central UCL ChangeMaker Team who will help coordinate and guide the project so that it is relevant, effective and, hopefully, enjoyable. Students benefit from training and peer support sessions. Staff receive pedagogical support from staff affiliated with the UCL Arena Centre for Research-based Education.

How do I apply?

  1. Have an idea or decide you want to get involved
  2. Attend a Q&A session to find out more about UCL ChangeMakers and ask any questions you might have. Although these are optional we do encourage you to attend as not only will you get the meet the ChangeMakers team you will also get to discuss your idea with other interested people
  3. Discuss your idea with other students and staff in your department or connected to your idea if you can. Proposals tend to be much stronger when they have been shaped and developed by multiple stakeholders
  4. Attend a proposal writing session if you would like individual, tailored help writing your application. We particularly recommend this if you are not familiar with writing project proposals or research grants
  5. Submit your completed proposal form to: changemakers@ucl.ac.uk by the deadline (proposal forms can be found on the UCL ChangeMakers Moodle)
  6. Find out whether your proposal has been successful and how much funding you have been awarded (towards the end of July for June submissions and towards the end of November for November submissions)
  7. Recruit any additional members to your team
  8. Carry out your project
  9. Share what you have done
  10. Celebrate!


Feedback from staff and students on last year’s projects:

"ChangeMakers was indeed a changing experience for me. It made the academic year much richer, improved my understanding and provided key insights I otherwise would not have gained." (2015/16 UCL ChangeMaker)

“It was helpful to have the ideas presented from student insight, particularly backed up by information from surveys and focus group.” (2015/16 Staff partner)

“Overall, we felt the scheme was an excellent idea and would like to see it continued.”  (2015/16 Staff partner)

"UCL ChangeMakers is a great initiative and an excellent tool to facilitate research-based learning across the university. From a student perspective it can be totally transformative, as being involved in designing and running a project - especially at undergraduate level - is an experience they will never forget. But equally from a staff perspective, having to think beyond the traditional divide and working with students as truly equal partners can bring vital insights for individuals that may well lead to lasting culture change across the institution." (2015/16 Staff partner)


Support for ASER Intensive departments

We support ASER Intensive departments by offering them a UCL ChangeMakers ASER facilitator.The ASER facilitator will facilitate interactions between staff and students within a department in order for them to collectively develop the departmental ASER action plan and to agree a UCL ChangeMakers project on assessment and feedback. The means by which this is achieved is flexible, depending on the departmental needs. However, we expect it to involve some data collection, some facilitation of discussions about what implications this has for the plan and of checking how implementation is progressing.

We also guarantee project funding of £300 plus student stipends for a UCL ChangeMakers project on assessment and feedback.

They made some good suggestions on how we could improve. Their conclusion regarding the need for better student- staff engagement was especially insightful and we have plans in place to address some of the points raised in the coming academic year.” (2015/16 Staff partner)