Projects supported

The best students and staff have brilliant ideas. Our alumni have helped make them a reality. 

For more information on projects previously funded by alumni from the University of Birmingham, please see the links below. You can also see updates on many of the projects supported last year here: Project Testimonials 2012

Influencing Innovation projects supported in 2013

This year, more than 40 projects were funded by the money generously donated to the Innovation and Immediate Impact fund of our Circles of Influence campaign. Thanks to everyone who donated, the following projects will have an immediate impact on our current students. 

Politics, Society and Economics

Study trip to Brussels

An opportunity for 2nd year students to engage with the EU and will include visits to several European institutions as well as meetings with members of the European Parliament

College of Social Sciences

Improved study space for postgraduate students

Greater flexibility of research space to encourage collaborative working and networking


An intelligent robot for autistic children

Funding for two student interns to develop a suite of intelligent behaviours for our Aldebaran Nao robot suitable for use with children with autism


Postgraduate trip to the London Stock Exchange

A series of visits for up to 300 postgraduate students to the London Stock Exchange, Bank of England museum and the London Money Exchange. The visits will also include meetings with alumni to develop networks and gain valuable experience


European Trade Study Group 2013 - University of Birmingham conference

Supporting student involvement in the largest conference of trade economists in the world, including running part of the event and valuable networking opportunities


Open lecture series and half-day University of Birmingham tasters

A series of high-profile lectures to be attended by students, alumni and local schools

Medical Sciences

Enhancing feedback for Medical students in professional skills using video

Recording presentations and professional skills role-plays to inform feedback sessions for students

Birmingham Academic Medicine Society

National Conference in Research Communication

A student organised event for medical, dental, nursing and medical sciences students, as well as foundation year doctors in the UK, to focus on the topic of clearly communicating research to the general public, peers and patients

Clinical and Experimental Medicine

The Virtual Clinic (ViC)

A pilot project to increase the direct clinical relevance of, and enhance integration between, the modules of Decision Making, Brain and Behaviour, Reproduction and Cancer.


Clinical Photography Data Protection

A project to enable students to access and use clinical photographs of work they have completed on their patients in final assessment presentations and documentation 

Clinical and Experimental Medicine

Dementia Summer School

In partnership with the College of Medicine, this event will bring together health practitioners and internationally-respected academics from across the UK to discuss the future of medicine and expose young career professionals to multidisciplinary ways of thinking and working

Health and Population Sciences

A new multi-faith prayer room based in the Medical School

This space will be larger and more comfortable, increasing the use of the space and ensuring our students have access to the best facilities whilst staying within the Medical School

Clinical and Experimental Medicine

3D printing for customised teaching resources in Anatomy and Pharmacology

A cost effective way of producing 3D anatomical models for teaching


Purchase of inverted light microscopes and cameras

Enabling more effective teaching of microscopy and cell biology for first, second and third year undergraduate Biomedical Materials Sciences students

Resuscitation for Medical Disciplines (RMD)

SkillReporter Manikins

Purchasing Skill Reporter Manikins for the student run committee, which provide real-time feedback for cardiopulmonary resuscitation performance

Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences 

Hands on teaching: Developing an outdoor laboratory to facilitate fieldwork on campus

A unique outdoor laboratory on campus to provide much-needed focus for hands-on student learning and project work

SportEx Development of a study cafe for the new school of Sport and Exercise Sciences building
Marketing and Communications

Big Science at Birmingham: Solving tomorrow's problems today

The project will involve filming 8 – 10 leading scientists to demonstrate their latest work and also the wider scientific and societal impact of their research on students and the local community

Counselling Services

Book Prescription' Service for students

In conjunction with individual counselling and attendance at our groups and workshops, we will be able to ‘prescribe’ appropriate reading for students to help them better understand and deal with emotional and psychological problems

Cultural Engagement Team


Enhancing the cultural life of staff and students on campus through the use of 'after-hours' large scale open-air projections onto buildings and screenings through the purchase of a specialist projector

Guild of Students

Student Group Meeting Room redevelopment

Updating of two student group meeting rooms to provide enhanced IT infrastructure and flexible meeting space

Winterbourne House and Gardens

Student Grow Club

A student based project providing allocated growing plots of land for the production of fruit and vegetables, together with workshop days from Winterbourne’s horticultural team

Raymond Priestly Centre

Team Building High-Ropes Course

Construction of a high-ropes tree course at the Raymond Priestly Centre in Coniston, Lake District, to facilitate enhanced team building workshops for students and staff

Civil Engineering  

Rockin' All Over The World

Purchasing a 'shaking building' model to inspire prospective students to study Civil Engineering and to enhance teaching for 4th year students 

Physics and Astronomy

Large Hadron Collider (LHC) tunnel display model

The project aims at illustrating the LHC tunnel via a table-sized display model, which will be used extensively in Open Days, Masterclasses, PhD Open Days and general events open to prospective undergraduate and post-graduate candidates.

Electronic, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Pathways to Careers in Electronic, Electrical and Computer Engineering

To provide evidence-based career pathways for undergraduate students, enabling greater employability opportunities and support for decision making during job seeking and application, and for prospective students to stimulate recruitment

Chemical Engineering

The design and build of pumping systems club

Creating a club that enables access to industry relevant equipment for students, providing real experience when working with machinery and enhancing employability 

Computer Science

A Drink Serving Robot for the 2014 British Science Festival Launch Event

An internship for a current student to develop the innovative use of robotic technology to showcase the University's world-leading research at an international level

Computer Science

Engaging Girls in Computer Science Education: a new smartphone-based outreach workshop

Developing an app that engages non-traditional applicants using innovative Computer Science techniques, including treasure hunts, interactive stories and virus simulations

Chemical Engineering

Puzzle Based Learning at the University of Birmingham

Using puzzles to enhance first year teaching in mathematics in Chemical Engineering


G20 Youth Forum 2013

Supporting the attendance of a student to this high-profile event

History and Cultures

Religion, War and Society Week

Events, lectures and discussions for students, staff and alumni to coincide with a visit from two influential US clergymen, namely Rev. Dr. Barry Black and Rev. Dr. Joseph Evans

Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music

The Linguist Magazine

Increasing circulation of a popular campus based magazine, which enables students to write and read articles in foreign languages


Acquisition of the OMGUS files (files of the US Military Government in Germany 1944-45)

The completed files will enhance Birmingham's reputation as a leading research University, and provide our students and others from across the UK with access to this unique resource

Drama and Theatre Arts

Playwriting Connections

Three innovative opportunities for MRes Playwriting students to showcase their work to agents, engage alumni with current students and enhancing networking opportunities for students 


English Literature Summer Residential Study Trip

A three-day residential study trip to Stratford-upon-Avon for second year students. The rich programme will include theatre trips, lectures, seminars and workshops at the University's Shakespeare Institute and the RSC

Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music

We Are Modern Languages at Birmingham

A film using current students, alumni and academics to promote Modern Languages at the University of Birmingham 


Birmingham Free Legal Advice Group

The design and implementation of an online case management system to facilitate increased engagement with the local community and Birmingham's Free Legal Advice Group

College of Arts and Law

Book to the Future - University of Birmingham Literary Festival

A student-supported literary festival held in the Autumn. The week-long event will feature our academic, student and local talent as well as well-known alumni authors, poets, playwrights, journalists and scriptwriters.

Projects Supported 2013

Influencing Innovation projects supported in 2012

Projects supported by college/corporate services
University of Birmingham Sport Coach Education and 'Sportivate' programme - the up-skilling of community and student coaches to deliver our University Sports clubs and Try Sport sessions in partnership with the Sport England Sportivate programme
The Guild of Students Student Group Performance Space Development - a redevelopment of the 'basement' area of the Guild of Students to encompass a bespoke performance and rehearsal space and a bespoke student group meeting room
Student Services Improvements to the Welcome and Retention activities - a project to ease the change from school to university life, and to encourage all students to become fully integrated into student life during their first year, and throughout their degree. This includes the development of a new Welcome Website, a welcome poster campaign and student 'first impression' blogs and diaries
The Raymond Priestly Centre The provision of follow up materials for students and staff completing team skills development at the Raymond Priestly Centre - this project enhances the experiences at the centre by embedding skills learnt within the daily practise of students and staff
Student Support and the Chaplaincy Arts: Celebrating Religion and Faith on Campus - a project to depict what faith means through art at the University of Birmingham in the 21st century
Student Services Improving student finances through the use of innovative demonstration tools, such as a 3D kitchen and interactive examples
Biosciences Biosciences Tower Teaching Laboratories Audiovisual equipment installation - improving the interactivity of teaching in the College of Life and Environmental Sciences 
SportEx Development of a Human Motor Control Laboratory - a state of the art piece of equipment has been donated to the University of Birmingham, which will have a significant impact on the research we are conducting into motor control, and will greatly enhance the education facilities for students within the SportEx department
Psychology Enhancing student employability through the development of School of Psychology career videos and podcasts
Mechanical Engineering  Technology Updates for UBRacing, the Formula Student Team for the University of Birmingham
Metallurgy and Materials The Application of Rapid Prototyping in Education, Research and Cultural heritage conservation (ARPERC) - a 3D printer to aid and enhance the education provision for Metallurgy and Materials students
Chemistry Audio-Visual Facilities for the Practical Chemistry Laboratories to enhance the student experience
Electronic, Electrical and Computer Engineering "The 1st IMechE Railway Challenge" - supporting the Team from the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education building a fuel cell hybrid locomotive
Electrical Engineering "Luminare" - A multi-touch surface designed by and for Computer Systems Engineering and School of Computer Science students
Birmingham Business School  Developing postgraduate students' employability skills using online, interactive learning case-studies and resources personalised for their needs 
College of Social Sciences A suite of 'Fast-Access' computers for high-use areas
Education Updating the highly-used Education Room 225
POLSIS (Political Science) Delegation to the University of Delhi by University of Birmingham Student Chapter of Academic Stand Against Poverty 
College of Medical and Dental Sciences Poster campaign to celebrate the success of alumni in the Medical School
Cancer Sciences External visit and lecture series on the intercalated B.Med.Sci (Clinical Sciences) module
Dentistry The installation of accessible computers for students and staff in the waiting area of the Alexander McGregor lecture theatre in the School of Dentistry
College of Medical and Dental Sciences Improvements to the Student Services Centre, which provides an essential private space for students seeking welfare advice 
College of Medical and Dental Sciences Online Research Teaching e-Library (PORTEL): Facilitating self-directed learning while conducting research away from the University setting
Immunity and Infection Healthy Ageing summer school: Enjoyment versus endurance - an opportunity for world-leading researchers to join University of Birmingham researchers and students on an increasingly important aspect of medicine
Dentistry "Seeing the Light"; using an advanced dedicated spectroradiometry system (MARC) to enhance the training, assessment and effectiveness of dental clinicians
Dentistry and Clinical and Experimental Medicine Enhancement of E-Learning: Histology Teaching using Virtual Microscopy
College of Medical and Dental Sciences Improving the "Birmingham Experience" of MDS International PGT Students by introducing College "Belonging" events
College of Arts and Law Creation of Social Learning Area in the Law Building
English Engaging Shakespeare: Video capture and streaming equipment for the Shakespeare Institute Hall
College of Arts and Law College of Arts and Law Student Essay Competition
College of Arts and Law College of Arts and Law Bank of Assessed Work
English "Shakespeare Today and the Student Experience" - making the unique resources at the Shakespeare Institute available to undergraduate Shakespeareans
Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity "World Heritage 40: Symposium on the Future of World Heritage Sites" - to deliver a one day, high profile symposium at Ironbridge to raise awareness of the ongoing debates surrounding the future of World Heritage
History and Cultures To support the acquisition of the files of the American Military Government in Germany (OMGUS files) 1945 - 49
College of Life and Environmental Sciences and the College of Medical and Dental Sciences  "The Big Idea 2012" - a business ideas competition and event to encourage research active students and staff to learn more about gaining 'impact' from their research by engaging industry partners to successfully exploit new ideas

Influencing Innovation projects supported in 2011 


Projects Supported 2011

Please check back here regularly for further updates.

Corporate Services iPhone Application development to incorporate Blue Plaque Trail, Philanthropy Tour and Open Day information
Corporate Services 'Cafe Scientifique' - a series of workshops and meetings in the local community to promote University of Birmingham research and encourage public engagement with science
University of Birmingham Sport 'Putting Theory into Practise' - using innovative software to analyse the performance of UBSport teams and enhance coaching techniques
Guild of Students Messaging and Communication project to improve student engagement with the Guild of Students
Barber Institute of Fine Art Development programme for student volunteers - training day-to-day museum volunteers with additional vocational training in museum and visitor services
College of Engineering and Physical Sciences Enhancing student engagement and fostering deeper learning in undergraduate lectures through the use of 'Turning Point' technology
College of Engineering and Physical Sciences Student Experience Projects - recurring calendar of social and academic events and activities
College of Engineering and Physical Sciences Nao Robot for the Birmingham Autonomous Robotics Club (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIuRc1r_N34)
College of Engineering and Physical Sciences The Silken Tent - Supporting UBRacing - The University of Birmingham's Formula Student Racing Team
College of Arts and Law The Online Africa Hub at the University of Birmingham
College of Arts and Law BEASTtools v2.0 - a multi-channel playground for the development of sound materials in Music
College of Arts and Law Environment and Experience: Engaging with the history of the University of Birmingham
College of Arts and Law International Moot Law Court Competition 'Alumni Cup'
College of Arts and Law Purchase of a grand piano for use in the Elgar Suite of Practice Rooms
College of Arts and Law EDACS Student Away Days - broadening student horizons in innovative and engaging workshops with fellow students and academics
College of Arts and Law "Charitable Giving: A summer school on the business of running a charity"
College of Social Sciences Training a future generation of area experts in CREES: building on language and country experience
College of Social Sciences Undergraduate Internship Programme - improving employability by providing bursaries for work placements and internships. To see the impact that the scheme has had please see the report.
College of Social Sciences Birmingham Conflict and Security Studies Lecture Series
College of Social Sciences Enterprise Summer School for Schools of Education, Social Policy and Government and Society
College of Social Sciences Linking Life-Worlds and Classrooms for Language Teaching and Learning: Student Led Forum for Language Education Students, Practitioners, Researchers and Birmingham Alumni
College of Social Sciences Internationalising Masters Education through U21: Travel Scholarships for Widening Participation
College of Social Sciences Alumni-Student 'application and job choice' mentoring scheme
College of Medical and Dental Sciences Alumni lecture programme and panel discussion for the BMedSci students
College of Medical and Dental Sciences The production of brief , accessible and portable videos of individual clinical skills procedures for training and teaching purposes
College of Medical and Dental Sciences Promoting welfare services for College of Medical and Dental Sciences students through innovative communication campaigns
College of Medical and Dental Sciences "The Birmingham Pharmacological Challenge" - a competition to encourage integrated thinking between clinical and pre-clinical pharmachology
College of Medical and Dental Sciences Improving facilities for the students on courses within the Medical School, including the Arthur Thompson Hall, equipment used by the 'Emergency Medicine Society' and kit for the sports teams
College of Medical and Dental Sciences Improving accessibility on the 'Health Research Bus' to encourage community engagement http://www.crf.bham.ac.uk/facilities/mobile.shtml
College of Medical and Dental Sciences Upgrading Tissue Culture facilities for under and post-graduate teaching
College of Life and Environmental Sciences Speed BSc: The development of an innovative enquiry based induction programme for undergraduates in SportEx
College of Life and Environmental Sciences Thermocron iButtons: towards thermal imaging lab in GEES
College of Life and Environmental Sciences Hands-on Environmental Science: Enabling teaching and student research with air quality monitors in GEES
College of Life and Environmental Sciences Large screen workstations to enhance student learning and engagment in a multi use social space in Biosciences



Influencing Innovation projects supported
in 2010


College of Arts and Law Refurbishment of 1st, 2nd and 3rd floor landings within the Arts Building to improve social and circulation space and create student project working areas
History To support the acquisition of the files of the American Military Government in Germany (OMGUS files) 1945–49
Music Squares – Circles – Labyrinths (a Music Department performance at the Q Club, Birmingham)
Law Birmingham Law School Pro Bono Group
CWAS Modernisation of AV facilities in the Danford Room
Italian Students on Stage – the students from the Italian department will perform a play in Italian - adaptation of "Sabato, domenica e lunedi"
Academic Services Supporting the progression of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) students into employment
Student Recruitment Creating a postgraduate community – improved communication for taught postgraduates
Research and Cultural Collections Museum and Collections Internship
Research and Commercial Services Enterprising Birmingham – a Business Plan Competition for the University of Birmingham
Guild of Students Improving ICT Accessibility Development and supporting the provision of Digital Media Communication
Computer Science Intercalated Awards in Computer Science
Civil Engineering Undergraduate construction experience course (Constructionarium) for second year Civil Engineering students
Mechanical Engineering Provision of Audio Visual facilities in Design Centre for enhanced student learning experience
Mechanical Engineering The Design and Evolution of Automative Engines – An Interactive Design Laboratory
Psychology Upgrading the Frankland building student resources room
Biosciences Developing Science communication skills for Biologists
SportEx Theory, camera…action! Using short films of coaches and instructors in action to bring sport and exercise psychology to life and enhance student's learning experience
GEES Purchase of thermal imaging cameras for geography and environment teaching
Immunity and Infection Undergraduate Summer vacation studentships in Medical Research
College of Medical and Dental Sciences Capturing PBL discussions using portable interactive whiteboards
Immunity and Infection Creating and updating a 'write-up' area for postgraduate students (MRes Clinical & Molecular Medicine) in the College of MDS
Medical and Dental Sciences Big Idea 2010 – a business ideas competition and event for researchers wanting to understand more about gaining impact from their research through commercial development of innovative ideas
Cancer Sciences Alumni support for invited external speakers on intercalated BMedSci (Clinical Sciences) course for intercalated Medical Students
Dentistry Enhancing Disabilities Teaching
Social Policy Extending service user involvement in the assessment of social work students' 'readiness for practice'
Education TEFL Student Conference Scholarship Fund
Government and Society School equipment store to enable students to undertake innovative research
Government and Society Intenationalising Masters education through U21: travel scholarships for widening participation
Sociology Prize Pitch – Improving the presentation skills of Sociology students
College of Social Science College of Social Sciences Student Employability Poster Competition "CoSS it Matters"
Social Policy Survivor Arts Exhibition
The Raymond Priestly Centre New 'fun boat' fleet


Influencing Innovation projects supported
in 2009 


Sport University Birmingham Sport Officials and Umpires student development programme, which will train current students to become qualified referees.  They will link to other Birmingham higher and further education institutions to create a pool of volunteers across the city.
Teaching, Learning and IT School of Biosciences Expansion and enhancement of teaching facilities for students undertaking 'wet' practicals, workshops and problem solving classes.  This facility will also be used by visitors from the community during outreach programmes on the campus.
Teaching, Learning and IT School of Geography, Geology and Earth Sciences An environmental water monitoring station situated on the Bourn Brook enhancing teaching and research. Students will learn how to use equipment as well as benefiting from the generation of data for use during their studies.
Teaching, Learning and IT School of Psychology A multi-media 'Babylab' for research with infants.  Students will gain hands-on experience for the first time with infant research not only for study purposes but also in setting up experiments, monitoring data and producing results.  It will be unique amongst UK universities.
Teaching, Learning and IT School of Mechanical Engineering Team-building course at the Raymond Priestley Centre for second year students from Mechanical Engineering and Metallurgy and Materials.  This course will help to provide our future engineers with one of the top rated skills, which employers look for, and adds to the professional development of our engineering students.
Sport University Sport Birmingham International student football festival and football league (2009–10). This will increase the participation of international students in sport at the university during Welcome Week. 
It will provide participants with opportunities to increase their social circles, language skills and integration into the university community.
Sport University Birmingham Sport Coach education funding for coaching and mentoring scheme (part funded).  This will help students to develop transferable skills in leadership, presentation and communication by participating in sports coaching at the University and in the local community.
Guild Guild of Students Purchase of a new dive boat for the Dive Boat Club, ensuring expansion of the club's activities and safeguarding its future.
Teaching, Learning and IT Information Services Programme for postgraduate students to train new students in highly sophisticated software applications for use with numerical computing environments, fluid dynamics and finite element analysis.  The programme will benefit both the trainers and trainees with a range of transferable skills as well as providing practical help with these specialised computer programmes.
Unrestricted funding The Shakespeare Institute Provision of bespoke display unit for the 17th century painting of the Moorish Ambassador to Queen Elizabeth I. This portrait is thought to have been the inspiration for Shakespeare's Othello and has been exhibited in Tate Britain previously.
Teaching, Learning and IT School of Electronic, Electrical and Computer Engineering Training programme for second year students in professional practice and project management through team building.  This will include representation from industry working in partnership with the university.
Campus Environment and Facilities Chancellor's Court Auditorium Project The gifts given to the Campus Environment and Facilities fund have been allocated to the Chancellor's Court auditorium project which will complete the historical Aston Webb semicircle and provide the School of Music with larger purpose-built and superbly- equipped performance and rehearsal space.
Teaching, Learning and IT Barber Institute of Fine Arts A one year internship for one History of Art student to undertake an experience based internship in a gallery or museum.  This internship will be one of two (the other being funded by the Friends of the Barber) and will significantly enhance students' career prospects in this competitive field.
Student Support Business School Undergraduate internship - a year at Symphony/Town Hall, providing students with a 'Year in Industry' placement during their final year on the BSc Business Management course.
Teaching, Learning and IT School of Electronic, Electrical and Computer Engineering A new advanced project laboratory for students working with hardware and software based projects. The lab will contain highly specialised equipment for example, high frequency test equipment and precision fabrication facilities for miniaturised circuit work.