Alumni Impact Fund

Thanks to the generosity of alumni, staff, students and friends of the University, £170,000 in funding is now available for innovative projects that will have an immediate impact on teaching, learning, student experience, outreach and academic endeavour.

Since 2002, the Development and Alumni Relations Office has distributed more than £2 million to a wide range of initiatives across campus and has made many extraordinary projects possible through this Fund. We invite academic and Professional Services staff to bid for £500-£5,000 in funding for their innovative project.

All bids must demonstrate an immediate impact on campus or activities that will enhance staff and students' academic experience.

Applications are now closed.

If you have an enquiry about your application or would like to know more about the Alumni Impact Fund please email Grace Surman on g.surman@bham.ac.uk

Please note that due to the launch of New Core and corresponding systems changes in January-February 2019, the distribution of the Alumni Impact Fund has had to be moved until the end of February. We apologise for this change and any inconvenience caused. We aim to release funds as soon as we are able and will continue to regularly communicate with project leads. We have extended the spend and project deadlines which we hope will allow sufficient additional time for projects to be completed. 

Thank you for your patience and co-operation. If you have any questions, or if your project will be significantly impacted by these changes, please email Grace Surman.

How does it work?

The Alumni Impact Fund is a pot of funding generously donated by alumni, students, staff and friends of the University, which is split equally across the Colleges and Professional Services.

Applications are open to all staff, whether you are academic, support, technicians or Professional Services, to bid for a share of the Fund to support innovative projects that have a positive impact on the academic endeavour, teaching and the student experience.

Candidates wishing to apply must fill in the online application form and provide written support of the application from your Head of School/Department, or Head of Estates if your project will impact the University's estate.

As a general guide most previous successful applications have been in the range of £500 - £5,000. However, other amounts will be considered. 

Applications to support a larger project will be considered providing it is clear which aspects the Alumni Impact Fund will contribute to and the impact of not receiving funding is clearly explained.

Applications will be considered by a panel comprising representatives from your College or Professional Service, including but not exclusive to:

  • Head of College
  • Director of Operations
  • Director of Education or Research
  • A member of the College Alumni Relations Team (Development and Alumni Relations Office)
  • An alumnus
  • A student

The panels will meet in mid-December to deliberate and applicants will be notified in early January.

All successful applicants will be required to provide a thank you message to our donors and a report on their project. This report does not need to be formal but could be a blog-style article, podcast, video, or in any form that best displays the project. These reports will then be shared across the University website and social media, and sent to our alumni donors as part of a thank you message.

Criteria

To be considered for funding, your project must clearly demonstrate that it:

  • Is new and/or innovative and may provide the basis for future activity
  • Supports the University and College strategic priorities
  • Offers a unique opportunity to enhance teaching, or students' academic activities, on campus and enriches the student experience
  • Presents a positive impact of charitable giving from Birmingham alumni and donors, and promotes a positive view of the University as a charity
  • Is not a core Department, School, College or University requirement
  • Cannot be funded in any other way
  • Has the support of the Head of School/Department, and Head of Estates for any bids that impact on the University's estate
  • Must be completed by 31 January 2020

Terms and conditions

  • This money has been charitably donated to the University by alumni and all projects funded must reflect the spirit of this generosity and the ethos of the University
  • Funding cannot be used to support research trips, cover travel expenses, catering or alcohol unless pivotal to the project
  • We reserve the right to consider the likely expectations of charitable donors about the use of their donation, and will not fund projects that could negatively impact on our future fundraising. We would not, for example, usually fund proselytising activities
  • Funding cannot be used with the sole aim of directly supporting another charitable cause
  • Only one application will be funded per individual
  • All funding must be spent by 20 December 2019 and projects completed by 31 January 2020
  • All successful applicants will be required to provide a thank you and a report on the completed project which will be shared with donors and on the website

Why are you doing it this way?

By ring-fencing equal shares, we will ensure that each of the Colleges and Professional Services as a whole will enjoy significant opportunities to bid to the Fund. All applications will be reviewed and decisions made locally by colleagues in your College and for Professional Services, a small steering group.  

Key dates

Monday 29 October 2018 – Applications open

November 2018 – Two workshops hosted by College Alumni Relations Teams to provide advice and support in the development of bids:

  • Thursday 8 November 2018, 12:30 – 13:30, LG14 Murray Learning Centre
  • Tuesday 20 November 2018, 12:30 – 13:30, LG14 Murray Learning Centre

12noon, Friday 30 November 2018 – Closing deadline for applications and supporting documents

Week commencing 10 December 2018 – Panels meet and decisions made

Week commencing 14 January 2019 – All applicants notified of panel decisions

End of February 2019 – Funds released to successful applications*

Friday 20 December 2019 – Spending deadline. Funds must have been drawn down and spent on the project awarded the grant.

Friday 31 January 2020 – Project completion and report deadline.

 

Please note grants awarded must be spent by 20 December 2019 or risk being withdrawn.  Extensions will not be granted unless there are extenuating circumstances. 

 

*We apologise for the change in distribution date of grants to successfully funded projects. This is due to the New Core systems changes which are due to take place January-February 2019. We aim to release funds as soon as we are able and will continue to regularly communicate with project leads. Due to this delay, we have extended the spend and project deadlines which we hope will allow sufficient additional time for projects to be completed. Thank you for your patience and co-operation. If you have any questions, or if your project will be significantly impacted by these changes, please email Grace Surman.

How to apply

Please complete the application form online and submit it by the closing deadline of 12noon, Friday 30 November 2018.

Please note: this form unfortunately cannot be saved and returned to at a later point. We recommend you draft your applications in a Word document then copy and paste into the form when you're ready to submit.

You will need to attach a proof of the approval of your Head of School/Department. In the application form there is a section where you can upload emails or documents showing this. 

You will also be asked to provide the name of your local Finance Office contact and the element 2 code for the budget account to which funds are to be transferred. If this is not known please ask your School/Departmental administrators who will point you in the right direction. We ask for this so that we can make the transfer of funds to successful projects as smooth a process as possible. The funds will be made available to you in an FSX distribution account under your local element 2 code - any unspent funds will be removed on 2 December 2019.

When filling in your application please be advised to:

  • Fully and realistically cost your project
  • Explain clearly how the money will be used
  • Show how you will measure its success
  • Ensure your Head of School/Department authorises the proposal
  • If you wish to apply for support to refurbish or change rooms, please consult with Estates and ensure they are aware of your intentions and provide formal supporting documentation with your application
  • Explain how you plan to promote the fact that alumni generosity made the project possible

Previously funded projects

Here are just some of the 270+ projects we have supported over the years:

Micro Internships for Law Finalists

College of Arts & Law

CAL Internship Officer Lizzie Argirou was awarded £6,000 for an innovative scheme that offered bursary-funded, micro-internships to final year undergraduate students in Birmingham Law School for students identified as potentially needing additional careers support.

24 eligible students undertook a micro-internship (5 days in length, full-time) within a local business/SME in the West Midlands region.

The aim was to support and increase graduate employability for law students, which had been identified as a primary target for improvement within the College of Arts & Law.   The programme also helped ensure that ‘at risk’ final year law students would remain engaged with the University as they started their careers and became young alumni. 

 

Open wide: creating exhibition space in the School of Dentistry for public engagement and display of historical items

College of Medical and Dental Sciences

The School of Dentistry relocated to its new home in March 2016 and  a contribution of £4,800 from the 2017 Alumni Impact Fund was used towards the establishment of an exhibition space.  Not only does this space benefit the school, staff and students, but also patients and the wider community. 

The exhibition space displays quarterly collaborative exhibitions inspired both by the School of Dentistry’s research and historical artefacts held by the school.  Recent exhibitions include “Slime Cities”, “Light Fantastic” and “Dancing Bubbles”.  In addition to exhibitions, the space has also been used to host participatory workshops for visitors to encourage involvement in the School’s projects.

Branding was also purchased with AIF money and this has helped promote the space to external visitors. 

More information can be found online at https://bdhopenwide.com/previous-exhibitions/slime-cities/.

 

Bringing Forests into the Classroom

College of Life and Environmental Sciences

Dr Rick Thomas from the Birmingham Institute of Forest Research (BIFoR) was awarded over £5,000 for a state-of-the-art Virtual Reality system (VRT) that will allow students and online users to experience, learn and interact with this experimental woodland.  Whilst initially planned for the benefit of degree level students, it is anticipated that it will also benefit school-age children, stakeholders and funding bodies. 

 

The fund provided the kick start that BIFoR needed to establish a VRT system, and is being used to demonstrate the power of the technology which is able to provide visitors with an immersive experience.

 

More information on BIFoR and a virtual tour can be found on YouTube.

 

 

The Political Worldview Podcast

College of Social Sciences

Whilst initially established in 2015 by volunteers from the Dept of Political Science and International Studies (POLSIS), the Worldview Podcast applied for funding from AIF in 2017.  Money was required to purchase new equipment (to improve sound and production quality), pay for the services of a producer (since the doctoral student who had previously donated his time was no longer able to do so) and to enable a number of special edition recordings in front of live audiences. 

With the help of this funding, the growth of the podcast has been substantial with increases seen both in the number of subscribers and the average listens per episode.   

As well as providing a platform for PhD students, the financial backing has allowed the podcast to continue and explore new avenues of engagement with the public, as well as generating a worthy research outlet for UoB academics. 

The podcasts are now available to listen to on the University website.

 

CG in a Suitcase

College of Engineering and Physical Sciences

The School of Chemistry applied to the AIF in order to bring the important chemistry technique of chromatography alive for students in Birmingham schools.  A series of internal and external events was run using a new portable gas chromatogram to enable school pupils the opportunity to try out this often difficult to grasp technique.

This project not only supported the GCSE and A-Level syllabus but also reinforced the links between UoB and feeder schools.   Undergraduate STEM ambassadors also attended these events, providing school pupils an opportunity to ask general questions about university life and the route to higher education. 

Hundreds of students and staff are now benefitting from the Undercroft as it is a more vibrant and active place where students and staff can access study spaces and ICT resources, with dedicated areas for individual study and collaborative learning.

Contact us

For advice and support with your application, please contact your local Alumni Relations Teams who will be happy to help:

College of Arts and Law – Ruth Millington – r.millington@bham.ac.uk

College of Engineering and Physical Sciences – Grace Surman – g.surman@bham.ac.uk

College of Life and Environmental Sciences – Hazel Lohdi – h.j.burton@bham.ac.uk

College of Medical and Dental Sciences – Iftikhar Ahmed – i.ahmed.5@bham.ac.uk

College of Social Sciences – Emma Coldicott – e.coldicott.1@bham.ac.uk

Professional Services – Becky Mitchell – r.mitchell.1@bham.ac.uk

Alumni and friends of the University of Birmingham have once again been extremely generous and we would urge you not to miss this opportunity to help make an immediate difference to our students' lives.