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 (five 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.