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Opportunities in Widening Participation


The University of Exeter has a key objective to ensure that all students, from every background, are supported to access, succeed in, and progress from, higher education.

The central Student Recruitment and Widening Participation (WP) team organise and run a large programme of WP events targeted at young people from a range of underrepresented and often disadvantaged backgrounds in partner schools across the country.  Some of these events focus on providing general advice and guidance about higher education and student life. Others have the objective of providing an insight into the subjects available to study at university and to help participants make informed decisions about their future.  

The contribution made to these events from members of the academic community is essential for ensuring an exciting and authentic experience of the kind of teaching and research carried out at the University of Exeter. 

If you are interested in getting involved in WP at the University of Exeter then you can find details of current opportunities below as well as key contacts in each of our academic Colleges.

Set to launch in April in response to the current coronavirus pandemic, Discover University is a new University of Exeter online learning zone for young people at all stages of their education, parents/carers and teachers.

Between now and the end of June the University will be offering participants a range of events, activities and downloadable resources as follows:

  • Regular sharing of resources and signposting through social media
  • A Facebook Live lecture series
  • Live streamed advice and guidance workshops
  • A wide range of video resources via a dedicated YouTube Channel
  • A teacher focused twitter feed
  • Online Open Days
  • Online subject conferences
  • Promotion of cutting edge research and interactive tools to help develop the knowledge and skills of participants
  • A Year 12 Exeter Scholars virtual residential
  • A teacher CPD online conference

Whilst we anticipate that Widening Participation partner schools and target students will make up a large proportion of the users of Discover University, content will also compliment that being delivered through the recently announced commitment campaign aimed at offer holders and will be available to extend to prospective students from across the world.

We hope you have visited this webpage because you are interested in taking part in one of the following ways –

  1. Delivering discipline or research specific content via live stream as a part of the exciting new University of Exeter Real World Lecture Series. This series will be delivered over a period of 5 weeks and weeks will be themed as follows:
  • Week commencing 20th April - Travel Through Technology
  • Week commencing 4th May - Mental Health & Wellbeing
  • Week commencing 18th May - Research to brighten your day
  • Week commencing 1st June - Climate Change: our planet our future
  • Week commencing 15th June - Don’t forget Brexit!

     2. Filming of short pre-recorded video talks on a topic of your choice, to fit your area of expertise, to be uploaded to YouTube.

     3. Sharing of pre-existing online tools, websites, videos, games or teaching materials which can be made available to visitors. Resources shared could for example include those designed to provide subject insight, to develop subject specific skills, to develop study skills or to make the transition to university easier.

If you would like to volunteer for any of the activity above or you have ideas that could be added to this project then please contact us at and we can give you more details about next steps and the support available. In addition to staffing support we may also be able to provide small amounts of funding to help develop content and would be happy to discuss.

Guided by College level annual WP Action Plans the team delivers a wide range of events and activities both on campus and in schools with the objective of raising awareness with prospective students of the wide range of subjects taught at the University of Exeter. 

We primarily work with young people aged 13 and above and use a range of delivery models to raise attainment, help schools deliver against their teaching curriculum and ensure participants are making informed decisions about their futures.  In certain subject areas we also have activity linked to working with mature and primary aged students. 

One of the key ways that we make Exeter stand out in events of this kind is using our cutting edge research and teaching excellence to make the link between subjects and real life. Using this relationship often makes new subjects seem within reach and inspires participants to find out more about the opportunities that can open for them through higher education and beyond.  

If you are interested in delivering workshops, hosting students groups on campus or leading talks at WP events and activities please contact the relevant college lead, who can provide advice and support about exciting opportunities to get involved with!

Teaching Enrichment Days

Year group - Various 
A programme of short sessions aimed at using the facilities and expertise available at the University to help schools deliver against specific elements of the school curriculum.  Topics to date have included the use of exercise testing facilities, storytelling and linguistic creativity, using statistics in History, Physics lab skills, entrepreneurship skills, DNA isolation and amplification, environmental law in action and many more session.

 Teaching enrichment

Next Steps South West Bus Tour

Year group - Various 
Quite literally taking our courses on the road, the annual Next Steps South West bus tour is a roadshow visiting schools around the south west.  The interactive experience sees academics from the University presenting to your people about their disciplines on the top deck of a double decker bus!

Next Steps SW bus roadshow

Scalability of our activities and being able to take disciplines on the road to a national WP audience is a growing priority for Exeter.  In support of this we are inviting academic colleagues, early career researchers and postgraduate students to submit proposals for resources boxes or interactive sessions that can take their own area of specialism to the classroom in a new and innovative way. 

Limited funding is available to support successful proposals that will not just inspire young people to consider studying the subject in future but also show how the work of the University links to the world beyond the campuses and supports participants with their current studies.  The subject focus can be as specific as you like but any sessions must allow within them the opportunity to show how the content relates to courses available to study at HE level.  Any proposals should fit within the following parameters and funding provided could go towards either staff time or resources –

  • Be suitable for a target audience between the ages of 13 to 18
  • Ideally be suitable for delivery both by the proposal lead and also by Student Ambassadors or other members of the WP practitioner community to allow for maximum audience reach
  • Be suitable for varying group sizes, i.e. does not rely on a very small audience for delivery

If you have an idea for a proposal then please complete this Widening Participation Resource Development Project Proposal and return to the relevant College contact as detailed at the bottom of the form. This is an ongoing work stream and therefore there is no formal deadline and we would welcome applications at any stage of the academic year.

Exoplanets Lesson in a Box

Year group - Year 9 - 13 
Exoplanet research is one of the most exciting areas of current Astrophysics research. Academics in the University of Exeter Astrophysics research group have a developed a resource box to take into schools, centred around their cutting edge research and using their fantastic virtual reality resource ‘Exoplanet Explorer 360 Planetarium' made in collaboration with ‘We the Curious’ and the ‘Engine House’. The resources are suitable for Years 9-13 and the session length can be adapted to suit the school but ideally takes between 1-2 hours.