Skip to main content

Experimentation grants

Experimentation grants

The Experimentation Grants are small scale funding awards of up to £500 for educators at the University of Exeter who want to understand, ideate, test, explore a teaching and learning challenge and develop outcomes that can lead to a potential proposal for a future Incubation grant. We will award up to ten Experimentation grants on a rolling basis over the 2024-2025 academic year. The open call for these grants will be made live in September 2024.

An experimentation grant enables educators to;

  • Gather a diverse group of people together to explore an educational challenge (workshops,focus groups, discussions, creative piloting);
  • Access to software or hardware to enable early experiments;
  • Pay for catering, venue hire, or vouchers given to students or those not employed by the university in recognition of their participation and time;
  • Training, networking and conference attendance.

We support the use of Design Thinking to bring people together to explore problems and gather diverse experiences. These are tried and tested methods to develop creativity and innovation. The Education Incubator has developed these three Design Thinking templates for our educators to use as tools that will support the creative exploration of an identified pedagogical problem.

Empathy Map 

Empathy Maps are used to build an understanding of ‘user’ needs at the definition stage of a project. It is likely that in our context the ‘users’ are students, but they also may be colleagues. The map enables us to empathise with the feelings, behaviours, and needs of the people whose experiences we want to improve. 

As a workshop activity, creating an Empathy Map means bringing together one or more groups of people - academics, students, professional staff, senior managers - to explore and set out motivations and needs.

Systems Map 

‌A systems map is a visualisation tool to help identify the component parts and their interactions in the complex system in which your ‘problem’ occurs. As you work within the system it is likely you have a really clear understanding from your own perspective. It is important to gather people together with diverse perspectives in order to gain a fuller representation of the system.

This is an exploratory and research activity that can be delivered as a workshop that will help visualise the patterns in the system, the relationships, and perspectives of the people you are innovating for, and to see the gaps and areas for growth and change to potentially re-design the system. 

Proto-Typing Evaluation

Testing one or more potential ideas as a prototype enables you to get quick feedback from users before deciding on a final solution. We are used to thinking of prototypes as low resolution things but they can also be storyboards or role plays - or indeed any method for enabling your users to understand how you think an idea would work in practice. They can then give feedback.