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Projects for undergraduate and postgraduate taught students to research and investigate an aspect of education at Imperial.

The deadline for StudentShapers projects running over Summer 2019 has now passed.  However we are still welcoming Ad-hoc project submissions which are projects that are suitable for running during term-time.  The portal for Summer 2020 will open at a later date to be announced. Funded projects are listed on the Current projects page. 

StudentShapers Educational research and investigation projects are staff-student partnerships within the undergraduate or postgraduate taught domain, where research in to the learning and teaching at Imperial is the key focus. 

 Projects in this area may systematically and rigorously evaluate the effects of an educational change; they may also investigate an aspect of teaching or learning that would advocate change, or advocate investment in a particular area of activity.

When planning educational research or investigation you may like to consult the Centre for Higher Education Research and Scholarship's pages on Education research methods or the teaching toolkit on educational research. 


The StudentShapers placement is open to undergraduate and postgraduate taught students across all departments.  If you are a student and interested in fostering a partnership with a specific member of staff we would encourage you to be proactive and approach them with your ideas.  If you are struggling to find an appropriate member of staff for your idea, please contact us as the StudentShapers team will be able to advise you. 

Staff partners in these projects are likely to have some experience in education research and evaluation - however if you are unsure of a strategy when planning a project please contact us or you may also get in touch with staff in the Educational Development Unit. StudentShapers is distinct from other initiatives within Imperial in that it is a co-creative process for both staff and student.  Project proposals can be developed in partnership with students but the final project proposal should be made by the staff lead

What are the Benefits? 

For students:

  • An opportunity to engage more deeply in an area of your education and research teaching and learning
  • Time and space to improve the student experience for you and your peers
  • Increased confidence and awareness of your own learning
  • A chance to be a part of the implementation of the College's Learning and Teaching strategy
  • To receive financial support for the activities you undertake

For staff:

  • An opportunity to work closely with students to better understand their perception of learning and teaching at Imperial
  • A method of attracting funding for educational research work in to your department
  • An opportunity to recognise and utilise the expertise that students can deliver to your project, to achieve better project outcomes
  • A way of providing clear evidence of engagement with students to fulfil promotion criteria
  • An opportunity to engage in higher education scholarship and the growing community of educationalists at Imperial through the Centre for Higher Education Research and Scholarship

Developing a project

Please consider the following during the development and before submitting a proposal:

  • Have you considered the timeframe expected for your project?
  • Have you considered the expected budget? (Please note: consumables are not normally included within the bursaries that StudentShapers provides.  Please discuss with your department whether they are able and willing to fund this aspect of your Project)
  • EERP: please familiarise yourself with the Education Ethics Review Process for all research projects
  • Does the project have the support of staff and student peers? As StudentShapers is designed to have a positive and lasting impact upon the Curriculum, it is valuable for both Staff and Students to have discussed the direction of their project with their colleagues - this may involve liaison and feedback from the Academic Rep Network. 
  • Is the expected impact of the project or methods of dissemination of the scholarly work outlined?
  • Student Bursaries are normally paid at £305 per week
  • Costs such as conference attendance would be considered as part of the proposal.

Assessment Criteria for Proposals

Project proposals will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Planned timetable for the work
  • Resources requested; funding proposal is cost-effective
  • The project has an appropriate rationale for its inception; this rationale may be based on (but not limited to):

-          Student and/or academic rep network feedback

-          Education theory/literature

-          Industry liaison

-          Evidence from Curriculum review or other education enhancement work taking place in the department

  • Ethical considerations are taken into account when planning the project
  • The project adopts the guiding principles of partnership
  • The project outcomes are clearly defined and should result in improved understanding of an educational activity at Imperial
  • A plan for disseminating findings, both internally, and externally if applicable
  • The research will have a positive impact on educational practice that aligns with the Learning and Teaching Strategy
  • The evaluation of the impact and effectiveness of the project is robust
  • Achievements in learning and teaching of staff-applicants, and/or demonstration of an ongoing commitment to developing professional practice in teaching within higher education
  • Student partners gain clear professional development outcomes, commensurate with Imperial’s Graduate Attributes

After the project has concluded

Submission of a project report form (which can be downloaded from the sidebar) is a prerequisite of receiving StudentShapers financial support; this should be completed with one month of the project concluding.