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Application tips

The questions below are questions commonly asked by prospective applicants and the answers provide useful hints and tips for your application. Don’t forget that draft applications can be sent to the schools engagement team for review before you submit.

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Project ideas:

In stage 1, we can list up to 5 investigations/ experiments, does this mean we can run separate projects? 

Although you can list more than 1 investigation or experiment, it is crucial that the investigations all link to each other and will help your students answer the project title. You must apply with a specific project rather than a series of experiments for a STEM club. For project ideas and inspiration, please see the off-the-shelf-project-ideas document (PDF). This guidance document provides example project titles as well as showing in more depth the sorts of activities and equipment that have been funded previously. More information about previously funded projects can also be found on the case studies page

If your project includes a 'design and build' aspect (for example, building a car, robots, weather station, etc.), make sure there is still a clear investigative element.  

When thinking about the investigations consider the variables and what they will be. Find more information about variables and the different types of variables (PDF).  

In stage 2, we are asked to show how the scientific method will be used. What do you mean by this?

The judges will want to see that you have considered the scientific method when planning your investigation. Can you include details such as the hypotheses your students will test, how they will adapt their investigations dependent on their results, how they will analyse the data collected etc. See further guidance about the scientific method (PDF).

It is important to think about how students will analyse data and give clear evidence of how students will gain data handling techniques. Techniques used and expectations will be dependent on the age of the students but could involve statistical analysis, computational analysis, use of digital applications or visualisation techniques. 

STEM partner involvement:

Does my STEM partner need to be involved for the whole project? 

Yes it is crucial that when you plan your project you ensure the involvement of the STEM partner is sustained throughout the lifetime of the project and they are not just involved at the beginning and end of the project.

My STEM partner will be working in an advisory role to support myself and other teachers. Is that sufficient?

Whilst it is important that teachers are supported, the STEM partner should be working with the students themselves and engage with them directly. The STEM partner must not simply advise staff. In your application make it clear how often the STEM partner will visit the school and support the students. The judges do not expect to see exact dates but information about the expected number of visits is important. There should be several interactions per term.

Can the STEM partner be involved remotely?

Yes, the STEM partner can be involved remotely via email or video calls but there also needs to be in-person interaction during your project. These interactions can be at your school or perhaps on a trip to the STEM partner(s) workplace. The more interaction there is between the STEM partner and the students the stronger your application will be. Therefore, a mix of in-person and remote support may be the most suitable solution. 

I plan to work with multiple STEM partners do I need to state this in my application? 

Yes make sure it is clear in your application who you will be working with and how the different partners will be involved in the project. Working with multiple STEM partners will help to strengthen your application. 

Find more information about the STEM partner and their involvement in the project .

Student involvement: 

Do I need to know which individual students will take part in the project?

No you do not need to know which individual students will take part in the project but you will be asked to state the number of students and which year groups will be involved.

Can my project involve the whole school? 

Yes projects can involve the whole school and many successful school wide projects have been funded. When working on your application, make sure it is clear which aspects the different year groups will be involved in and how the different year groups’ work will feed into each other. 

It is not feasible for my project to involve a large number of students. Will this impact my likelihood of receiving funding?

Ideally your project should involve as many students as possible but it is appreciated that some projects can only involve a small number of students. If your project is one such project, make sure it is clear in your application why this is the case. It is also crucial that you carefully consider how you will select the students to take part and that this selection process is clearly explained. Ensure your selection process takes into consideration diversity, including the gender and ethnicity of students. 

As well as the selection of your students, make sure you include some detail about how the project and work will be shared with your wider school community. Can you share your project in assemblies or through the school newsletter etc? 

Project budget: 

Will the amount of funding I request impact the likelihood of my application being successful?

No. Instead what is important is what you are intending to purchase. Therefore, make sure everything you list in your application clearly links to the project and that items are clearly justified. 

My school has restrictions on where I can purchase items from and means some items are more expensive. Is this a problem?

This is not a problem but make sure it is clearly explained when you justify your equipment, otherwise the judges may raise questions around the costs. 

Can consumables be purchased with the grant?

Yes they can. However, there should be a legacy for your project, so for any consumables you request, think about how you will fund these once the grant money has been spent. 

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