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TLRP Research Capacity Building Network (RCBN)
Small Capacity-Building Grants Scheme

***Information regarding BERA Master-classes funded under the RCBN small capacity-building grants scheme may be accessed here***

*** The deadline for submissions to the 2003 RCBN small capacity-building grants scheme has now past and we are currently reviewing the applications. However, we may run this scheme again during 2004 so please revisit this page or contact the RCBN to be kept informed of further developments ***

The TLRP Research Capacity Building Network (RCBN) invite you and/or your organisation to apply for a small capacity-building grant of up to £3,000. These grants are to provide activities that have the principal aim of building research capacity into teaching and learning in the UK. Such activities should have a strong training component. They are not intended for substantive research. This invitation is open to all educational researchers, including currently funded research projects and individual researchers. We would particularly welcome applications from non-government funded research organisations/institutions.

The RCBN is looking for proposals that add value to its own extensive programme of capacity-building activities and that meet the five particular priorities established for the RCBN (see below). These grants should extend the expertise being utilised by and within the RCBN and increase the range of research topics, methodologies, approaches, and modes of delivery. Capacity-building activities can include: training workshops; discussion seminars; methodological guidelines, manuals and/or toolkits; web-based training material; and software development.

Currently funded research projects may wish to apply for these small capacity-building grants to acquire resources to provide additional expertise or training. Where this is the case applications must show how the resulting capacity-building activit(ies) contribute to the research training and development of other researchers. Conversely, substantive research projects may wish to use these small grants to disseminate their methodological and theoretical developments to other researchers. In these cases it must be shown that such activities are additional to the dissemination strategies currently being funded. Existing research organisations may also wish to apply for these small capacity-building grants to deliver capacity-building activities, perhaps primarily for their members. Where this is the case applications must agree to incorporate TLRP researchers who are non-members of the respective organisation.

Proposals will be refereed by one external reviewer and one RCBN reviewer (applications may nominate possible external reviewers). The RCBN Executive Group will make the final decision on the basis of the referees’ comments, the quality of the applications and the fulfilment of the RCBN’s core priorities. The final payment of the grant will be paid subject to a short end of award report of approximately 5,000 words (including a breakdown of expenditure) and completion of the appropriate forms from the RCBN Evaluation Strategy.

The deadline for the first phase of applications is Friday 5th July. It is expected that successful grants will run between 1st August and 31st December 2003.

All small capacity-building grant applications must be made in accordance with the guidelines below. In the first instance it is recommended that contact is made with the RCBN to discuss the possible application.

Additional information
The Research Capacity Building Network is a key part of the ESRC Teaching and Learning Research Programme (TLRP), established to support the capacity-building activities of substantive research projects funded through the TLRP and to contribute to the wider development of teaching and learning research in the UK. For more information about the RCBN and its activities please visit or email

The five particular priorities established for the RCBN are:

i. Development of skills in the design, conduct and management of quantitative studies capable of evaluating effects of T&L upon learner attainment across varied contexts;
ii. Enhancing the theoretical and conceptual basis for such studies;
iii. The articulation and combination of qualitative approaches with quantitative studies;
iv. Greater utilisation of inter-disciplinary theories and methods; and
v. Transformation of research based knowledge through practices relevant to enhanced learner attainment.

Guide for Proposals
All proposals must meet the following requirements:

• Proposals must have a teaching and learning research focus;
• Proposals must have a strong training and developmental emphasis;
• All capacity building activities outlined must include the participation of researchers from within and across the ESRC Teaching and Learning Research Programme;
• All capacity-building activities proposed must follow and use where applicable the RCBN strategy for evaluation (see RCBN for details);
• All capacity-building activities undertaken must include recognition of the RCBN, the TLRP and the ESRC.
• Proposals should be no more than 2,000 words.

Applications should include the following sections:

Aims and objectives – proposals must have clear aims and objectives illustrating their main learning outcomes;
• Outline of activity or activities – proposals must provide a clear outline and timetable of the capacity-building activities to be organised;
Rationale – proposals should provide a rationale and justification. Where possible they should also support this with some evidence for need and demand (findings from the RCBN Consultation Exercise may be helpful here);
Expertise – proposals need to provide background information on the applicants and/or the expertise to be utilised in organising, providing and delivering the capacity-building activities;
Audience – proposals need to carefully outline their target audience, including the number of participants, if relevant, and a publicity and marketing strategy. Where there is a limit on the size of the audience proposals should prioritise TLRP researchers or indicate how many TLRP researchers will be able to participate;
Costs – proposals should contain a breakdown of costs for the organisation and delivery of the capacity-building activities (see below for a breakdown of valid costs);
Timetable – proposal should include a timeline of activities where applicable. Note that successful grants are expected to run between 1st August and 31st December 2003.
Costs can include:

• External consultation;
• Travel, subsistence and other appropriate expenses of the organisers and providers;
• Capacity-building materials;
• Charges incurred in hiring rooms, audio-visual facilities, refreshments, etc;
• Where necessary fees may be established for users/participants. However, all activities must be free of charge to TLRP researchers. Where necessary the RCBN will cover the travel costs of TLRP researchers directly.

Costs cannot include:

• Consumables not associated with the capacity-building activity(ies);
• Resources to undertake substantive research

Please contact the RCBN to discuss your proposal or any queries you may have about this call.



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This page was last updated 17th February 2004