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Promoting staff-student collaboration: Nottingham Trent University

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Scholarship Projects for Undergraduate Researchers (SPUR)

Scholarship Projects for Undergraduate Researchers (SPUR) is a Nottingham Trent University initiative which provides bursaries for undergraduates to collaborate with staff on cutting-edge research projects. Since 2007 SPUR has involved 166 students working on 122 projects in 46 subject areas including Biosciences, Architecture, Linguistics, Social Work, Photography and Education. Several subject areas now run their own schemes using the SPUR model, involving 57 additional students to date.

SPUR is associated with high attainment: 90.1% of SPUR students who have graduated since 2008 with a first degree attain at least a 2.1 compared to 73.0% of first degree students graduating from the general NTU population (2015/16).  As well as benefiting the individuals involved, SPUR projects are required to feed back into the curriculum to ensure learning and teaching continue to be informed by research.

One former SPUR student gained a prestigious job with the Office for National Statistics and was told by the panel that they had secured the post in competition with Oxbridge graduates and individuals with postgraduate degrees in large part due to the experience they had gained from their SPUR project.

Bibliography

Beaumont, C., O’Doherty, M. & Shannon, L. (2011). ‘Reconceptualising Assessment Feedback: A Key to Improving Student Learning? Studies in Higher Education. 36 (6) 671-687

Healey, M., Flint, A. & Harrington, K. (2014). ‘Engagement Through Partnership: Students as Partners in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education’. Higher Education Academy. https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/system/files/resources/engagement_through_partnership.pdf [Accessed: 23/8/16]

Walkington, H. (2015) ‘Students as Researchers: Supporting Undergraduate Research in the Disciplines in Higher Education’. Higher Education Academy. https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/system/files/resources/Students%20as%20researchers_1.pdf [Accessed: 23/8/16]

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