Skip to content Exit mobile menu

Innovation Initiatives Grants

In 2019/20 we introduced a new grant to enable academic and professional services staff to enhance our students' experiences and work in new or different ways to meet our Access and Participation Plan targets and commitments. We are very pleased to confirm that this will be continued for 2022/23 and we plan to support up to 25 projects in this academic year, with grants of up to approximately £1,000 available for each project.

These projects should be focused on one or more of our target population groups and can address any stage of the WP lifecycle, including outreach work with schools and colleges, recruitment, student retention, student attainment or progression to graduate employment/further study. Priority will be given to new initiatives, but we will also consider the extension of a previous project for one further year, if impact can be demonstrated.

The term ‘widening participation’ (WP) refers to the drive to improve access and outcomes for students from disadvantaged backgrounds or from groups traditionally under-represented in Higher Education. The OfS has challenged all HEIs to reduce and eliminate any gaps in participation, retention, attainment and progression between different minority groups and the wider population, within the next five to 10 years. Our Access and Participation Plan (below) outlines the targets that St Mary's has set itself and some of the measures we will take to address these targets.

If you are interested in applying for one of these grants, please familiarise yourself with our APP intentions, please read:

If you have any questions or queries, please don't hesitate to contact Nikki Anghileri, Head of Widening Participation, at

For questions regarding WP initiative impact evaluation please contact Nicola Smith-Wilson, WP Research and Impact Evaluation Officer, at

Although several projects were hit by the unexpected effects of Covid-19, most were able to run in some form and others were delivered in 2020/21. Past grants were awarded for a wide range of fantastic initiatives, including:

  • football coaching qualifications for black students to address an identified need in the profession
  • career changers evening event to attract mature students into teaching 
  • Race and Sport conference for students and staff
  • exploring the experiences of mature students - barriers and opportunities
  • peer Assisted Learning (PAL) Scheme - setup and pilot 
  • GCSE support for skills requirement of QTS to enable Foundation Degree students to progress
  • discipline-specific workshops to develop student's self-confidence, presentation and professional skills and raise social and educational attainment
  • #PeopleLikeMe - showcasing the experiences of alumni from a range of non-traditional and under-represented backgrounds.