Challenge Fund: funded projects

This Challenge Fund was part of the Strategic Interventions in Health Education Disciplines (SIHED) programme.

First call

The first round of SIHED Challenge Fund projects focused on supporting innovation in the recruitment and delivery of podiatry and therapeutic radiography programmes.

Both these specialist disciplines were identified as vulnerable because of decreasing recruitment and retention in higher education courses.

These projects all started in 2018 and completed by March 2020.

Read the news item announcing the successful bids

Provider Project Funding amount
Birmingham City University Improving retention in therapeutic radiography: Escape rooms £24,696
University of Brighton Pop-up podiatry: Developing an online and hands-on approach to student recruitment £24,418
University of Liverpool Therapeutic radiotherapy: Developing learning through simulation - using virtual environments to reduce clinical placement pressures £29,720
Sheffield Hallam University Male therapeutic radiographers: Understanding and addressing barriers to higher education recruitment £29,831

University of Salford (lead institution)
with University of Brighton; Birmingham Metropolitan College; University of East London

Podiatry: Increasing the diversity of podiatry placements to support the future of podiatry education £60,000

University of the West of England, Bristol

City University, London

Improving retention in therapeutic radiography: Enabling clinical supervisors to better support and nurture students to achieve their full potential £57,066

Second call

The second and last round of SIHED Challenge Fund projects had a broader scope.

Bids were invited from any existing or prospective provider of nursing, midwifery and allied health courses for innovative projects that would support the recruitment or delivery of these subjects.

Bidders were additionally asked to demonstrate that their approach met two of four additional criteria to prioritise activity which would:

  • be led by one of the four priority SIHED disciplines (podiatry, therapeutic radiography, orthoptics and prosthetics and orthotics)
  • propose an interdisciplinary approach
  • support widening participation
  • develop innovative delivery methods or pathways.

These projects started in summer 2019 and completed by December 2020.

Read the news item announcing the successful bids

Provider Title of project and brief summary Funding amount
University of Nottingham

Summer school: supporting underrepresented students transitioning to university

Multidisciplinary summer event for recruited nursing, midwifery and healthcare mature students followed up with online pre-sessional academic and pastoral support to address retention and success of non-traditional students.
Coventry University

Interventions to raise awareness of health careers among men considering a career change, including taster days using clinical simulation

The taster days will be multidisciplinary and co-created by students. This project aims to address gender inequalities in allied health disciplines and is to target men in non-health careers who are facing uncertainty in their employment. This may be risk of redundancy, or may also be rebalance and restructuring.

Sheffield Hallam University

Supporting applicant choices: exploring the role of pre-admission work shadowing and multi-media resources in Therapeutic Radiography, Diagnostic Radiography and Operating Department Practice

Using video and simulations at recruitment events to help prospective students make the right study choices between diagnostic radiography, therapeutic radiography and operating department practice - an alternative to work shadowing as a way to find out about these roles.

University of East London

CUREate: Health as an Arts career pathway

CUREate starts with the premise that arts students can be right for health careers, and health careers can be right for arts students. This programme, delivered in tandem with students in health and the arts across London, seeks to raise awareness of and affinity with health professions across nursing and allied health, with a view to encourage final year arts students to consider pursuing a postgraduate or second health degree.


Student-run, community engaged health initiative

Piloting student run, interdisciplinary community-facing clinics to raise awareness of allied health disciplines as well as public health issues and interdisciplinary approaches among students.

University of Leeds

Head-start into healthcare

Using virtual reality and mentoring with male year 12 students to promote nursing and other health disciplines, and supporting interested potential students through the UCAS cycle to increase male participation in nursing and allied health.

University of Wolverhampton

Preparing 2 Succeed (P2S) programme

A summer school programme for mature students/male students aged 18+ to support recruitment, retention and success on health professions courses. The programme includes four days on campus, online activities, pastoral and academic support followed by the development of a peer network and a digital campaign within local colleges.

University of Hull

Alternative route into health and social care

This will create a new blended delivery pathway for an existing foundation programme, with delivery more likely to be compatible for people with childcare or working commitments, and will be aimed primarily at mature students, including male students.

University of Chester

Coordinated support to help students successfully reapply to healthcare disciplines

This proposes the development of an online tool by six universities in the North East. This tool will be designed to help students who have applied to nursing and allied health courses but were not offered places to build their competencies in order to reapply successfully the following year.

University of Liverpool

Reducing clinical training burden through integrated simulation placements for students in allied health disciplines

This project aims to build on a successful pilot developed with funding from the first round of the SIHED challenge fund to identify the wider role of campus-based simulations in allied health student training.

Published 26 June 2018
Last updated 29 March 2022
29 March 2022
Minor updates to reflect that the funded projects are now completed
27 June 2019
Details of funded projects from the second call published

Describe your experience of using this website

Improve experience feedback
* *

Thank you for your feedback