Frequently Asked Questions

  • Funding

    • How much can we apply for?

      There will be limits for specific challenge funds, so check the relevant fund criteria. We like to encourage applicants to be realistic about what they need to achieve their project objectives. For projects over £100,000, your application will be strengthened if you can demonstrate that you have been successful in attracting part match-funding from other organisations. Applications can also be strengthened by demonstrating a collaborative approach. 

    • Do you only fund UK-based projects?

       We are a UK charity with a focus on positive outcomes for the UK. We will only fund projects that are directly beneficial to UK residents. The majority of organisations we invest in are UK-based.  However, we will consider applications from overseas organisations if they clearly demonstrate how they will address vocational learning opportunities in the UK.

    • Do you fund staffing costs within a project?

      We will fund the costs of staff directly involved in delivering a project e.g. project managers, trainers, web developers. We will also fund costs associated with putting in place a collaboration agreement where appropriate to the project. Organisational running costs unconnected to the project cannot be covered.

    • Do you fund hardware, software or connectivity costs?

      We will consider funding requests to cover hardware, software or connectivity costs - but only if they are fundamental to successful project delivery. In this case, any hardware, software or connectivity costs should form only a small percentage of the overall investment, and your applications should provide transparent details on all such costs. Hardware or infrastructure procurement projects will not be considered.

    • Do you cover website build costs?

      We will consider funding requests to cover website build costs where they are fundamental to successful project delivery. Your application should provide transparent details on all such costs. Hardware or infrastructure procurement projects will not be considered. 

    • Can we apply for funding on a project running over one year?

      There will be limits for specific challenge funds, so check the relevant fund criteria. However, we generally appreciate that projects vary in length and will consider funding any length of project up to a maximum of two years.

    • Will you provide investment for the life of the project?

      The duration of our investment is agreed on a project-by-project basis. We place very high value on projects that can demonstrate that they have scale and a sustainability plan that allows them to maintain, or increase, momentum beyond the period of our support. We hope that all projects will continue to be successful in the years that follow our investment. Therefore we expect all organisations to identify how their project will scale and become sustainable, if appropriate, beyond the end of our investment period.

    • Do you require match or part funding?

      As part of our decision-making process, we will look at whether other funders are already involved in your project, or have been approached. While match-funding is not a pre-requisite, if you are seeking funding of over £100,000, we recommend that you investigate other sources of revenue funding before submitting your application, as this will strengthen your proposal.

    • Will you consider a new funding application if we are already working with you on an active project?

      Yes, we will consider an application for a new project, even if you're in receipt of funding for an existing project, as long as it is completely unrelated and looking at a different learning challenge. Please bear in mind that you will need to complete the application process again and we make no guarantee that your application will be successful.

    • Can we apply for repeat funding for the same project?

      We will not provide repeat funding for the same project. Where a project has evolved this will be considered on a case by case basis and will depend upon the scale of the funding provided and the nature of the project – for example early stage demonstrators may be considered differently to more mature, larger scale projects.We expect all our projects to develop a sustainability plan during the period of our investment, so that they are able to secure their future.

    • Will we automatically receive the full amount of funding we have applied for?

      Not necessarily. The level of investment awarded is sometimes different from that requested. This can be for a number of reasons (beside our own budget constraints). For example, you may have included items in your budget (e.g. hardware or organisational overheads) that we do not fund, we may think there are opportunities to deliver your project more cost effectively, or we may feel that you could seek match-funding for some of the costs. Where we feel the amount of investment needs to be reconsidered, we will discuss this with you and review the alternative options.

    • Do Ufi grants cover VAT?

      Ufi funding will cover the costs of VAT where not recoverable and included in the original budgets and grant application. Grants are "outside the scope" of VAT therefore whether VAT is recoverable will be determined by any partial exemption methods applied to your organisation. You should check with your finance department/external advisors if you are not sure of your situation.

    • When can I apply for funding?

      We issue calls against specific funds, such as our annual #VocLearnTech. Details of funding calls are published on our website when they are announced. Register for our mailing list and we will email you when new funding calls are announced. New calls will also be announced on our Facebook page and on Twitter.

       

    • Who will own the IPR on projects that you fund?

      Arrangements for specific funding calls will vary so do check the relevant fund criteria.  Note that applicants that that are selected to go forward to Stage 2 of the application process will be asked for more details about their proposals for IPR. 

      As a general rule, Ufi Charitable Trust does not have a fixed policy on ownership of IPR on projects we wholly or partly fund.  We expect to fund a wide range of projects developed by a variety  of organisations and different approaches to IPR may be required to ensure long term project sustainability.  We will generally negotiate IPR on a case by case basis.

    • Can we apply for funding for more than one project?

      We will accept more than one application from an organisation, provided that the projects are different and discrete and they meet our priorities as identified in our Five Year Strategy 'Learning without Walls' and in the 'Scaling Up' report.  Each application must be made from a separate Ufi account as one registered person can only submit one online application.

  • Eligibility

    • What types of projects will you fund?

      We are looking for ideas that are genuinely ground-breaking - either in their approach, their technology or the sector in which they are being applied. To be successful, applicants need to present innovative projects that bring a practical perspective to the design, delivery or accreditation of digital vocational learning. This could include:

      Early stage, emerging innovation in use of technology or approaches to learning

      Work to showcase vocational learning innovations to show learners and employers how the idea works in practice

      Large scale, near to market innovations which demonstrate how the use of digital tech can deliver adult vocational learning at significant scale.

      We want to see our funding make a significant difference to the number of people gaining skills and the way in which they learn. The projects we fund must have the potential to impact widely, on a large number of learners. Our aim is make a real change in the real world, so our focus is less on research than projects with real deliverables to the target audience.

      We are particularly interested in supporting projects focused on areas and sectors that are not generally well funded. 

    • Who is eligible for funding?

      We can only invest in projects run by a registered organisation. These may include: registered charities, community interest companies, social enterprises, not for profits, companies, community associations, FE colleges and public bodies.  We cannot fund individuals – individuals may apply but should have plans in place for the formation of a registered organisation in order that they can receive funding if their application is successful.

      Note that we will NOT fund projects for, or targeted at, schools or universities. This includes Degree Apprenticeships.

       

    • Which organisations do you not fund?

      We do not fund political parties, lobbying groups, schools or universities. We cannot fund individuals  - individuals may apply but should have plans in place for the formation of a registered organisation in order that they can receive funding if their application is successful. 

    • What types of projects won't you fund?

      We don't give funding for the following types of projects:

      • Basic digital skills - such as using Office or getting online
      • Life skills - such as CV building or time management
      • Projects where the beneficiaries are solely (or mainly) outside the UK
      • Research projects
      • Schools projects
      • Routine business or product development - unless you can clearly state how Ufi support would create an impact in the vocational skills arena which would not otherwise happen
      • Content conversion projects - unless you can clearly identify how you are using new forms of content to reach an otherwise unserved target audience or group of vocational learners 

    • What vocational issues are you interested in?

      Our focus is on helping adults gain the skills needed for work and supporting learners as they move through their careers, providing opportunities for lifelong learning and skills development that fit around work and life commitments.

      We are interested in new models of digital learning which offer increased flexibility, new approaches to learning, new ways of accrediting learning, new distribution models and new relationships with learning providers.

      Our driver is achieving a significant increase in the scale of learners accessing and engaging with vocational skills. Projects must show the potential for large scale impact, either at the point of delivery or as future potential.

      We are keen on approaches that have potential to work for learners who have disengaged with formal patterns of learning and open up access for learners who have been unable to fit into the traditional classroom model.

      We are particularly interested in supporting projects focused on areas and sectors that are not generally well funded.  This could include reaching out to industries and communities that are geographically too spread out to create a sustainable learning market with traditional methods.

    • What do you mean by ‘scalable’ projects?

      We will fund projects that can show real impact in the world of vocational learning, where our funding will make a significant difference to the number of people gaining skills and the way in which they learn.  This means projects that apply technology to affect many more learners than would otherwise be possible.  We are looking for digital tools, content and courses that could reach large target audiences of learning professionals or learners.

    • What types of technology are you interested in?

      We are looking for scale through technology. Rather than specific devices, we are after networks and mechanisms that have mass penetration. Technology in this sense can refer to networks (the web, cloud), software (e-learning, adaptive learning, simulation, e-books, video, audio, wikis, blogs, social networks etc) or hardware (desktops, tablets, mobile devices etc).

  • Deadlines

    • What are the timescales?

      When a funding round opens, applicants will have a 4-6 weeks to make their initial Stage 1 submission. Once the deadline has passed, we will consider submissions and notify all applicants within 4-6 weeks of our decision. Selected applicants who are asked to go forward to Stage 2 will be given a month in which to develop further more detailed proposals. These will then go forward to the Trustees for consideration. At that stage we will let you know the date of our final decision.

      It usually takes about 3-4 months from when we receive your initial Stage 1 application form until a final decision is reached. Please take this into account when planning your project.  

    • When can I apply?

      The start and end dates for our funding rounds will be advertised on our website and via our newsletter - so please sign up to keep in touch. It usually takes about 3-4 months from when we receive your initial Stage 1 application form until a final decision is reached. Please take this into account when planning your project.

  • Application Process

    • How can my organisation apply for funding?

      Details of any funding calls are published on our website as soon as they are announced. Register on our website to keep in touch and receive regular updates. New calls will also be announced on our Facebook page and on Twitter.

      Application is via a simple online process.  Register and create an account – then you can save your application and return to it at any time while the funding round is open.  

      The specific arrangements for current open funding calls are set out in detail on our Guidelines page, under the Application process and deadlines. Please check there for specific information on how to apply and the deadlines.

    • How can I track our application’s progress?

      All application forms successfully received are acknowledged with an automated email; and go forward to our evaluation process.  The application process will be different for each challenge fund - so check the fund guidance. Most funds will have a two stage process:

      After Stage 1 we will advise you by email whether your application has been chosen to forward to Stage 2.

      Stage 2 applications go through further evaluation and are submitted to the Ufi Board of Trustees for a final funding decision.

      You will be advised of the outcomes as soon as possible after the meeting of the Trustees. Please note that the only way to get to Stage 2 is by a successful application to Stage 1 of the process; and that not everyone who goes through to Stage 2 will be awarded funding.

      If there are aspects of your application that are unclear, or lacking in detail, we may get in touch to suggest a meeting or phone call to discuss these, but we do not normally contact applicants.  However, we will want to meet with you if you are applying for a more sizeable investment.

       

       

       

       

    • Do you meet applicants as part of your evaluation process?

      As a lean charity we try to avoid meetings. Before your application is presented to our Board of Trustees for consideration, it will have been reviewed by our team. If there are aspects of your application that are unclear, or lacking in detail, we may suggest a meeting or phone call to discuss these. It is also more likely that we will contact you if you are applying for a sizeable grant.

    • What information will you base your decision on?

      All applications for funding will be judged on how well they meet Ufi priorities.  Please look at our funding strategy – Learning Without Walls, funding criteria and FAQs to better understand what we are looking for and guide your application.  If you are applying in response to a specific call, your application will be assessed against the criteria set out for that call.

      We encourage applicants to attend a pre-application workshop (either on-line or in person) and to read the supporting information provided in the section of this website called ‘Information to help your application’. This will help you better understand our funding priorities, and help you present your project so it has the greatest chance of success.  Because we do not generally meet with applicants, our judgement is based upon the evidence which is supplied to us in the application form and you need to consider carefully how to complete the various sections to give your application the best chance of success.

      If we need more information from you before making a decision on your request, we will ask you. We will also undertake various due diligence checks to establish the authenticity of your organisation and application.  

    • If our application is rejected will you tell us why?

      Due to the large number of applications anticipated each year, we don't have the resources to feedback on each of the unsuccessful projects. We do try to provide a general overview of the decision making process after the results of Stage 1 are known.

       

    • What should we enter if we don't have a company or charity registration number?

      We ask for registration numbers so we can do background checks on the organisations we may fund. If you don't have a registration number please input 99999 into the 'Registered number' field. 

       

  • Technical questions

  • If our application is successful ..

    • When will we get paid?

      Grant payments will be made retrospectively.  We will ask you to fill in a grant claim form with evidence of eligible expenditure and project progress against the milestones we have agreed. However, where a good case can be made, Ufi is able to make upfront payments to organisations whose projects cannot go ahead without this.

    • Will we have to sign a contract?

      Yes. The contract will be in two parts: a set of terms and conditions for the award of grant and your project initiation document which details what your project is going to deliver.

    • Will Ufi come and visit us to see our project?

      We may come and see you during the life of your project. We will certainly keep in touch with you through regular monitoring and reporting as your project progresses. We aim to be an ‘active funder’, working with our projects to help them to succeed.

    • Can we meet other projects that Ufi fund?

       We think there is real value to be gained in encouraging  our projects to talk to each other and to look for synergies and opportunities for collaboration. We believe project networking also helps us deliver our aim of creating a community of developers and learnig providers that rae working at the cutting edge of learning technologies, helping vocational learning to become an attractive market.

      Therefore as a condition of funding projects must attend Ufi workshops. The workshops are designed to benefit projects and aid their development through collaboration and access to support. Workshops will vary for different challenge funds, so check the guidance and the criteria. In addition, where we spot potentially useful links between projects, we will suggest you get in contact.