The Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS), which aims to develop excellent and sustainable FE provision across the sector, has launched two new schemes for research grants and bursaries totalling £330,000.
The two strands of research grants, the LSIS Leadership Practitioner Research Programme 2009-10 and the LSIS Bursary Scheme, will give FE practitioners much needed backing to carry out their own research.
The LSIS Leadership Practitioner Research Programme will fund up to ten leadership-themed research projects, with each being allocated £20,000.
Margaret Collinson of Lancaster University Management School, which will direct the programme, said: "I am delighted to announce the launch of this new programme, which builds on the previous four years practitioner research that has resulted in the publication of 60 practitioner research reports in 12 edited volumes. Not only have these projects provided an excellent opportunity for personal development, they have also had a significant impact on researchers’ institutions and local communities."
The £130,000 LSIS Bursary Scheme will run in partnership with the Institute for Learning (IfL) to fund research "that can be translated into practical messages to help teachers develop as professionals and ensure that every learner has an excellent learning experience", according to a statement.
"This bursary scheme is looking for projects that examine ways that the learning and skills sector can respond to the economic downturn and prepare for recovery, but also welcomes other topics."
LSIS research manager Sheila Kearney commented: "LSIS is keen to encourage the growth of practitioner research firstly to help us add to the evidence base about improvement with good research that is grounded in practice and makes sense in the classroom. Secondly we believe that using and conducting research is vitally important in helping raise the status and professionalism of teachers and others working in the sector.
"We’re encouraging practitioners in the sector with a research idea to express an interest in either scheme. The research idea may be aimed at improving something in an institution, for personal development or it may be a contribution to a collaborative project, but we want to fund projects that can produce learning for the whole sector. We want to hear about research ideas that support improvement in learning and skills and make a positive difference to learners’ experiences."