Challenge Fund: £440,000 to support therapeutic radiography programmes

Published: 29 July 2019 Ezine

A new virtual reality tool developed by the University of Leeds, which aims to promote healthcare courses to prospective students, including therapeutic radiography, is one of 10 innovative projects awarded a total of £440,000 by the Office for Students (OfS) this summer.

The funding is the final round of the Challenge Fund competition run by the OfS as part of the Strategic Interventions in Health Education Disciplines (SIHED) programme.

The objective is to increase the number of students entering and completing small, specialist healthcare courses considered to be vulnerable due to decreasing recruitment and retention. An additional £480,000 worth of resources has also been committed by participating universities and partners.

The project at Leeds, awarded more than £45,000, aims to use virtual reality technology and educational workshops to engage school students in a range of simulated clinical scenarios, to respond to real-life challenges through the eyes of healthcare professionals. The project will also use online mentoring to support student university applications, with an emphasis on recruiting more male students to healthcare courses.

Other awards include:

  • The University of Chester - £40,000 to develop an online tool to help students who unsuccessfully applied to allied health courses to build their skills, so they can reapply successfully the following year.
  • The University of Huddersfield - £50,000 for student-led, multidisciplinary clinics to raise awareness of allied health disciplines, as well as public health issues and interdisciplinary approaches among students
  • Sheffield Hallam University - £45,000 to use video and ‘shadowing’ simulations at recruitment events to help prospective students choose the right radiography course for them

Suzanne Rastrick, the chief allied health professions officer for England said, “These projects provide a multidisciplinary approach to address the real challenges faced today in recruiting and retaining the next generation of healthcare professionals.

“They will help increase the number of people considering AHP careers, support those who have commenced pre-registration AHP courses to complete their studies, and provide alternatives to address some of the challenges associated with clinical placement capacity. I look forward to seeing the impacts of this work.”

More information about the awards’ second round.

More information about the first round of awards.