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Got a question about the EdTech Innovation Fund and the types of projects we're looking to support? Read our frequently asked questions to see if we've answered it here, or email us at [email protected] with any additional queries.

The funding period will last from 12 November 2019 to 31 March 2021.

What is the EdTech Innovation Fund?

This fund is a grant funding programme funded by Nesta and the Department for Education as part of the Department’s Education Technology Strategy. The £4.6m partnership includes £3.5m funding from the Department for Education, and £1.1m support from Nesta.

The EdTech Innovation Fund will support grantees with up to £100,000 to develop their products and build the evidence base for what works across four challenge areas:

  • Formative assessment
  • Essay marking
  • Parental engagement
  • Timetabling.

What support will funded projects get?

Projects will receive up to £100,000 and will benefit from Nesta’s direct support and advice. They will be able to access non-financial support from Nesta or partners depending on their individual needs. Non-financial support could include advice on measuring impact, marketing or product development.

Who can apply?

The fund will target a range of organisations, including social enterprises, charities and private enterprises. You must satisfy our eligibility criteria. Products should be able to be delivered within schools and colleges in England and be working on one of four challenges:

  • Formative assessment
  • Essay marking
  • Parental engagement
  • Timetabling.

Organisations should be committed to improving teaching and learning through decreasing teacher workload and ultimately improving student outcomes.

What can the funds be used for?

  • Direct project costs
  • Related staff costs
  • Evaluation
  • Limited amount of project-related marketing costs (this will be considered individually for each project and will be capped at a maximum of 7% of the total grant costs)
  • Programme and business development

Please note that Nesta can only fund projects that advance our charitable objects for public benefit.

What kind of project are you looking for?

We are looking for digital tools that aim to improve teaching and learning through decreasing teacher workload and improving student outcomes. Products should be able to be delivered within schools and colleges in England and be working on one of four challenges:

  • Formative assessment
  • Essay marking
  • Parental engagement
  • Timetabling.

We are particularly interested in organisations who use evidence in the design and delivery of their intervention and are keen to develop and refine their approach to measuring their impact. See the full selection criteria for applications.

Can I apply for more than one challenge area?

Yes, although we encourage applicants to think about which challenge the funding would be supporting and what the main outcomes of the funding are for. We will be shortlisting applications across all four challenge areas together and do not have a minimum or maximum amount of funding for each area.

What are the desired outcomes of the EdTech Innovation Fund?

Desired outcomes for organisations are:

  1. Funded organisations have improved their delivery and increased their reach in England.
  2. Funded organisations have improved their evaluation and have a better understanding of what works and what impact the product has on desired outcomes.

Desired outcomes from products include:

  1. Decreased teacher workload
  2. Improved flexible working for teachers
  3. Improved assessment for students
  4. Improved student outcomes

Insights and recommendations will be collated and published by Nesta to inform the sector.

My project already receives funding from another source - can I still apply?

We are open to fund additional activities within an existing project/projects that receive additional funding, as long as the proposals clearly demonstrate the added value of Nesta funds and explicitly show what the Nesta-funded component of the project is.

Do you require my project to be match funded?

No, we don’t require match funding to be eligible for this fund. However, we will be looking at how your product/project will be funded and whether match funding could be beneficial.

While we do aim to stimulate the EdTech market, as an independent charity we also need to understand how you will use any funding we provide to achieve public benefit. In the case of for-profit organisations, we would like to know how you intend to use any profits derived as a result of our funding to support the improvement and evaluation of your product for the public benefit.

Can I also apply for your Solving Together Fund?

Yes, organisations that meet the selection criteria for the Solving Together Fund can also apply for that funding round. Applicants should carefully read the criteria and FAQs for both funds before applying. Applications to each fund will be considered separately.

What is the difference between the Solving Together Fund and the Edtech Innovation Fund?

The Solving Together Fund is specially for work on parental engagement in the field of maths. The grant funding and non-financial support period is 6 months and the fund is open to organisations across the UK. This fund is part of Maths Mission, a broader programme tackling challenges in maths. There are 2 grants available of £20,000 and the grants are open to early-stage interventions as detailed above.

The Edtech Innovation Fund is open to technology products across four challenge areas - formative assessment, essay marking, parental engagement and timetabling. Products can be early or later-stage and can be applicable to any area of the curriculum (where applicable). The grant funding will be for up to £100,000 and the funding and non-financial support period is for up to 18 months. Organisations can be from outside the UK, but products must be applicable to the English education system. This is part of a partnership between Nesta and the Department for Education to support technology in schools.

Please note organisations are able to apply for both funds if they meet both selection/eligibility criterias. There is a separate application process for each fund detailed on the fund page.

If we are already at mid/late-stage development for our EdTech product do we still qualify? Or is it just for products in the early stages of development?

We are open to products at all stages of development as long as products are ready to be used in schools or colleges in England. We will be looking for products that are able to be delivered to more than location in England and are looking to scale. Products will also need to be able to demonstrate how they are committed to growing and further understanding their impact. Find out more about our selection criteria.

What is the expectation regarding evidence and evaluation?

We will be looking for applicants who have a clear and accurate sense of where their product/organisation is on the Nesta Standards of Evidence and a clear plan and ambition to improve their impact measurement procedures.

Evidence generation is a journey and expectations of evidence should be commensurate with a tool’s development. Therefore, we do not have any fixed requirements for the level or type of evidence that an organisation already has. Some of the kinds of evidence that could be included are: a clear logic model, qualitative feedback, use of existing research, pre/post testing, impact evaluations. We are interested in organisations that are committed to improving their evidence at whatever stage is appropriate for their product.

Are there any other requirements?

  • You must demonstrate your experience of working with digital technologies and are passionate about the potential benefits of technology in the education system.
  • You must keep accurate records of your expenditure of the grant and comply with Nesta’s monitoring requirements.
  • You must be committed to taking part in non-financial support.
  • Nesta is committed to evaluating the impact of its grant-making processes over the medium-term, so you should be willing to participate in a follow-up survey or informal conversation about the progress of your initiative up to three years after your application.