Widening Participation Annual Fund


  1. Overview
  2. Call for Proposals
  3. Application Details
  4. Funded Projects - January 2016
  5. Contact


Widening Participation (WP) students are defined in the National Strategy for Equity of Access to Higher Education as follows:

  • Students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds, with the following focus: underrepresented socio-economic groups; DEIS school; progression on basis of FETAC award; EU tertiary education attainment rate; % of grant holders on special rate; participation on basis of relevant postcodes.
  • Full-time and part-time mature entrants
  • Students with a disability and specific targets for students with combined sensory-physical disability; physical/mobility disability; deaf/hard of hearing; blind/vision impairment.
  • Part-time/flexible provision
  • Travellers

Applications are invited for projects that support WP students by encouraging:

  • Innovation in widening participation activities within DIT
  • Changes in academic or non-academic practice or support strategies
  • Collaborative/comparative activities eg between DIT Schools/Colleges/TU4D institutions/ different WP student groups and/or external communities etc
  • Development of a research knowledge base around effective WP practice within HE

Examples of activities/initiatives that can support WP students include: peer mentoring, pastoral supports, tailored academic supports, student engagement activities, outreach activities including curriculum-based or volunteering activities by students and/or staff with pupils in schools. WP students can benefit from supports at a range of stages, including outreach, recruitment, transition to HE, retention/progression, and as part of the overall student experience. 

Specific examples of such projects might include: setting up a social club for students with Asperger’s Syndrome (wider application = learning regarding models for supporting a range of WP students by promoting increased social interaction); setting up formal peer mentoring structures for WP students (wider application = piloting targeted interventions which can then become universal supports to increase engagement and retention); evaluating a redesign of a programme to accommodate students with severe disabilities (wider application = contributing to knowledge regarding WP across the HE sector); setting up an outreach collaboration programme within a module for students to engage with local children from socio-economically disadvantaged schools around their discipline (wider application = piloting model for curriculum-based outreach and engagement, and enhancing student learning).

Call for Proposals

It is planned to issue a Call for Proposals twice in each academic year. There is no current Call for Proposals.

Past call for proposals are included below:

Application Details

Applications are submitted to w.participation@dit.ie.

Applications must follow the format of the application form, which is made available in this section. 

Past application forms are included below:

Funded Projects - January 2016

Six projects were funded in January 2016 (based on call issued in November 2015 for submission in December 2015). These projects are:

Engaging Connections; Creating Connections; Realising Opportunities

Ian Roller, Access and Civic Engagement

This project seeks to develop practical, discipline based workshops as part of a youth engagement programme involving junior cycle students from socio-educationally disadvantaged schools in the Grangegorman area. The workshops are intended to sow a seed in students' minds regarding opportunities at third level, across a range of disciplines.

Graduate Mentors

Claire McDonnell, School of Physics

This project seeks to develop a mentoring programme involving graduates from the Optometry programme in DIT and students on the programme who come from backgrounds where there is not a strong tradition of progression through higher education. The graduate mentors will be asked to meet with the students at least once a semester until the student reaches semester two of final year.

Portfolio Preparation

Jennifer Boyer, School of Architecture

This project seeks to support students in developing portfolios as part of the application process for the Architecture and Architecture Technology programmes, specifically targeting applicants who would not otherwise have the resources or raw materials to form and include in a portfolio as part of the entry and application process to the programmes. The course itself offers applicants an opportunity to engage with current students and lecturers in the School.

Idea Camp

John O'Connor, College of Arts and Tourism

This project promotes life-long creativity as an essential element of a well-rounded education, and seeks to engage local schools and community groups in Ireland’s first ever academy of creative play. The Idea Camp has a simple mission to help children, prospective students and current students and organisations to develop a way to create and to express their talents. The Idea Camp specificlly aims to have a lasting year round impact on DIT and the wider environs of Grangegorman and Dublin North City area.

Development and Piloting of a TU 4 Dublin Junior Scientist Badge with a Youth Service in an Underserved Community

Vanessa Murphy, School of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences

This project seek to develop a suitable syllabus for a Junior Scientist TU4Dublin badge which will be adaptable for the 8 to 11 and the 12 to 14 age brackets, to be piloted between September-December 2016 with a community partner in an under-served community. The approach is related to the Science Investigator badge that runs within the Irish Girl Guides and Brownies and will also bring in elements of the Royal Society of Chemistry Global Experiment.

Science Bridge: Building Virtual Bridges

Christine O'Connor and Barry Ryan, School of Food Science and Environmental Health

The project seeks to break down barriers for second level students and further education students and to support mature students in entering the first year of a science programme in DIT, by developing resources which address the perception among many widening participation groups that third level Science is too difficult. The resource will be a website in the style of a MOOC with various elements to support learners, including Short student prepared vignettes on scientific topics; tutorial calculations using podcasts or screen casts and interactive quizzes and educational games.


Please direct any queries to w.participation@dit.ie or your College's Head of Learning Development. 

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