URB@N stands for ‘Undergraduate Research Bursaries at Northampton’. It is a bursary scheme offering opportunities for current undergraduate students to participate in a pedagogic research project taking place at the university. It was piloted on a small scale in 2009, and has been growing annually since then.
URB@N enables undergraduate students to be funded to work with academics as ‘novice researchers’ on pedagogic projects. Each project has a named academic leader who acts as supervisor. Rather than being discipline-focussed, research projects are centred on learning and teaching and are explored through student voices. Academic staff members from schools across the institution and partner colleges, are encouraged to propose research questions which have the potential to benefit the department, school and/or institution and which will ultimately impact positively on the student experience.
Under the guidance of the academic supervisor, students who are successfully selected for the scheme are involved in the design, data collection, analysis and dissemination of the research. On successful completion of the project, students receive a tax-free bursary payment of £500.
Some examples of the topic areas investigated in previous projects have included:
- student experience of transition into university
- student use of assessment feedback
- issues surrounding seminar participation
- student engagement with employability
- student use of technology enhanced learning
- inclusivity in the curriculum
- the learning needs of international students
The URB@N scheme runs each year at the University of Northampton, culminating in the presentation of work at the annual learning and teaching conference.