Equity Frontiers

Our Trials and Evaluation Program’s Equity Frontiers initiative is dedicated to turning research findings into actionable solutions through rigorous testing and scaling. Here is what we are all about:


Collaboration and Innovation: We partner with universities to conduct trials, generating evidence-based insights to student equity practices.

Scaling Proven Approaches: We help institutions replicate and scale successful strategies for student equity, promoting widespread implementation.

Knowledge Sharing: We provide a centralised platform for trials information, offering public access to promote transparency and knowledge sharing in the sector.


Grant Opportunities for Small-Scale Trials

Our initiative supports approximately 20 small-scale trials led by universities, each lasting 12-18 months. We will be opening up two application rounds in April and August 2024, during which universities will receive invitations to apply for these grants.

Our funding model for small-scale trials involves co-funding, with both NCSEHE and partner universities sharing project costs. Funding ranges from $75,000 to $200,000, capped at $250,000. Here is the co-funding breakdown:

  • Partner university contributes at least 10% in cash (in-kind contributions are extra).
  • NCSEHE funds 90% of the trial’s total cost in cash.


Grant Opportunities for Large-Scale Trials

In July 2024, we will issue a Request for Quotation (RFQ) to commission two targeted large-scale trials, spanning 18-24 months and scheduled for execution between 2024 and 2025. These trials require extensive collaboration among multiple institutions and will undergo independent reviews.

For these targeted large-scale trials, costs are capped at $400,000, and the co-funding model is as follows:

  • Partner universities contribute a minimum of 20% in cash (with additional in-kind contributions).
  • NCSEHE provides 80% of the trial’s total cost in cash.


Grant Opportunities for Scale-up and Adoption Projects

In January 2025, we will extend an invitation to the sector, inviting applications for scaling up and/or adoption projects. These projects can originate from either successfully conducted small-scale trials or existing strategies that have demonstrated success.

All Table A universities are open to the NCSEHE’s grants opportunities for trials and scale-up projects. Please scroll down for a brief description of the types of trials funded through Equity Frontiers Grants.


Equity Frontiers Forums: Bridging Knowledge and Collaboration

At Equity Frontiers, we understand the importance of sharing knowledge to enhance student equity. That is why we host Equity Frontiers Forums, where trials investigators can openly exchange their research methodologies, data collection processes, and trial outcomes.

These forums offer valuable opportunities for peer review and constructive feedback. Peers, fellow investigators, and field experts critically assess methodologies and findings, validating research and pinpointing areas for improvement. Successful and unsuccessful trials offer valuable lessons, informing adaptations of strategies.


Trials in Equity Frontiers Grants

Trials funded through Equity Frontiers grants come in two forms:

  1. randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and
  2. quasi-experimental studies.

Quasi-experimental studies are more common due to their relevance to real-life student equity projects.

Regardless of the chosen approach, trials are scientific studies known for their quantitative nature, comparative methodology, and control measures. In trials, multiple interventions are tested by assigning them to different groups of participants. These interventions can encompass various support services aimed at promoting equity among participating students.

Trials aim to investigate the causal hypothesis of interventions by assessing their impact on specific outcomes such as student behaviour, attitude, awareness, aspirations, knowledge, and skills. Due to the often subtle effects of interventions, trials typically require large sample sizes to identify statistically significant impacts. The larger sample size is needed to ensure that observed differences between groups are genuine and not simply due to chance, especially when interventions are expected to have small effects.

Exemplar Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT) (197Kb)

Exemplar Quasi-experimental Study (149Kb)

Exemplar Pilot Evaluation (99Kb)

Funding for pilot evaluations falls outside the purview of the Equity Frontiers program, as such projects are financed within T&E’s What Works in Equity program.

The above exemplars will be included in the Application Pack to assist applicants in their application process.