Call for proposals – Artificial intelligence in education

In recent months, the application of artificial intelligence in education has taken off, especially chatbots such as ChatGPT. Utrecht University believes it is important to explore how this technology can and should relate to UU education and is making funds available from the USO fund to explore this in a cross-faculty project.

AI chatbot technology touches education in three different ways, and all three present different perspectives:

  1. Students can use this technology to support their learning or use it to complete assignments, whether or not intended by the lecturer. Availability of AI chatbots has implications for learning activities and assessment. What opportunities for learning does AI technology create? What risks are there? How can we as UU deal with these opportunities and risks?
  2. Teachers can use AI chatbots to support their own teaching tasks. They can use chatbots to inspire teaching & learning design or use them to answer student questions, for example. In what ways can chatbots further support teachers and how does it help them in professionalisation? What opportunities and risks are there and how can we deal with them as UU?
  3. The field of work is changing with the availability of chatbots. Jobs and associated work tasks are changing. This means that after graduation, our students will start working in a work environment in which they might perform some of the work tasks with chatbot support. What skills will this require of our students? And what consequences could or should this have for UU education? How can we as UU deal with this?

All three of these perspectives are interesting to explore further, and we warmly invite applicants to submit proposals on one or more of the above perspectives, or even put another perspective at the centre.

We explicitly ask that the USO project make use of - or connect to - ongoing (faculty) projects and initiatives in the field of AI and education. The aim of this call is partly to bring together ongoing initiatives within UU.

The USO project can make use of an already existing support team that coordinates cooperation with the departments within the University Corporate Offices. Educational expertise is also available to contribute to the project.

Conditions

There is €250,000 available to implement projects on this theme. We welcome applications with a budget of €125,000 or €250,000. One or two projects can therefore be funded. Projects start in 2023.

These interfaculty USO projects with a duration of 2 to 3 years have a cross-faculty character and are therefore submitted by more than one faculty. We only honour projects that are not funded by the primary education process.

We want to reap the benefits of the project's revenues quickly and ask that the project description include an annual delivery of interim results.

Double funding is obviously not possible. However, it is possible to further expand already funded (faculty) projects using this fund.

Procedure

An application is written by a consortium, led by a consortium leader. A consortium co-leadership is also a possibility.

A meeting will be organised for anyone interested in this topic who might want to join a consortium or who would like to apply as a consortium leader. This meeting will take place on 23 May, from 10:30am to 12pm in the Buys Ballot Building in room 0.71. This is a good opportunity to forge a consortium and select a consortium leader for this purpose. Of course, you are also free to shape this outside this meeting.

During the meeting, you will be asked to share briefly how you are already working on Artificial Intelligence in education, and/or how you would like to contribute to a project.

If you would like to contribute as a consortium member or leader, but cannot attend the meeting, you may send a message to cat@uu.nl stating 'USO- Artificial Intelligence in Education', indicating how you would like to contribute to a project (as a consortium member, or leader; what activities would you like to contribute in the project?). We will share these during the meeting, allowing other participants to contact you to forge a consortium together.

If you want to become a consortium member, please discuss this first with your education director and manager. Consortium leaders inform their education director, manager, vice dean of education and dean before applying. This is important because the proposal is ultimately submitted by the dean. Consortium leaders are asked to send in a motivation (300 words), reflection on the theme (300 words), teaching CV (max 2 A4), project idea (max 1 A4), amount to be applied for and description of the desired consortium composition and already affiliated consortium members via the form below by 6 June at the latest.

Based on this, the USO assessment committee will invite a limited number of consortium leaders to develop a proposal (deadline 29 June). In doing so, the committee may also advise consortia to develop a joint proposal.

The invited consortium leaders can explain their proposal in a pitch on 7 July.

Register as a consortium leader via this form

Evaluation criteria

Project proposals will be assessed on the following criteria:

Expected returns from the project (50%)

  1. Does the problem exploration convincingly explain in which educational component a change is desired and why?
  2. Does the applicant make a plausible case that the proposed innovation can lead to an improvement or a relevant yield (e.g. using relevant literature and examples from practice)?
  3. Are the intended outputs, such as learning outcomes, vision formation or concrete products, clearly described?
  4. Are the intended proceeds of added value for students and/or teachers? Do they contribute to knowledge and vision formation on the use of AI Chatbots in education?
  5. What is the scope of the project? How many students, teachers, programmes, faculties are reached?
  6. Does the applicant make a plausible case that the project could also be of interest to others, outside the consortium?

Quality of the project plan (50%)

  1. Are the activities, methods used and planning in the project plan clearly defined and appropriate for achieving the intended benefits?
  2. Do the project plan, schedule and summary risk analysis convincingly demonstrate the feasibility of the project?
  3. Are the schedule and budget realistically prepared?
  4. Does the project team have the necessary expertise to carry out the project? Are the different roles and division of tasks clear and appropriate?
  5. Are project activities and outputs evaluated appropriately, using evaluation criteria and procedures?
  6. Is the dissemination plan (the plans for disseminating the results) appropriate and sufficiently ambitious?

Timeline and forms

  • 23 May 2023: information meeting and forming consortia
  • 6 June 2023: deadline application form consortium leader 
  • 29 June 2023: deadline application form
  • 7 July 2023: pitching of proposal to evaluation committee
  • September – December 2023: Start of the project.

Want to know more?

Read more about the Utrecht Stimulation Fund for Education here or contact the Centre for Academic Teaching and Learning with questions at cat@uu.nl.