Call for proposals: USO Education Innovation 2024

Utrecht University is committed to developing a to a future-proof educational culture focused on quality and innovation. Interfaculty projects that innovate and improve education are made possible annually by the Utrecht Education Incentive Fund (USO).

USO Innovation projects: Themes

This year, three themes have been defined in which projects up to €250,000 can be applied for.

Terms and conditions

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


Projects are carried out by consortia in which lecturers and others from different faculties work together.

Lecturers can apply as consortium members. If lecturers already have an idea and would like to be project leaders, they can apply as consortium leaders with a global idea. Consortium co-leadership is also a possibility.

We also invite students to apply with a project idea. They can find consortium leaders and members (lecturers) to form a consortium around their idea. As these are long-term projects, students themselves cannot act as consortium leaders or members. However, they can be given temporary employment as student assistants as part of the project.

The USO assessment committee selects consortium leaders and members. The committee invites the selected consortium leaders to record and share a video pitch. Based on this, (new) consortium members can join and consortia are formed.

During a meeting, consortium leaders and (potential) members engage with each other and some members of the assessment committee to further shape the project idea.

A consortium leader then submits a brief proposal (1st round) and later a detailed proposal and a pitch (2nd round).

You can apply as consortium leader or consortium member until 20 October at the latest, by submitting your motivation (300 words), reflection on the theme (300 words) and your teaching CV (max 2 A4). Consortium leaders also apply with an overall idea for their project and what the consortium should look like for a successful project (1 A4).

If you apply as a consortium member, you should discuss this in advance with your education director and supervisor. Consortium leaders additionally discuss this in advance with their vice dean of education and dean. The proposal is ultimately submitted by the dean of the coordinating faculty on behalf of the consortium. It is therefore important that the consortium leader informs them in good time.

During the project

Awarded projects normally start by September 2024. Annually, the consortium leader provides a progress report to the USO committee and a progress meeting takes place with several members of the committee and with the USO process supervisor from the CAT. After one year, based on the results and progress, there is a joint decision moment as to whether the consortium leader and the USO project want to commit to sustainable embedding of project results (internally or externally). If so, guidance on this is part of the process. In addition, annual intervision meetings with project leaders of other larger educational innovation projects are an integral part of consortium leadership.

Register as a consortium member or consortium leader via this form.

Evaluation criteria

Project proposals in round 1 and 2 will be assessed on the following criteria:

Strategy and innovative nature of the project (40%)

  • To what extent does the project aim to implement an innovative solution or ambitious improvement that meets a need at Utrecht University?
  • To what extent does the proposed solution differ from other initiatives at Utrecht University with the same objective?
  • To what extent does the project fit in with the chosen theme?
  • To what extent does the project match the Strategic Plan of Utrecht University?

Expected results of the project (30%)

  • Does the problem statement convincingly explain in which area of education an improvement is desirable and why?
  • Does the applicant make it plausible that the proposed innovation can lead to an improvement (for example, by using relevant literature and examples from practice)?
  • Are the intended benefits, such as learning outcomes and concrete products, clearly described? Are they of added value to students and possibly others?
  • What is the scope of the project? How many students, teachers, programmes, faculties are reached?
  • Does the applicant make it plausible that the project may also be of interest to others outside the consortium?

Quality of the project plan (30%)

  • Are the activities, methods and planning in the project plan clearly described and are they appropriate for achieving the intended results?
  • Do the project plan, the planning and a concise risk analysis convincingly demonstrate the feasibility of the project?
  • Have the planning and budget been drawn up realistically?
  • Does the project team have the required expertise to carry out the project? Are the various roles and responsibilities clear and appropriate?
  • Are the project activities and outputs adequately evaluated, using evaluation criteria and procedures?
  • Is the dissemination plan appropriate and sufficiently ambitious?

Application forms

All previously completed and ongoing USO projects can be found in the CAT Teaching and Learning Collection.

Want to know more? Read more about the Utrecht Education Incentive Fund or contact the Centre for Academic Teaching and Learning with questions at