If you have an idea and want to talk it through, why not email us at explore@nuigalway.ie and we can give advice and guidance.

To apply for a collaborative student and staff project, click on the EXPLORE application form.

To give you some inspiration, click here to see some of the projects we currently support. 

What is the purpose of EXPLORE?

The purpose of EXPLORE is to:

  • Encourage innovation, enterprise and creativity at NUI Galway
  • Foster staff-student collaboration as equal partners
  • Develop transferable skills which benefit staff, students and the University

Who can take part in EXPLORE?

Any NUI Galway student or staff member can take part in EXPLORE. So that means undergraduate or postgraduate students; academic, administrative or other staff – full or part time.

How much funding is available?

Successful projects are awarded up to a maximum of €900.

What can funds be spent on?

EXPLORE funding can be used to purchase materials and services and facilitate meetings, all of which must be related to the implementation of projects. Any materials bought for EXPLORE projects remain the property of NUI Galway. Funding cannot be used to pay students or staff on the project team.

Who reviews the project applications?

A panel comprised of representatives from NUI Galway and the Students’ Union makes the final decision on EXPLORE applications.

How are funds transferred?

Funding is transferred to the NUI Galway departmental account as nominated by the staff partner. Funds are not transferred immediately. Project teams must provide project updates.

What are the benefits for students?

EXPLORE gives students the opportunity to:

  • Bring their idea to life
  • Boost their CV and transferable skills
  • Initiate change and improve the campus or community
  • Work with staff as equal partners outside of the traditional staff-student structure

What sorts of projects ideas are funded?

The idea for a project can come from either staff or students and can be based on any innovative topic that benefits NUI Galway or the wider community. Projects are often inspired by coursework, research, current affairs, interests, hobbies, societies and clubs. EXPLORE funds both non-profit and for-profit projects.

Does EXPLORE fund projects that are graded or part of a student’s coursework?

EXPLORE does not fund projects that are a direct, assessed part of coursework unless the proposed project application goes well beyond the scope of the original assignment. If your project is a graded assignment, please talk to us before considering submitting an application. An example of a proposal which would not be funded is a final year project. Each proposal will be assessed on its own facts.

What are the reporting requirements?

Each project team needs to provide three short updates about their work during the duration of their project, and to produce a mini case story when their project is coming to an end. Receipts are also required for purchases made using EXPLORE funding.

What other commitments are there?

Student and staff should agree to share their project’s findings with a wider university audience. They are also expected to attend events at the beginning and end of the academic year. Participants’ feedback on their experience is also key in finding ways to improve EXPLORE going forward.

Are there similar initiatives around Irish universities?

EXPLORE was inspired by successful student engagement initiatives at a number of UK universities, particularly at Birmingham City University. Whereas the UK focus has mainly been around strengthening teaching and learning, EXPLORE emphasises innovation and staff-student partnership. EXPLORE is the first such initiative at an Irish university.

How do EXPLORE project groups share the outcomes of their projects?

It is vital that EXPLORE participants share what they have been doing with the wider campus community, and possibly further afield. It’s up to each project group to work out how best to do this. Some suggestions may include: uploading learning tools to Blackboard, presenting research findings to relevant departments, sharing findings with relevant academics and student groups, promoting projects on School/College webpages and through emails, developing dedicated online resources about projects, social media, writing press releases, contacting relevant external organisations, distributing information packs around campus etc.

What’s so different about EXPLORE?

What makes this programme unique is its commitment to an equal partnership between students and staff, as opposed to the traditional staff-student relationship, and the fact that projects are not generally a part of regular coursework. The EXPLORE initiative is also very broad in scope, giving students and staff a blank canvas to work from.  Its also a flexible project, working to serve the needs of our community on campus and on other campuses.

What additional supports are there?

Students and staff will be offered a series of opportunities to meet other EXPLORE participants and share experiences in an informal setting over the period of the scheme. The EXPLORE team also supports projects to market their projects on campus and to develop their sustainability.

Can previous participants apply for a new project?

Yes, previous participants can reapply, but the application must be for an entirely new project.

EXPLORE gives students and staff the opportunity to trial a new idea. The EXPLORE team are very happy to work with projects to develop their sustainability and approach additional funders. If further funding is required to run existing EXPLORE projects, support should be sought from the relevant School, College or elsewhere.

Can students and staff participate in the more than one project simultaneously?

Yes, students and staff can take part in up to two EXPLORE projects at the same time. It is up to individuals to assess their workload and gauge how much time they have to spend working on an EXPLORE project.

What are the chances of getting funding?

This of course primarily depends on the quality of each application. EXPLORE is about new ideas and innovations, we are keen to support this.

What’s the average length of an EXPLORE project?

EXPLORE projects are different, so there’s no average duration. Some projects may be completed in three months, while others may run over the entire academic year.

How much time will the team have to spend on the project?

It depends entirely on the project and the participants. Some groups may work on their project regularly every week, whereas other project groups may decide to work on it intensively over a certain period. Around exam time, it is common for students and staff to take a break from working on EXPLORE. Before applying to EXPLORE, applicants are likely to have a good idea of the steps required to carry out their project and the time involved.

What about the IP (Intellectual Property Rights) of projects?

It is expected that the results of EXPLORE projects (for example, products, services, research findings etc.) will be shared freely at NUI Galway at no cost.

Before starting work on an EXPLORE project, student and staff partners may wish to draw up an agreement via email outlining project ownership with the percentages to be decided by an independent referee. Participants may wish to agree that any party that gives up interest or becomes inactive on the project for six months automatically gives up all interest in the project. It is advised that students and staff who are thinking of applying for funding, but have questions on IPR, should contact the EXPLORE by email at explore@nuigalway.ie

Who supports EXPLORE?

EXPLORE is managed by the Technology Transfer/Innovation Office at NUI Galway, with support from Galway University Foundation. Through the years it has had great support from the NUI Galway Students’ Union, the University’s Student Projects Fund, the Office of the Vice-President for Innovation and Performance, and sponsors such as Chanelle, Galway County Council and Galway City Council.


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