Applications are now invited for the 2020-21 National Seminar Series. The National Seminar Series gives those working in higher education the opportunity to connect with colleagues and to focus on shared interests in both the research and practice of teaching and learning enhancement. The series also creates opportunities to hear from national and international experts in different areas of teaching and learning.

This year‚ the National Seminar Series will have four funding streams.

This call is now closed. View funded seminars.

Supporting institutions to implement the National Professional Development Framework for All Staff Who Teach in Higher Education is a key initiative of the National Forum which is supported by associated resources for professional development, including open-access professional development short courses though

This funding stream supports the implementation of the Professional Development Framework across Irish higher education. It will support seminars that enable:

  • middle and senior management to become familiar with the professional development framework to make informed, forward-thinking decisions about teaching and learning in their institutions.
  • discipline/programme teams to use the Framework to identify professional development needs and goals to develop staff capacity for change.
  • HR departments and staff development units to make connections between broader staff development initiatives, and teaching and learning enhancement activities
  • HE colleagues and professional bodies to identify and explore the synergies between their respective professional development frameworks
  • networking and peer learning opportunities guided by the Framework for those who are engaged in their own professional development.
  • delivery of professional development short courses leading to National Forum digital badges. Please check to view all available courses

This funding stream aims to support those who learn, teach, and support learning to consider the potential of digital technologies with the goal of enhancing learning, teaching, and overall digital capability. It will support seminars that:

  • enhance understanding of how staff and students are currently engaging with digital technologies, as well as their needs and concerns.
  • share innovation in learning, teaching and assessment with a focus on using technology to maximize learning impact.
  • support conversations around policy development in an open digital world.

Recognising that disciplines are a key unit of change in higher education, this funding stream focuses on disciplinary excellence in learning, teaching and assessment (DELTA). It will support seminars focused on one or more of the five elements of the National Forum DELTA Framework. The Framework aims to help heads and leaders of disciplinary units to capture, articulate and support teaching and learning enhancement plans through:

  • strategy and capacity building
  • learning design
  • teaching and learning practice
  • assessment of/for/as learning
  • evidence-based approaches

This funding stream provides the opportunity for higher education institutions, their schools and/or departments (academic or service) to discuss how the national understanding of student success can supported within their context and to share good practice within and between institutions. It will support seminars that:

  • foster dialogue across the sector regarding what constitutes student success in different contexts, for different student groups, and at different times in students’ learning journeys.
  • explore how to embrace student engagement in the articulation and realisation of student success.
  • share lessons learned on how data can be used to support student success.
  • explore innovation in learning, teaching and assessment approaches to support student success.
  • consider how institutions can be supported in the development of strategies for student success.

Application Process

It is anticipated that the National Seminar Series 2020/21 will include up to 50 seminars*. The range of funded seminars will reflect the broad range of topics associated with the four funding streams. We will fund submissions that best meet the application criteria listed below. We look forward to seminars that give those involved in higher education the space and opportunity to continue to meet and discuss with colleagues across the country.

Please note that only submissions that meet the eligibility criteria identified below will be considered for funding.

Please direct any queries to with the subject line, National Seminar Series 2020/21.

*Please note that in addition to seminars awarded funding during the 2020/21 series, it is expected that up to 40 seminars from the 2019/20 series, deferred due to the Covid-19 pandemic, will also take place during the period 1 October 2020- 30 June 2021.

Key Dates

  • 5pm Friday, 26 June 2020: Application deadline (online applications only)
  • Tuesday, 1 Sept 2020: Applicants notified whether they have been successful
  • TBC: Formal launch of National Seminar Series 2020/21
  • October 1 2020 – June 30 2021: National Seminar Series 2020/21 takes place

All seminars will be publicised on our website and through our social media channels. You are also advised to publicise them through your institutional channels.

The eligibility criteria for the National Seminar Series 2020/21 are:

  • Applicant must be a staff member at an institution associated with the National Forum.
  • Applications must have the acknowledged support of an eligible institution.
  • Applicants must be in a position to host a seminar between October 1 2020 and June 30 2021.
  • Applicants agree to gather participant feedback and return it to the National Forum. The National Forum will supply a survey link and a template.
  • Applicants agree to submit a seminar report to the National Forum using the supplied template.
  1. Relevance to the seminar funding stream
    • Does the seminar relate explicitly to the funding stream?
    • Does the seminar encourage debate within or across key aspects detailed above?
  2. Quality of submission
    • Is the submission complete?
    • Are the seminar‚ content and learning outcomes informed by ongoing developments in teaching and learning in higher education?
  3. National significance of seminar
    • Is the seminar of interest to participants outside the host institution and how will the organisers actively ensure that cross-sector participation will be achieved?
    • If the seminar is aimed at staff within an institution is this appropriate to the funding stream?

In addition, where the number of applications is high, the selection committee will be aiming to ensure:

  • A spread of seminars across the four key strategic priorities of the National Forum 2019-21
  • That seminars covering topics not included in past seminar series are prioritized for funding
  • Where a number of seminars on a very similar topic are submitted by different institutions, that only one seminar on the topic is funded
  • That all institutions have the opportunity to deliver at least one seminar that meets criteria 1-3 above
  • That no institution has a disproportionate number of seminars funded
  • That the seminar does not duplicate other opportunities to engage in conversations on the topic that would be available for staff during the academic year

Funding of up to €1000* is available to cover the costs of hosting a Face to Face seminar, which may include paying for a guest speaker and their associated travel/subsistence costs, catering costs, printing of promotional materials, marketing, printing of resource packs for your event and costs associated with recording the event.

Applicants who are planning to host an online only seminar are also eligible to apply for up to €1000* in funding but they must indicate the seminar is online only on the application form and provide a breakdown of the costs associated with the event (e.g., editing the recording and/or producing a publication after the event).

Additional funds may be available on a case-by-case basis for support such as Irish sign language interpretation. If you have streaming/recording costs that cannot be covered by the €1000 you can request a supplement to cover the costs of streaming/recording. A full quotation is required for any additional funding.

Funding cannot be used to purchase equipment or to buy out time from lecturers/staff employed at the hosting institution.

Where a seminar is collaboratively organised by more than one institution, one lead institution must be clearly identified. This institution will be responsible for managing the funding.

Funding can only be transferred to an institution associated with the National Forum.

*Details of eligible expenditure are available in the NSS funding guidelines document available here.