Teaching and Learning Grants

MacPherson Institute awards teaching and learning grants (up to $2,000) to fund projects to improve the quality of students’ learning. The grant process is designed to encourage scholarly investigation, development or implementation of a project that enhances McMaster students’ educational experience.

The deadline for grant applications is March 18, 2019.

For all questions related to teaching and learning grants, send an email to migrants@mcmaster.ca


Applicant Eligibility

Applicant Eligibility
  • Anyone in an educational role at McMaster University can apply for grants (e.g., faculty, instructional assistants).
  • McMaster University students are welcome to apply as collaborators on grant applications; however, the Project Supervisor must be a university faculty or staff member.
  • Sessional and contract faculty are eligible to apply for MacPherson Institute grants provided they will be working at McMaster for the duration of the grant.


Project Eligibility

Project Eligibility
  • Grants will not be awarded to projects involving instructional tasks expected to fall within normal teaching responsibilities of a course, department, or Faculty (e.g., updating course content, preparing reading lists, developing and assessing course intended learning outcomes, etc.).
  • Some past projects have focused on empirical classroom research, such as introducing a new teaching technique and measuring the statistical changes in student learning through midterm and exam scores. Other projects, have involved the creation of new student resources (such as a website, handbook, etc.) with the goal of improving the quality of students’ education.



  • Applications will be adjudicated by a multi-disciplinary peer-review committee facilitated by MacPherson Institute staff. The committee will normally consist of two past teaching and learning grant recipients, two McMaster faculty members, an instructional staff member, and two MacPherson Institute members. The MacPherson Institute members sit on the committee in a facilitative capacity only and do not participate in the adjudication process.
  • The Committee is multi-disciplinary in nature, so please avoid using specialized disciplinary language (i.e., jargon).
  • The peer review committee will use a standardized evaluation form to rank the applications. The evaluation will be based directly on the guidelines outlined in the ‘Application Format’ section above. All elements of the ‘Application Format’ section should be included, preferably using the sub-headings we have suggested.
  • Applications that are missing one or more of these elements may not be considered for funding.


Submission Requirements

Submission Requirements
  • It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure the application is complete and all conditions are met (e.g., requisite comments and signatures are included). Normally, applications will consist of the application form, the written application, and any literature references and necessary appendices. Incomplete applications will not be considered. All communications regarding these grants can be hand delivered or directed to migrants@mcmaster.ca
  • If the deadline falls on a weekend or statutory holiday, the deadline will be extended to noon on the next business day.
  • Late submissions will not be accepted under any circumstances. Only complete application forms will be forwarded to the peer review committee. Statements of support from the appropriate individuals must be included on the application form to be considered complete.
  • Grant applications may be submitted either in hard-copy to the MacPherson Institute (Mills Library, Room 504) or in digital form, as a single pdf, emailed to migrants@mcmaster.ca with the subject ‘Teaching & Learning Grant Application – SURNAME’, where SURNAME is the last name of the Project Supervisor.


Instructions for Submitting Grants Electronically

Instructions for Submitting Grants Electronically
  • Project Supervisor (i.e., applicant) completes the electronic form with name, title, brief description of project, and amount requested. No physical signature is required. The Project Supervisor saves the partially completed form and emails the application form and the written application to their chair/director.
  • The chair/director reads the written application and completes their portion of the application form on page 2 (in addition to what the applicant had completed). No physical signature is required. The chair/director emails the application form to back to the applicant.
  • The applicant compiles the entire application (including application form, written application, and any necessary appendices) in one PDF document, and emails the file to migrants@mcmaster.ca by 4:30pm on the deadline date. In order for the application to be complete, the email message must be cc’d to the chair/director. If applicable, other collaborators on the project team can be cc’d on the email.


Application Format

 Application Format
  • Applicants for teaching and learning grants should prepare a written application (single spaced in 12 point Times New Roman font, with 1 inch margins) to be submitted with the application form.
  • The maximum length for small grant applications is five pages, not including references and appendices.

Introduction—Briefly, what do you plan to do, and why do you plan to do it?

  • Include a clearly stated research question or teaching and learning challenge you will be addressing in your project
  • Succinctly introduce how you plan to contribute to improved student learning
  • Communicate the importance and need for the project.

Rationale and Project Goals—What are the reasons you chose this project, and what do you hope to accomplish?

  • Provide a rationale for the work that you intend to complete. Describe any teaching or learning problems that have led you to this project (could be inferences or observations made while teaching)
  • Outline the objectives/outcomes as they relate to the research question or teaching and learning challenge
  • Describe the proposed teaching and learning activities

Literature Review and Alternatives Considered—What is already known in your discipline about your project? Or in other fields? What other approaches did you consider?

  • Demonstrate you have consulted scholarly literature to determine if a similar learning problem exists at other institutions or in other contexts.
  • Explore other approaches that could solve the learning problem
  • Develop an argument to support your particular solution

Methods and Timeline—When and how do you plan to accomplish your project objectives?

  • Outline the processes for the project, including methods of collecting data or evaluating the efficacy of your proposed solution
  • Provide a timeline for the completion of each stage of the project
  • Ensure that the project deals with the problem in a realistic way, so that it stands a reasonable chance of being completed and evaluated.

Budget—How do you anticipate your funding will be spent?

  • Present the budget required to support the project and provide justification (refer to the MacPherson Institute’s posted budget guidelines for personnel and other fundable expenses)
  • If applicable, estimate the continuing operating and capital costs of the project. Describe how the costs will be covered.

Impact—How will student learning be impacted? How will this initiative be sustained?

  • Indicate how many students, faculty and/or teaching assistants will be impacted by this project.
  • Indicate the potential application of the project to other courses, departments and Faculties.
  • Discuss how this project will be extended beyond the one-year funding.

Evaluation and Dissemination—How will you evaluate whether student learning has improved? How will others find out about your results?

  • State how the results will be analyzed, and how outcomes will be assessed
  • Demonstrate a plan of how others will find out about your project and its results (consider the departmental, institutional, and national/international levels)


Ethical Considerations

Ethical Considerations

    Any grant application where there is research involving human subjects must be approved by the appropriate ethics board (McMaster Research Ethics Board or Hamilton Health Sciences/McMaster Faculty of Health Sciences Research Ethics Board). Ethics Board approval is normally sought once the project has been successfully funded.




Each project application must be accompanied by a itemized budget. Ensure you provide sufficient justification of your budget items so the reviewers can understand the need. The grant is intended to provide seed money and is not to support ongoing expenses. When using project funds to hire personnel, McMaster University will be the employer; therefore Project Supervisors must pay appropriate wages and benefits at established rates. Please see the suggested pay guidelines. When hiring students as research assistants, consider securing supplementary funding through , for example, the McMaster Work Programs (Ontario Work Study Program, McWork, or International Student Work).As part of the dissemination process, we encourage grant winners to consider presenting their findings at local, national, or international conferences or symposia. Conference registration fees may be included in the budget, to a maximum of 15% of the overall budget. Travel, accommodation and food expenses for conferences are not eligible expenses for teaching and learning grants.Incentives (financial or rewards, such as gift cards) are often used to encourage participation in a study. The MacPherson Institute will normally support financial rewards up to $10 per participant, to a maximum of 15% of the budget. Draws for larger prizes (such as iPods, cash, gift cards) are acceptable as long as the value of the prize does not exceed $10 per participant on average or 15% of the total budget. Each application will be assessed on an individual basis.Budget guidelines can be found in the table below. In-kind support from departments or Faculties for budget items such as photocopies, administrative support, technical support, etc. is strongly encouraged and appreciated.In most cases, applications where the majority of the budget is allocated to equipment purchase will not be funded. Some modest equipment purchases may be included in the budget, provided they are necessary for the project. The MacPherson Institute owns some equipment that may be borrowed to reduce expenses (e.g., voice recorders, video cameras). Other ineligible expenses include:

  • reimbursement to faculty members;
  • journal subscriptions;
  • professional memberships;
  • off-campus commercial services*;
  • purchase of alcohol for focus groups or similar meetings; and,monies to support normal instructional tasks, such as updating course content or preparing bibliographies.

For clarification, please contact migrants@mcmaster.ca* On campus services should be used if available.

Budget Guidelines

Budget Guidelines

Budget Guidelines for MacPherson Institute Awards & Grants (Last Updated: Winter 2015)

Undergraduate Student
Graduate Student

If you intend to hire employees other than undergraduate students as part of your grant application (such as research assistants, graduate students), please consult the McMaster Temporary and Casual Pay Guide – the current appropriate wages.Benefits for Temporary or Casual EmployeesBenefits (e.g., CPP, EI, vacation pay) for temporary or casual employees must be included in the submitted budget. The current rate is approximately 14.5%.Other Frequently Encountered Costs

Fundable Item Typical Costs
Poster Printing (McMaster Media Production Services) $150 per poster
Transcriptionist $30 per hour, or $1 per 100 transcribed words in an interview; $1.50 per 100 words transcribed in a focus group(no benefits required)
Photocopying (McMaster PrintSmart) 4.5¢ per page (b&w)17¢ per page (colour)
Optical Mark Reader Scan Sheets 15¢ per page (for purchase in multiples of 500)
Refreshments for focus groups or similar meetings $10 per person


Reports and Dissemination

I am text block. Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Project Time Period

Project Time Period

    • Normally, teaching and learning grants are funded and completed in a twelve month period. If your grant will not be completed in that time frame you must provide an explanation in your application. If your project plan changes after funds are made available and you will not complete your activities within the twelve month period you must seek an extension from the Institute.If Digital Media Services are a part of your application, please contact miietlgrants@mcmaster.ca in advance of your application submission to ensure your resource expectations and timelines can be accommodated should your grant application be successful.



Useful Resources

Useful Resources

  • For general assistance in the preparation of your application, consider consulting with an Educational Consultant. Contact miietlgrants@mcmaster.ca or ext. 24540 to book an appointment.
  • Applicants may find the Research on Teaching & Learning Guidebook published by the MacPherson Institute helpful in preparing their applications. Alternatively, this guidebook is available for purchase from the MacPherson Institute at a cost of $10. Contact miietlgrants@mcmaster.ca or ext 24540 for more information.
  • MacPherson Institute offers high quality digital media services (animation, website creation, online demonstrations, online tutorials, etc.) for the purpose of improving instruction at McMaster University. It is expected you will use these services for projects involving the creation of digital media products (click here for Digital Video Services). Please contact migrants@mcmaster.ca prior to the submission of your Teaching & Learning Grant application if you plan to employ the digital media services.Project Application