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Challenge Fund

We are seeking to maintain an environment that promotes cost-effective learning opportunities through the communication of ideas, networking and engagement. We also seek to improve the impact of the learning network ethos, so that information reaches, interests and inspires new audiences.

The Learning Network Challenge Fund will support the learning network model. The fund is oriented towards the achievement of the Scottish Government’s housing and regeneration outcomes:

  • A well-functioning housing system
  • High quality, sustainable homes
  • Homes that meet people's needs
  • People live in socially, physically and economically sustainable communities.



The Challenge Fund is for small grants to support or sponsor events, best practice sharing, research or other learning network related activities. With an annual budget of up to £100,000, the Challenge Fund will allow more stakeholders to become directly involved in supporting the learning networks than has happened to date.

We do not envisage bids will be for more than £5,000 (although we do not intend to set a maximum), indeed we would encourage organisations to bid for smaller amounts in order that we can maximise the budget and thus receive more materials for sharing to a wider audience. Joint submissions will also be welcomed.


Who can apply?

The fund is open to all housing and regeneration stakeholders, including: community groups, housing associations, local authorities, independent network groups, specialist organisations and so on, and from other legally constituted bodies. We are unable to accept bids from individuals.  For 2015, we would particularly encourage bids from community groups/organisations looking to undertake small projects such as visits to other communities or perhaps small events.



Bids are sought for activities that will support our learning network ambitions. Particular regard will be given to bids that use innovative approaches to share information.

Bids may be across the spectrum of housing and regeneration and we ask that bid topics are aligned to the Scottish Government’s Housing and Regeneration outcomes.

The important factor is that activities supported by the challenge fund should have a visible output (such as a report or presentation materials) which can be published on the learning network webpages. As well as any publishable materials (presentations, hand-outs, etc), bidders will be required to produce a short evaluation of the activity undertaken to explain how useful it was in achieving the desired outcomes. This evaluation should also be made available for publishing.

Bidders should ensure that all bids promote equal opportunities.


How to bid

We are not currently accepting bids for this fund. To be notified when the next round of funding becomes available, send your details to LearningNetworksChallengeFund@gov.scot.


Appraisal process

After the closing date for accepting bids all submissions will be appraised using the following criteria:

  • Additionality. Is the bid likely to add significantly to existing knowledge or to the dissemination of information? (25%)
  • Relevance. To policy and wider outcomes. (25%)
  • Deliverables. What will be available for dissemination? (25%)
  • Innovation in practice. Does the bid use innovative techniques to share information? (25%)


Each criterion will be scored out of ten and a score of three or less in any of the first three criteria will result in the bid being immediately rejected. Once all bids have been sifted and a number rejected for failing to meet the criteria, scores will be divided by cost to give best value for money and then ranked. In each round, the ranked bids will each be awarded grant up to the point in the list where the funding is exhausted.

For further information and any queries regarding the application process, contact: LearningNetworkChallengeFund@gov.scot