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Q Exchange is a funding programme that offers Q members the chance to apply for up to £40,000 of funding for their improvement ideas.

Q Exchange activates the collective wisdom of the Q community, channelling resources into ideas with the greatest potential to create impact across the health and care system. Q members from across the UK and Ireland can develop and refine their improvement ideas through the online collaborative process with input from the community.

Here you can find out about how the programme works, the requirements and information about ways to get involved.

What is the theme for Q Exchange 2022?

This year we are seeking project ideas on the theme:

Bringing together the worlds and methods of improvement and digital, to enable better outcomes and faster, more sustainable change 

Why we have chosen this theme

Improvement approaches have the potential to help both current and new digital technologies become more sustainable.

Through conversations with Q’s members and partners, we understand that introducing more digital innovation and working in a more integrated way is a top priority for improvement. Those working in improvement can and need to play a pivotal role in digital change as services recover from the pandemic. Collaborating on digital change is an important part of the future of improvement.

Through this round of Q Exchange we want to provide resource for change, learning and to develop digital solutions. It’s an opportunity to strengthen existing work, not just to support new projects. There is a lot of potential to redesign care through new technology, as well as converting current service models to be delivered digitally.

You can find out more about the theme for Q Exchange in our Insight summary.

How do I apply?

There are two stages to the application process:

1. Idea generation (Tuesday 15 February to Tuesday 8 March 2022)

From Tuesday 15 February until 12.00 Tuesday 8 March Q members are invited to post their ideas on the Q website and create online project pages.

Members can post as many ideas as they like, but they will only be able to submit one proposal during the next stage.

2. Refine and submit (Tuesday 8 March to 12.00 Tuesday 22 March 2022)

During this stage Q members are encouraged to help refine these ideas by commenting and offering support via the project pages, enabling applicants to further develop their ideas.

Applicants will then choose which idea they will convert into a proposal by completing the additional information required (no later than 12.00 Tuesday 22 March) for it to be considered for shortlisting.

During March and April shortlisting panels will assess the proposals, with the shortlist announced in May 2022.

Up to 30 shortlisted ideas will go forward to the Q community vote, where Q members will vote online to decide which projects receive funding.

Read the full applicant guidance.

What should I do next?

Start thinking about what you might want funding for. You can upload your ideas from Tuesday 15 February until 12.00 Tuesday 8 March 2022. Remember, the earlier you upload your idea, the more time you will have to develop and improve it with the help of the Q community.

To post your idea you will need to answer four key questions about your project, along with general information including team members, organisation details and project location. We suggest that you spend some time reviewing these questions with your team before you add them to your idea page. Each answer must be no longer than 150 words.

The four key questions are:

1. What is the challenge your project is going to address and how does it connect to the theme?

Include details about what the change is and the collaboration or partnership that enabled it. Please include indicative data and/or feedback from those affected by the change and demonstrate why this is a positive change.

2. What does your project aim to achieve?

Include the objectives of your project, explain how the project will result in improvement for the intended beneficiaries and, where relevant, how it might contribute to reducing health inequalities.

3. How will the project be delivered?

Demonstrate that your project has a well-considered approach, including involving relevant people and skills, measuring impact, delivering value for money and managing risk.

4. How is your project going to share learning?

Demonstrate the project’s potential to generate valuable learning for Q members and the wider system across the UK and Ireland.

How do I add my idea?

  • Click the ‘Your Ideas’ tab: You will be asked to log in with your Q website account – if you have never logged in before use the email address you provided when you joined Q and you will be asked to create a password.
  • If you have forgotten your password you can reset it using the ‘Lost your password?’ link.
  • Click the ‘Add Idea’ button: You’ll now be able to get started on your first idea. Try and be clear and think about what you might want to convey to a Q member without any knowledge of your project.
  • Complete the form: You only need to complete fields marked with i to post your idea during the idea generation phase.

Idea title i : Try to distil your idea into a short, key, sentence. Don’t use acronyms or jargon.

Amount of funding requested: If you don’t know what the cost will be, don’t worry you can fill this in as the idea develops.

Image: If you have an image that visualises your project well, you can add one here.

Lead organisation i : You must apply on behalf of an organisation. Funding will be paid to this organisation if your idea is successful.

Short description of the idea i : This should help people understand what your idea is and what you hope intended beneficiaries will get out of it. You can then answer the four questions identified above.

  • There’s also an opportunity to think about what contributions you want from Q members. This can be added to over time as your idea develops.
  • Click ‘Publish’: Once you have completed all the required fields you can publish your idea and share it with the community. If you are not quite ready to share your idea you can save it as a draft and return to it later, but you need to publish it by 12.00 on Tuesday 8 March 2022.

How do I edit my idea?

  • Click the ‘Your ideas’ tab: Navigate to the idea you want to edit and click ‘Edit this idea’.
  • Once you have made changes click ‘Update’ at the bottom of the page to save your changes.

Your ideas

How do I convert my idea into a proposal?

In order for your idea to be considered by the shortlisting panels you must convert your idea into a proposal during the refine and submit phase. To convert your idea, you will need to complete all mandatory fields by 12.00 on Tuesday 22 March 2022.

  • Click the ‘Your ideas’ tab: Navigate to the idea you want to submit and click ‘Edit this idea’. Update the form and complete all the fields. Fields with p must be completed in order to convert your idea into a proposal.
  • Once you have made your changes click ‘Submit as proposal’ at the bottom of the form and you will be directed to a confirmation page.

Once you convert your idea into a proposal you can continue to make changes until 12.00 on Tuesday 22 March 2022. After this you will no longer be able to make changes and the information you provide will be used by the shortlisting panels to decide which projects will go forward to the Q community vote.

Remember, you can only submit one proposal for the shortlisting panels to consider.

Who can apply?

a. Only Q members can submit an application. A project team can be made up of Q and non-Q members, but a Q member must be the lead applicant.

b. The lead applicant must submit on behalf of a lead organisation. Funds will be paid to the lead non-commercial organisation. All arrangements for subcontracting and/or transfer of funds to other parties will be the responsibility of the lead organisation.

c. The lead applicant must be part of the project delivery team.

d. Q members can only act as the lead applicant for one application, but can be named as part of other Q Exchange project teams.

e. Q members involved in current and/or past awards from the Health Foundation are eligible to apply, but we would encourage applicants to consider if they have capacity to deliver on multiple awards.

Read the full applicant guidance.

What types of projects will be considered?

a. Improvement projects (either in entirety or as part of a larger programme of work); that either test a new idea or adopt and adapt an existing one.

b. Development and delivery of learning events, training, toolkits or resources.

c. Evaluations or data gathering and analysis of improvement projects.

d. The development of applications and digital tools, provided user testing is part of the project and that they will be released under an open license.

e. The development of websites that support wider improvement projects.

f. The use of existing software licenses to develop wider improvement projects.

g. The use of devices to support wider improvement projects.

h. Design work with patients, service users, staff or local communities.

i. Research projects.

j. The development of a communications campaign or materials relating to improvement.

More information about the types of projects that are not eligible can found in the applicant guidance.

Who should the project benefit?

a. Projects must have wider benefit for the Q community across the UK and Ireland (eg direct impact or sharable learning).

b. One or more of the following groups should directly benefit as individuals, groups and/or communities:

  • patients, carers and/or service users of health and care services in the UK and Ireland.
  • those employed in organisations supporting health and care in the UK and Ireland (NHS staff, charities etc).
  • Q community members.

Read the full applicant guidance.

How will applications be assessed?

During March and April 2022, the shortlisting panels will assess the proposals, making their selection to put forward to the Q community vote. The shortlist will be announced in May 2022.

Further details to help on how the shortlisting panels assessed Q Exchange applications and what they looking for can be found in the applicant guidance. 

How can I help support others to develop their ideas?

Want to help support others to develop their ideas, but not sure where to get started?

Have a look at our guidance about different ways you can help

Contributor roles

How will the vote work?

Q members will be invited to vote on the 30 shortlisted ideas. The vote will happen online, via the Q website, between Tuesday 17 May and 12.00 Tuesday 31 May 2022. You will need to log in to the Q website to vote and you can vote at any time within this period as the vote is happening online. The vote will be run and verified by an independent voting specialist.

The ideas with the highest number of votes will be selected for funding. We expect to announce the 20 projects who will receive Q Exchange funding on Tuesday 14 June 2022.

The deadline to apply to join Q and be eligible to support Q Exchange and vote was Monday 18 April 2022.

If you have any questions about Q Exchange or the vote, contact the team via QExchange@health.org.uk

Full details about applying to Q Exchange 2022 can be found in the applicant guidance.