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Q Exchange is a funding programme that offers Q members the chance to apply for up to £30,000 of funding for their improvement ideas.

The funding programme 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. From Tuesday 1 September 2020 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.

In response to the exceptional circumstances the health and care system is facing, we reassessed how Q Exchange could best support the Q community and the system at this time. We have therefore taken the decision to award funding to all 30 of the shortlisted Q Exchange 2020 projects.

What is the theme for Q Exchange 2020?

This year we are seeking project ideas on the theme:

Embedding positive changes emerging through new collaborations or partnerships during COVID-19.

Why we have chosen this theme

As a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, new collaborations and partnerships have formed which have enabled rapid change and innovation. Broadly speaking these changes fall into two categories:

Changes to service provision: Changes have been made to the services available to patients and citizens and to the way these services are accessed and delivered. Substantial shifts ranging from innovative community and neighbourhood care services to new discharge processes for frail, elderly, end of life patients have been put in place at speed.

Changes to ways of working: Significant changes have been made to ways of working, culture and processes to enable people to work together effectively during the pandemic. Examples include enhanced local system working, strong clinical leadership and digitally-enabled collaboration.

Not all of the changes implemented have been positive. Some of them have been necessary to respond to the crisis but have had negative impacts, or will no longer serve the needs of our patients, citizens and workforces after the crisis. But some of the changes will have demonstrated promising signs for the future. Q Exchange offers a unique opportunity to further develop and embed these changes, learning from and with Q members who have been doing similar work in parallel across the UK and Ireland.

How do I apply?

There are two stages to the application process:

1. Idea generation (Tuesday 1 September 2020 to Tuesday 22 September 2020).

From Tuesday 1 September until 12.00 Tuesday 22 September Q members are invited to post their ideas on the Q website and create online project pages.

Members can submit 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 22 September to 12.00 Tuesday 20 October 2020)

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 20 October) for it to be considered for shortlisting.

During October and November shortlisting panels will assess the proposals, with the shortlist announced in January 2021.

We would usually invite the community to vote on 30 shortlisted projects, however, the exceptional circumstances we are currently in led us to reassess the impact that Q Exchange could have at this time. It was felt that Q Exchange could support the community most effectively by changing the process for this year only, and we will be funding all 30 projects.

See the 30 awards

What should I do next?

Start thinking about what you might want funding for. You can upload your ideas from Tuesday 1 September until 12.00 Tuesday 22 September 2020. 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 submit 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 positive change that has emerged through new collaborations or partnerships during Covid-19 that your project is going to embed?

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.

The deadline has now passed to add new ideas.

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 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 22 September 2020.

The deadline has now passed to add new ideas.

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 by completing all mandatory fields by 12.00 on Tuesday 20 October 2020.

  • 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 up until 12.00 on Tuesday 20 October 2020. 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.

The deadline to convert has now passed. Ideas that were converted into proposals by the deadline are now frozen while they are considered by the shortlisting panels.

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 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.

Applicant guidance document

What types of projects will be considered?

a. Improvement projects (either in entirety or as part of a larger programme of work); these could develop an idea at an early stage, or adopt and adapt an established intervention.

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

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

d. Software development (provided user testing is part of the project).

e. Design work with patients/service users/staff/local communities.

f. Research projects.

g. Development of a communication campaign/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. All 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.

Applicant guidance document

How will applications be assessed?

During October and November the shortlisting panels, made up of Q members and partners, read and deliberated the 122 proposals put forward for Q Exchange. These panels selected 41 projects, which were put forward to the Health Foundation and NHS England and Improvement who selected the final 30 projects.

Further details to help on how the shortlisting panels assessed Q Exchange applications and what they lookinged 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 Exchange would usually invite the Q community to vote via the Q website on the 30 projects, and funding would be awarded to the top 20 projects. The exceptional circumstances we are currently in led us to reassess the impact that Q Exchange could have at this time. Q is a supportive community and, given the topic of the funding and the demands required on the project teams and the community to participate in the campaign and voting stages, it was felt that Q Exchange could support the community most effectively by changing the process for this year only.

We will be returning to the campaign and voting stages of Q Exchange for future rounds of the programme.

Full details about applying to Q Exchange 2020 can be found in the applicant guidance document