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Q Exchange, the exciting new participatory funding programme for Q members, has seen a whirlwind of activity over recent weeks, and the final shortlist is now live.

The shortlisting panel faced the almost impossible task of selecting 25 projects to progress to the final stage. With so many high quality, inspiring applications, the panel had to make some tough choices, but we’re excited by the final selection.

We want to take this opportunity to congratulate everyone that put forward an idea. You’ve all played a crucial role in this new, more transparent and iterative approach to grant funding. We’re delighted with how many people took part, coming up with ideas, offering advice or suggestions and supporting each other.

Everyone that submitted a bid should feel proud of their efforts. Almost all the project ideas hold potential to generate insights and improvement for health and care, and many clearly sparkle with the ingenuity and passion of their creators. In the end, we could only choose 25 for the next stage, but we hope all the ideas continue to evolve and come to life.

Shortlisting dilemmas

In choosing the shortlist, we had detailed criteria to work with, but (as is common with all grant programmes), we were nonetheless faced with a few key dilemmas when it came to choosing from those that met the core criteria:

  • Should we prioritise those ideas that were developed in more detail, or those that had potential broader impact?
  • How much should we prioritise creative and unusual projects, and when should we take risks to increase diversity of projects and bidders?
  • Where there were multiple strong projects on a particular theme, should we put several through or choose one?
  • How much weight should we give to the way in which the project team engaged with the process and other projects?

This is a pilot process and we’ll be keen to get your feedback on all aspects of the programme, including the shortlisting. While it’s been hard to turn projects down, we’re confident that there’s an impressive and interesting range of proposals to choose from at the community event in September.

What the shortlist tells us

We’ll be completing some more analysis over the coming weeks, but we thought we’d share some general reflections at this point on the projects that were submitted. As the funding call was open to all ideas, the proposals shine a light on areas important to those doing improvement and how they approach their work.

In terms of the range of ideas and projects put forward, it was good to see a healthy geographic and sector spread. While it’s often said that improvement capacity and activity is overly concentrated in the hospital sector, we were particularly inspired to see plenty of projects in mental health, and a striking number focused on care homes and broader community asset / whole system approaches.

The projects also demonstrate commitment to expanding capacity for co-production with service users and carers. There are a lot of projects led by, or closely involving, patient and community leaders. We were also interested to see that some of the submitted projects said they had never or rarely submitted funding applications in the past.

There’s something about Q Exchange that seems to be helping reach out to those who may not have felt confident applying for funding through other routes.

There are a couple of projects that have got a strong and explicit focus on productivity or reducing waste. We also saw plenty of potential for other project ideas to demonstrate efficiency benefits, but it’s interesting to see that this isn’t always drawn out clearly by bidders.

We were pleased to see that a number of proposals involved collaborations with academics, and there were several focused on enhancing the use of data. Some projects had good ideas about how to share the learning they were hoping to generate, with some great examples of collaborations that seem likely to hold potential for wide reach through Q and beyond.

However, overall, the panel felt projects needed to give more attention to how they could make the most of the connections available through Q to develop and share their work. Collaboration in Q Exchange isn’t just about the project development and selection process, and we hope to see the great engagement and support from others in the community carry through to the delivery of projects, supporting greater spread and take up of ideas.

Stay tuned and keep connected

Going from 139 project proposals to 25 is a major milestone in the Q Exchange process. The next step will be community members choosing the final 15 at the Q Community event in September. There are a few remaining tickets, so book yours now if you haven’t yet.

You don’t need to wait until then to connect with the projects however. As you’ll see from the refreshed project pages, the shortlisted ideas are grouped under a separate tab with an accompanying brief summary of the panel’s views. The pages have now also been unfrozen so you can add further comments to both those that have been shortlisted and those that didn’t make it through.

Take a look now and reach out to those that inspire you. The shortlisted teams will appreciate all your input as they refine their ideas in the lead-up to the event!

Penny Pereira
Deputy Director of Improvement
@PennyPereira1

Sarah Henderson
Assistant Director, Improvement Programmes
@sarahjhhen

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