Establishing Proof of Concept

How do I Establish Proof of Concept for New Ideas?

When you have a new idea for a programme which you have discussed initially within the Faculty/School, and which has some potential market (an initial sense of which can be gained through existing recruitment data on programmes in other institutions, market share and by contacting the Market Intelligence Team) you should complete a Proof of Concept Form. The form is short, but does require you to think carefully about the fit and potential for your programme, along with the potential costs, benefits and value. Effectively, this part of the process is developing an initial pitch and business case, so that the Faculty/School and University can assess the concept’s strategic and financial potential, and decide whether the investment of time, effort and money will represent a good return on investment for the University.

Who Reviews Proof of Concept Forms?

The Faculty/School Learning and Teaching or Research Committee will initially review Proofs of Concept, before submission to the Programme Management Board for a University decision as to whether the concept should proceed to further development.

What does the Programme Management Board Look for in New Concepts?

When evaluating a new concept, the Programme Management Board will look at the potential strategic and financial value and alignment, potential risks and overall benefits using an initial scoring system. Concepts which score well will normally aligned to the University’s portfolio development strategy and will deliver a significant return on investment. However, the Board will also look for potential future opportunities which may follow from smaller developments of concepts.

Why is there a Proof of Concept Phase – isn’t this just Adding More Stages to the Process?

The Proof of Concept phase has been established to maximise the University’s strategic oversight and management of proposals, and to better focus energy and expertise in delivering the best return on investment. Whilst this does technically add a stage, it actually makes the process more efficient as the University can make a swift decision on whether the concept could be viable, or shelve it before too much work has been invested. This approach also ensures that the Programme Management Board, Academic Quality Services and the Academic Partnerships Department can identify and support concepts and proposals as early as possible in the process, thus maximising potential for success.

Why can’t I Continue to Develop my Concept if the Programme Management Board does not Approve it?

If the Programme Management Board does not approve your programme, Academic Quality Services will not be able to allocate resources to support its further development and approval, meaning that any work you invest into the programme will be wasted. The University is committed to delivering effective, innovative programmes to drive recruitment growth and attraction for new student markets, and is therefore focusing on delivering this wherever possible. However, you may consider revising your proposal with additional advice and support from the Market Intelligence team and resubmitting the proposal to the Board.

How do I Determine the Best Title for my Programme?

Getting the title of your programme right is one of the key factors in success. It must not only appeal to students, but also to potential employers. It must be easy to find yet also stand out from the competition. A course title must not be misleading. 

The University recognises that this is challenging and has incorporated advice and guidance on developing effective programme titles into the Initial Market Intelligence Report structure. Further advice is available from both the Market Intelligence Team and International Development Office.

What Happens if my Proof of Concept is Approved?

Once the Programme Management Board has approved your concept, the project moves to the proposal phase, which requires a more in depth set of information, including a full Market Intelligence Report.


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