THE University of Brighton is sharing in £500,000 funding aimed at breaking down barriers to help students achieve greater success.

Research by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) has exposed gaps in the higher education results between different student groups.

The project, Changing Mindsets: Reducing stereotype threat as a barrier to student success, funded from HEFCE’s Catalyst Fund, will benefit students likely to drop out or perform less well.

The university is one of five institutions involved in the project which is being led by the University of Portsmouth.

Brighton’s share of £64,000 will be used to co-ordinate, deliver and evaluate the project with at least £15,000 going to students as incentives to take part.

Brighton is matching the funding with leadership, research expertise and development from staff involved.

The thinking behind the project is based on the belief that ability develops through effort and embracing challenge.

Developing this “growth mindset” has been shown to have profound motivational effects on learners.

The project, to run to 2019, will see the University of Brighton’s Centre for Learning and Teaching (CLT) giving staff-facing workshops through existing staff development events and courses.

The aim is to engage about 600 students and 100 academic staff in years 2017/18 and again in 2018/19 and evaluate their experiences of being involved.

The project is being run by Professor Gina Wisker, CLT head and professor of contemporary literature and Higher Education; Catherine McConnell, senior lecturer; and Dr Rachel Masika, senior research fellow.

In a joint statement, they said: “We are delighted to have been awarded Catalyst funds to be able to trial this activity which focuses on developing students’ potential.

“This offers us an exciting opportunity to help students develop an awareness of, and language for learning, and to find out if this approach can address some of the inequalities in higher education attainment.”