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What connects artichokes, recycling and wheelbarrows?

Seemingly unrelated items and activities are united by small project grants that encourage entrepreneurial students with big ideas.

Innovation Initiative Grants

Innovation Initiative Grants (IIGs) are ‘start-up’ funds for student projects and initiatives that are financed through gifts to the Edinburgh Fund.

They support a range of unique activities across the University and are awarded to projects which have the potential to become self-funding or to receive support from other sources.

From small acorns

While the financial contribution to each project may be small, ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand pounds, the impacts can be significant and wide ranging.

Students learn new skills and gain practical experience, clubs and societies can expand their activities and develop facilities, and the wider community benefits from outreach projects and business initiatives.

Developing each student’s capacity to learn by enquiry

£3,600 enabled Spyros Kizis, a student from Edinburgh College of Art, to design an eco-friendly furniture collection made out of artichoke thistle reinforced plastic - a material he designed himself.

Images of the artichair on the Arts Thread website

Minimising our environmental impact

£1,984 enabled a group of students to set up The Swap and Reuse HUB co-op (SHRUB). This student-led cooperative aims to provide a centre for reusing items and learning about reuse through skill sharing, exchanging and upcycling.

We were so grateful to receive an Innovative Initiative Grant; it allowed us to set up our shop, paint the premise and buy tools for our “repairing workshops” that we will be running. We launched this Freshers' Week with a big free shop to help students set up their new homes, it was a great success with over 1000 people coming through our doors in just 5 days.

Joe ThompsonStudent and Co-founder of SHRUB

Alumni can continue to support this project by volunteering time and skills as Joe Thompson, Co-founder, explains,

Our next step is organising the repairing and up-cycling workshops. We would love for alumni to get involved, either by becoming members of the co-operative and meeting current students, or by running a workshop and promoting a valuable skill from de-bugging computers to sewing quilts!

Joe ThompsonStudent and Co-founder of SHRUB

Find out more on the SHRUB website

Maximising our contribution to society

£500 enabled students from the Dirty Weekender Society to buy a selection of tools to use on their conversation projects. The Dirty Weekenders, officially known as Edinburgh University Conservation Society, is a student-run society which undertakes practical conservation work in and around Edinburgh.

Find out more on the Dirty Weekenders website

Supporting our students

Innovation Initiative Grants exist thanks to the generosity of our alumni, staff and friends and their donations to the Edinburgh Fund.

In 2012-2013 we have awarded £149,532 in IIGs to be distributed among students, staff, clubs and societies, as well as University support services for a wide range of research projects, teaching and student activities.

Donate online to the Edinburgh Fund

Contact us

If you would like to find out more about the Edinburgh Fund then please contact a member of our Regular Giving team.

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