Centre for Teaching and Learning
Welcome to Stellenbosch University


​​​​​​​​Important information regarding 2020 FIRLT applications can be found here: FINLO COVID-19 Communique 28 April 2020.pdf

Fund for Innovation and Resea​rch into Learning and Teaching (FIRLT)

In line with its Learning and Teaching policy (TeachingLearning Policy 2018.pdf ), Stellenbosch University established the Fund for Innovation and Research into Learning and Teaching (FIRLT) in 2005 in order to encourage a culture of innovation and reflection in learning and teaching at the University. The fund provides an opportunity for lecturers to innovate, evaluate effective practices and processes, and to investigate learning and teaching problems, solutions and trends.  It also provides a mechanism for the dissemination of results designed to improve the quality of learning and teaching.  Any lecturer, team of lecturers or Centre responsible for learning and teaching, may apply for an award.

FIRLT awards are made twice a year by a subcommittee of the Committee for Learning and Teaching. Proposals are funded up to a maximum of R50 000. All applications are considered by the FIRLT Committee:



For queries, send an email to finlo@sun.ac.za or call Jean Farmer at 021 808 2956.

FIRLT 2020 Deadlines:

-          6 November 2020.

How to Apply for FIRLT Awards:

See this document for guidelines for applications: Call for Submission for FIRLT Proposals 2019.pdf

Develop your idea, talk to colleagues, CTL advisors or one of the FIRLT Committee members, and then complete the electronic FIRLT application form at https://goo.gl/forms/bM5hcDxN0SnnPRJg2

You should pay special attention to the guidelines of the Senate-approved proposal for the fund. See FIRLT proposal guidelines (Regulation for Fund for Innovation and Research in Learning and Teaching (FIRLT).pdf)


How to Report on FIRLT Awards:

Use this template to report on your FIRLT project: FIRLT FINLO report of project template.pdf

And here is the report template in downloadable MS Word format: FIRLT FINLO report of project.docx 


How to get Support for FIRLT Projects:


​​In support of FIRLT/FINLO-projects, the university offers writing retreats.  Writing retreats offer dedicated writing time away from the office.  It usually takes place during May and November for both new and experienced teaching and learning researchers.  The purpose of the writing retreat is to work on FIRLT/FINLO proposals or L&T publications.  For more information about Writing retreats Writing by Hours (Slow scholarship), click here.​

Academics can also contact the CTL advisor in their faculty for support with FIRLT applications.  Click here for your advisor's contact details.


Some FIRLT Successes:

For a list of previous FIRLT-recipients and their contact details, click here:  FINLO according to Faculties 2018-2011.pdf



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Author: Carine Visagie

Thanks to funding provided by Stellenbosch University's (SU) Fund for Innovation and Research into Learning and Teaching (FIRLT), video-conferencing facilities and off-site neurology training can now be implemented at three clinical learning centres across the Western Cape.

The aim of this project is to facilitate online tutorials, collaboration and research between the University's Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences and the clinical platform, with the ultimate goal of improving patient care.

The SUNStream-integrated setup – which makes use of a smart television, the Adobe Connect app, a webcam, as well as a wireless keyboard and mouse – will be installed at Khayelitsha Hospital, Worcester Hospital and Ceres Hospital – three hospitals where Stellenbosch University medical students currently train. The research arm of the project will be centred around the students' learning experiences and whether they find the video-conferencing facilities useful, or not.

“The project originates from the fact that we give tutorials to final-year medical students, and that students on clinical rotations at Khayelitsha Hospital need to return to Tygerberg Hospital for these tutorials," explains Prof Jonathan Carr, Head of the Division of Neurology at the Department of Medicine at SU's Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS), and principal investigator on the project. This project would make it unnecessary for students to return to Tygerberg, since they could participate in the tutorials while training remotely.

The hospitals that form part of the project were selected on a historical basis. “The Division of Neurology has a long history of performing outreach to Worcester Hospital, and carrying out video tutorials has long been an ambition of mine," says Carr. “Part of our teaching platform consists of giving bedside tutorials in basic neurological assessment to final-year medical students. It seems utterly appropriate that we should endeavour to do the same for students who can't come to Tygerberg Hospital."

Students are sent to Khayelitsha and other community hospitals and clinics as part of the FMHS's community-based training initiative that enables students to receive training in the environments where they will work one day. “They're part of the final-year student intern group," Carr continues. “As do many students, they view neurology with some apprehension and are therefore keen to get as much teaching as possible."

In time, the project will save time and costs. “We should be able to cut down on the waste of time that's inherent to transport back and forth to Khayelitsha Hospital. We should also be able to demonstrate that it's possible to give what's effectively a bedside tutorial by long-distance video communication to students at Worcester," says Carr.

The project team has recently been joined by Dr Francois Coetzee, programme coordinator for SU's Rural Clinical School in Worcester. At his suggestion, the team is planning to also extend the video links to Ceres Hospital.

“A benefit of using the SUNStream platform is that video streaming can be done with very low bandwidth. The technology can also be used on different devices, including computers, cellphones and smart TVs," adds Coetzee. “The hope is that the neurology training will eventually lead to fewer and more appropriate referrals to secondary and tertiary-care facilities."

Caption: Prof Jonathan Carr, Head of the Division of Neurology at the Department of Medicine at SU's Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS).

Photo: Damien Schumann