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Scottish and Northern Ireland students win the Big Idea competition with funding campaign

19 February 2015 - 8:45am

Student reps from Scotland and Northern Ireland have won a Dragon’s Den-style competition, thanks to an idea that aims to improve funding for physio students.

Scottish and Northern Ireland students win the Big Idea competition with funding campaign

Physiotherapy students from Scotland and Northern Ireland celebrate winning the Big Idea

The team triumphed in the Big Idea contest at the student representatives’ development weekend in Leeds on 7-8 February.

They won with a proposal intended to address the inequalities in funding for physiotherapy students in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Their idea came about after the region conducted a survey to gather information about course costs for physiotherapy students in the region.

The survey found that a large proportion of students experience financial pressure due to expenses incurred while on placements and course related costs. In addition one in five of the students surveyed said they would have not chosen to study physiotherapy if they had known the costs beforehand.

Nicole Palmer, a student at Queen Margaret university, and Tom McKeever, a student at Robert Gordon university, presented the idea to a panel of judges.

‘Our big idea is to release a further survey that addresses the course costs of students,’ said Mr McKeever.

‘This survey will target more physiotherapy students and also collect feedback from students from other allied health professions, to gauge the differences between courses and funding for each different profession.

‘We are already aware that nursing students get more funding than physiotherapy students and we aim to address this imbalance.’

All allied health professional students in Scotland and Northern Ireland are being invited to provide feedback about their university course costs. A new GoogleSurvey has being launched and is open until the end of March.


The competition also heard about an innovative idea for an online student forum, which was presented by student reps from the North West region.

Joseph Edwards, a second year student at the University of Salford, told Frontline: ‘Our idea was a website called PhysioLocker. It is a student led, physio toolbox that aims to help generate ideas and solutions for students via online networking.

‘We didn't end up winning, but we received excellent feedback.’

The social media platform has been set-up and is welcoming questions and discussion from students.

The PhysioLocker Facebook page has gained over 800 members and the Twitter page has over 350 followers.

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