sparqs Conference 2019

'Student Engagement for All'  #sparqs19

Thursday 28th March 2019 at Surgeons’ Hall, Edinburgh


The theme for the conference is ‘Student Engagement for All’. It will provide an opportunity to focus on and pull together activity from across the sector on student engagement in relation to widening access, equality and diversity, transitions, representation of non-traditional students, staff development…and more! The conference will provide an opportunity to showcase this work, share expertise and learn from good practice with colleagues from Scotland, the rest of the UK and beyond.

The day will comprise a mix of keynote presentations covering key sub-themes, complemented by a wide range of workshops, presentations and displays from colleges, universities, sector agencies and international partners from Europe and further afield.

The conference hashtag is #sparqs19

Call for Proposals

The closing date for submitting proposals was Friday 12th October 2018 (extended from 5th October).

Proposals for workshops, presentations and posters/displays were invited across the following five sub-themes:

  • Engaging the diversity of students.
  • Student engagement and co-creation of the curriculum.
  • Demonstrating impact and addressing institutional and national priorities.
  • Engagement throughout the learner journey.
  • Building capacity.

See the call for proposals webpage for further details on each sub-theme.


Conference Fees

The registration fees are detailed below.  Registration will open on Monday 26th November, with early-bird rates available until Friday 11th January 2019, thereafter the higher rates will apply:

  • Students studying in a Scottish institution - FREE
  • Staff from a Scottish institution, students’ association or sector agency – £50 early-bird / £60 thereafter
  • All delegates from outside Scotland - £110 early-bird / £130 thereafter

As noted below, the International Delegates’ Day (taking place the day before the main conference) will incur an additional cost, dependent on the activity planned for the day. This cost will be advertised when registration opens in late November and international delegates will have the option to attend the main conference only, or both days.

Student Engagement Awards

In a fitting end to the day, the conference will be rounded off with the third sparqs’ Student Engagement Awards.

We are now inviting nominations from students’ associations and institutions across a range of categories, this year around the theme of ‘Student Engagement for All’.  See the Awards webpage for all the details. 

The closing date for nominations is Friday 23rd November 2018.

Please note tht nominations for 'Course Rep of the Year' will be invited in January 2019, once we are further into the academic year.

The 2017 Awards were a huge success and we look forward once again to celebrating once again the innovative work going on in the sector!

Opportunities for International delegates

Once again, we will be organising some optional pre-conference activities for our international delegates to ensure they get the most out of their trip to Scotland.

This will include an International Delegates’ Day on Wednesday 27th March, which will provide attendees with an opportunity to visit an institution and learn more about the Scottish context of student engagement (with some sightseeing and Scottish hospitality along the way!).  Please note that there will be a fee to cover the cost of the day, which will be advertised when registration opens.

Spanning the week of the conference, sparqs will also organise some additional visits to institutions and sector agencies, which international delegates will be able to opt into depending on their interests and availability. There is no cost for these visits, but delegates will need to make their own travel arrangements as required.

Key dates

  • Call for proposals opens: Thursday 2nd August 2018.
  • Call for proposals deadline: Friday 12th October 2018.
  • Awards open for institutional/SA submissions: Friday 7th September 2018.
  • Awards submissions deadline (institutional/SA): Friday 23rd November 2018.
  • Awards submissions open for Course Rep of the Year: Monday 7th January 2019.
  • Awards submissions deadline (Course Rep of the Year): Friday 8th February 2019.
  • Registration opens (with early-bird rates): Monday 26th November 2018.
  • Early-bird registration rate ends: Friday 11th January 2019.
  • Registration closes: Friday 22nd February 2019.


Contact us

If you have any queries regarding any of the above, please contact us at, or feel free to contact the conference lead, Lindsay Isaacs, at

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