Students Staff

17 October 2019

Impact Acceleration Accounts – an impact pipeline for Essex research

Filed under: Latest news — ckeitch @ 4:16 pm

Professor John Preston is Deputy Dean (Faculty of Social Sciences) and the Principal Investigator of IAA2. Here he tells us more about how the Impact Acceleration Accounts are helping researchers collaborate with businesses and policymakers.

Professor John Preston

Professor John Preston

The impact agenda is impossible to ignore in Higher Education. The Research Excellence Framework makes increasing demands on academics to evidence their influence on the economy, society and culture. Research funders, particularly funding councils, require ‘pathways to impact’ to be mapped out when a grant is submitted and working with business or policy makers requires sustained engagement. That’s why it’s so important for us to to provide ‘impact pipelines’, routes by which research impact can be generated and supported, for our researchers at Essex. One of these pipelines is the Impact Acceleration Accounts and we have been awarded a second tranche of funding from the Economic and Social Research Council to fund impact activities.

This round of the Impact Acceleration Accounts awards us nearly a million pounds of funding over four years to transform our research into deep and lasting real world impact. Although the funding is focused on social sciences, researchers in any discipline are welcome to apply as long as the research contains a substantive element of social science, as defined by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). This means that there are opportunities for researchers in the Faculty of Science and Health and the Faculty of Humanities as long as their research involves social science elements.

In July this year we carried out our first ‘challenge lab’ activity on public health.  Our researchers, alongside stakeholders from Public Health England; the NHS; charities; and the private sector, to find solutions to future public health challenges like ageing, social isolation and mental health. We preceded this challenge lab with an ‘impact dialogue’, which gave our academics, working closely with the other stakeholders, the opportunity to define, and then act on, the impact agendas of the future.

As well as our other IAA funding streams, we will continue with the impact dialogue and challenge lab format over the next three years, enabling our researchers to better engage with policy makers and other stakeholders. Through the Impact Academy the IAA will also deliver a rolling programme of workshops to provide training, advice, and guidance to researchers on impact activities at all levels.

Professor Jennifer Rubin, Executive Chair of ESRC, said that the aim of the IAA is to bring: “ world leading research … to bear on the pressing social and economic challenges and opportunities we face.” By further developing our ‘impact pipeline’ from ideation through to implementation we are rising to this challenge at Essex.

Apply to the IAA Impact Fund and Active Engagement Fund

The Impact Fund provides funding for novel ideas for engaging with research users to deliver impact of social science research. Up to £10,000 is available per project.

The deadline for applications to this round of the Impact fund is Wednesday 20 November. Find out more.

The Active Engagement Fund supports events designed to enable the development of relationships with research users (up to £2,000 is available per event) and meetings with potential research users (up to £500 is available per meeting).

As a responsive fund, applications to the Active Engagement Fund can be made at any time.

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