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The University of Cambridge has been awarded a second round of funding for an Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to run from 2019-2023 (ES/T501864/1).

The ESRC IAA will be used to support a number of activities focussed on generating impact from social science research, some of which include:

  • Dedicated funding for social science impact through the Social Science Impact Fund and Social Science Discretionary Fund
  • One-to-one impact support to researchers;
  • Events, training, and online materials for devising impact plans;
  • Commercialisation and technology transfer support from Cambridge Enterprise;
  • Policy engagement through the Centre for Science and Policy;
  • Enterprise training for researchers looking to commercialise their research, provided by the Entrepreneurship Centre at Judge Business School and the Maxwell Centre Impulse Programme;
  • Recognition for impact and public engagement through the annual Vice Chancellor’s Awards for Impact and Public Engagement.

Social Science Impact Funding

The Social Science Impact Fund (SSIF) and Discretionary Fund (SSDF) aim to support the use of research and expertise through the development of relationships with non-academic stakeholders, beneficiaries, and partners. This can be done in a number of ways but begins with thinking carefully about the people, groups, organisations or bodies that you hope to work with and by clearly identifying the best methods and activities for engaging those stakeholders. Understanding partner and stakeholder needs is vital to strong impact work and leads to a clear understanding of how outcomes can be measured and evaluated. The University of Cambridge has an established and experienced impact ecosystem and can support researchers in developing ways to apply their research by working with policy makers, industry partners, arts communities, the wider public, and others.

Impact activities can be undertaken at any point in the research life cycle. In developing research plans, impact activities and opportunities to engage with stakeholders should be included in the case for support but should unanticipated opportunities emerge at later stages, activities can be supported from two distinct streams:

  1. Social Science Impact Fund
  2. Social Science Discretionary Fund

Applications to both streams must make clear how activities meet the aims of ESRC Impact Accelerator Account (IAA). The Impact Fund is capped at £20,000 and projects can run up to 12 months (two calls/annum) whilst the Discretionary Fund is capped at £2,000 with a rolling deadline. Please note that there is only one application form for both streams and that applicants to the Discretionary Fund are not expected to use the full word count.    

The ESRC IAA Social Science Impact Fund and the Discretionary Fund are now closed. We hope to open the call again sometime in early 2023. Please contact Dr Tina Basi for any queries.

ESRC Festival of Social Science

This annual event is a celebration of the social sciences and takes place across the UK via public debates, conferences, workshops, interactive seminars, film screenings, virtual exhibitions and much more. 2021 will be the nineteenth Festival of Social Science, and each year the festival has gone from strength to strength.

Please take a look at ESRC’s webpages for information about previous Festivals.