Economic and Social Research Council
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Shortlist announced for Celebrating Impact Prize recognising 50 years of research making a difference

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) has announced the nine research projects shortlisted for its prestigious Celebrating Impact Prize 2015.

The researchers, funded by the ESRC and based at universities across the UK, have all used their research to make a significant difference to society. By working in partnership with organisations including businesses, charities and public bodies, they have impacted the lives and work of people both in the UK and internationally.

The shortlisted entries are:

  • Dr Jennifer Doyle, formerly of the University of Manchester 
    For the impact of her research into the social benefit of community development and support within the social housing sector, leading to policy changes enabling organisations to refine the design of housing projects.
  • Dr Jane Dyson, University of Oxford 
    For the impact of her film Lifelines based on her research with north Indian youth. The film has become an important educational tool, countering negative stereotypes and informing society about a poorly understood section of the world’s population.
  • Dr Aisha K. Gill, University of Roehampton 
    For her work, based on research into violence against women, supporting victims of ‘honour’ crimes and forced marriage in the UK, Iraqi Kurdistan and India by impacting local, national and international policymaking and professional practice.
  • Professor Jenny Kitzinger, Cardiff School of Journalism and Professor Celia Kitzinger, University of York 
    For the impact of her research on the support available for families of severely brain-injured patients, which has helped develop national guidelines for physicians and addressed common misrepresentations of comas.
  • Dr Victoria Lavis, University of Bradford 
    For the direct influence of her work on the policy and practice of prisons in England and Wales responding to issues of diversity, including guidance on the respectful and decent treatment of transgender prisoners.
  • Professor Colin Mason, University of Glasgow and Professor Richard Harrison, University of Edinburgh 
    For the impact of his work around investors known as ‘business angels’, stimulating investment worth £750 million a year in the UK, influencing tax incentives and providing structure to the market.
  • Dr Oliver Owen, University of Oxford 
    For his work based on his doctoral research pursuing reform in the Nigeria Police Force, which has helped to improve recruitment, training, management and practice.
  • Dr Hester Parr, University of Glasgow 
    For the impact of her research on missing people, which has transformed the way UK police officers relate to missing people and informed the updated training used by the UK National Police College.
  • Professor Ian Scoones, University of Sussex 
    For the impact of his research on land reform in Zimbabwe, using solid evidence to challenge media portrayals and inform policy debate both in southern Africa and beyond.

A panel of experts selected the shortlist from a wide range of submissions, which included written evidence from organisations that have used the research to shape their policies and practice.

Winners will be presented with prize money of up to £10,000 to further the impact of their research.

Prizes will be presented across five categories, including awards presented to early career researchers and international collaborators. A separate prize, the 2015 Impact Champion, will be awarded to a further individual who has been nominated for supporting and enabling others to make an impact with their work.

Winners will be announced at an event at Central Hall Westminster on 24 June 2015, organised in partnership with SAGE and hosted by BBC Radio 4 broadcaster Laurie Taylor.

Announcing the shortlist, ESRC Chief Executive Professor Jane Elliott said: “During the ESRC’s 50th anniversary year, the 2015 Celebrating Impact Prize provides a timely opportunity to recognise and reward those whose work is making a real difference in society. Whether collaborating with colleagues in another department, a business in a local city, or a university on the other side of the globe, these researchers have demonstrated the immense value of social science research in the UK. I look forward to seeing the winners revealed in June.”

Further information

Notes for editors

  • The ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize is an annual opportunity to recognise and reward the successes of ESRC-funded researchers who have achieved, or are currently achieving, outstanding economic and societal impacts. First run in 2013, the prize celebrates collaborative working, partnerships, engagement and knowledge exchange activities that have led to significant impact of ESRC-funded research. Prizes will be presented in five main categories: 
    Outstanding Impact in Business 
    Outstanding Impact in Public Policy 
    Outstanding Impact in Society 
    Outstanding International Impact 
    Outstanding Early Career Impact, sponsored by SAGE 
    An additional prize will be awarded to an Impact Champion, who has been nominated by others for their role in enabling impact. 
  • The awards ceremony, organised in partnership with SAGE, will be held at Central Hall Westminster on 24 June 2015. Attendance is by invitation only. To attend as press please contact the ESRC press office.
  • The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK’s largest funder of research on the social and economic questions facing us today. It supports the development and training of the UK’s future social scientists and also funds major studies that provide the infrastructure for research. ESRC-funded research informs policymakers and practitioners and helps make businesses, voluntary bodies and other organisations more effective. The ESRC also works collaboratively with six other UK research councils and Innovate UK to fund cross-disciplinary research and innovation addressing major societal challenges. The ESRC is an independent organisation, established by Royal in 1965, and funded mainly by the Government. In 2015 it celebrates its 50th anniversary.
  • Founded 50 years ago by Sara Miller McCune to support the dissemination of usable knowledge and educate a global community, SAGE publishes more than 800 journals and over 800 new books each year, spanning a wide range of subject areas. A growing selection of library products includes archives, data, case studies, conference highlights and video. SAGE remains majority owned by its founder and after her lifetime will become owned by a charitable trust that secures the company’s continued independence. Principal offices are located in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore, Washington DC and Boston.


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