Official funding of £1.25 million has today [7 March] been awarded to Oxford University for activities that translate the university’s social sciences research into social, economic and behavioural impact. The funding, the maximum grant available from the Impact Acceleration Account, has been given by the Economic and Social Research Council, part of UKRI – the public body sponsored by the Department of Science, Innovation and Technology.
Professor Chas Bountra, Oxford’s Pro Vice-Chancellor for Innovation, welcomed the announcement, saying, ‘We have incredibly talented social scientists here at Oxford whose vital research is already making an impact by addressing some of the most complex economic and societal issues affecting people around the world today, such as inequality, cybercrime and economic and political instability. This funding will enable our dedicated researchers to accelerate their research and innovation so that its impact can be felt more quickly from a local level to a global scale.’
We have incredibly talented social scientists here at Oxford whose vital research is already making an impact by addressing some of the most complex economic and societal issues affecting people around the world today, such as inequality, cybercrime and economic and political instability
Professor Chas Bountra
One of 32 institutions to receive an award, under today’s scheme, Oxford will be able to use the funding flexibly and responsively in line with strategic aims and to unlock the value of social science research.
The university intends to target carefully the funding to achieve impact, in particular embracing the university’s ‘Global to Local’ research and targeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Oxford’s own SDG Impact Lab will be closely involved.
Professor Heather Viles, Associate Head of Social Sciences Division (Research), adds, ‘I am delighted that the ESRC IAA bid has been successful, and I look forward to the planned activities which will enhance the impact of Oxford’s social sciences research from local to global scales.’
This means addressing key societal challenges by working with other disciplines and relevant stakeholders; building deeper collaborative partnerships and effective engagement pathways to enable the uptake of research. As part of this, support will be given to innovation and commercialisation of social sciences research, working closely with Oxford University Innovation.
The university plans to deliver impact in the local area, working in partnership with Oxford Brookes University and local authorities, agencies, businesses and communities. The intention is to create a gateway between social sciences researchers and local partners who are interested in creating place-based impacts.
The planned activities...will enhance the impact of Oxford’s social sciences research from local to global scales
Professor Heather Viles
According to Professor Alison Park, ESRC’s interim executive chair, ‘The social, behavioural and economic research we fund helps us understand how we live and how society functions, throwing new light on how best to tackle our most pressing challenges. This investment creates a network of research organisations with dedicated funding to support and accelerate the impact of this research.’