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ESRC Impact Acceleration Account

Supporting social science impact
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Queen’s University Belfast has been awarded more than £1m to support academics using social science-based research
to tackle major societal challenges across the world.

Queen’s is one of only 26 research organisations from across the UK to be awarded an Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

This significant investment supports social scientists at Queen’s to develop flexible, creative and tailored approaches to increase the social and economic impact of their research locally, nationally and internationally. It also helps them to build new, and develop existing, partnerships with external organisations.

The IAA allows Queen’s to do more to build skills and to enhance a culture of knowledge exchange within the University by supporting academics to apply their research to everything from education to the economy, and social work to security and borders.


What is an Impact Acceleration Account?

An IAA is a block award made to research organisations to accelerate the impact of academic research. They are awarded by Research Councils, in this case by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

IAAs allow research organisations to respond to impact opportunities in more flexible, responsive and creative ways. They provide agility and flexibility to make decisions about how to invest IAA funding in ways that best suit institutional strategies and opportunities. They build capacity and create opportunities for the social sciences to work across disciplines to progress research outputs and outcomes towards impact.


Aim of the ESRC IAA at Queen’s

The overall aim of the ESRC IAA is to facilitate Queen’s University’s ambition to develop a fully-engaged research culture across the institution through the embedding of Knowledge Exchange (KE) and impact activities in social sciences. This will create an environment where people are able to reach their full potential and contribute fully to an open, inclusive, culturally-enriched, creative and connected society.


Objectives of the ESRC IAA at Queen’s

  • To develop a culture of embedded KE and impact in research through social sciences
  • To lower the barriers, both real and perceived, that impede activities that generate impact
  • To create a fully-engaged research environment that embeds and values the co-production of research, impact and KE activities as essential, integral parts in the research cycle
  • To build on and diversify our portfolio of external partners by reaching out to new organisations
  • To facilitate improved bids to other funding bodies through greater knowledge, confidence, competence and understanding of impact
  • To support early career researchers to develop by providing relevant opportunities for academic growth and career progression
  • To involve external partner organisations in the management of the IAA
  • To leverage further opportunities for support from within Queen’s and from partner organisations

The ESRC IAA fund encourages the involvement of as many external organisations as possible, primarily focusing on local and regional sectors and organisations but with a global approach to partners with specific areas of relevant expertise.


Further Information

For further information, contact

Funding available

There are three types of funding available for impact placements, initiatives and partnerships. 

Click here for Guidelines and FAQs

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Placing People
Flexible Secondments and Practitioner Appointments
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ESRC Impact Fund
Support for social science impact initiatives
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Local, national and international Impact Partners
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