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Project case studies

Examples of some activity funded through the ESRC Impact Acceleration Account

Rapid Impact Projects

The role of Law Officers in UK Parliament

Dr Conor McCormick (Law) was awarded £534 to visit the UK Parliament and disseminate his research on law officers. He met with a Senior Clerk to the House of Commons Library Service to discuss writing a Research Briefing together, with the aim of improving understanding of research on law officers and the relevance of that research to the work of Parliamentarians. The Research Briefing was published and promoted to parliamentarians in May 2020.


The Devolved Administrations and Brexit: Northern Ireland

Professor David Phinnemore (History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics) was awarded £1,000 to hold an event to develop understanding of the challenges and options around implementing the Withdrawal Agreement's institutional provisions relating to Northern Ireland, and the lessons that can be learnt from academic and think-tank research. Participants included senior officials from the Department for the Economy, British Embassy (Dublin), Departmental Solicitors Office, Department of Justice, The Executive Office, Office of the Northern Ireland Executive in Brussels and the Institute for Government. Further follow-up work with officials is underway, and key issues/options arising out of the seminar are being prepared for publication.

Leading Impact Projects

Improving debt advice engagement through the future self

Professor Aidan Feeney (Psychology) was awarded £12,322 to help people resolve their problem debt by identifying and testing an initiative to improve rates of debt advice adherence among Advice NI’s clients. The initiative will lead to an intervention designed for use in a range of debt advice contexts that should help people adhere to debt advice. If successful, it will be rolled out to 30 debt advisors employed by Advice NI. As Advice NI holds the government contract to provide free and impartial advice in Northern Ireland, this will produce province-wide impact for the work.


Crafting alternative sanctions for war crimes and crimes against humanity with victims and ex-combatants

Dr Luke Moffett (Law) was awarded £14,558 to work with victims and ex-combatants to co-produce appropriate remedies through alternative sanctions for kidnappings and disappearances as crimes against humanity before the Colombian Special Jurisdiction for Peace. The team held a series of events, with over 140 practitioners and victims, to share findings on protocol for treating victims of conflict-related sexual violence. The team also held meetings with judges of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace to advance their engagement around reparations as alternative sanctions.

Impact Voucher Projects

Development of logic model for the ‘Try This’ Experiential Emotional Resilience programme

Lightwork NI were awarded £3,734 to collaborate with researchers at the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work. Lightwork NI are a social enterprise which aims to create and bring evidence based programmes to schools to improve and support young peoples' mental health. The Impact Voucher will support them to utilise research expertise at Queen's to evaluate and make improvements to their programme. This initiative aims to build capacity at the partner organisation to further develop the programme and gain a foundation of skills and knowledge to appropriately link the learning outcomes of the content to evaluation methods and measurement of impact.


Examining the therapeutic benefits of using Lived-Experience (LEx) as a Professional Engagement Tool 

The Hummingbird Project was awarded £5,000 to collaborate with the Social Sciences, Education and Social Work. The Hummingbird Project is a social enterprise that harnesses lived and learned experience to support emotional health and resilience. The Impact Voucher will allow them to utilise research expertise at Queen's for knowledge exchange relating to lived experience and mental health. The collaboration will improve the measurement of LEx - a novel practice in the treatment of mental health - share best practice, and understand how LEx can be benchmarked as a therapeutic tool.

Mid-Career/Senior Academic Secondment Projects

Secondment with Reducing Offending Directorate, Department of Justice

Dr Michelle Butler (Social Sciences, Education and Social Work) was awarded £4,895 to work with the Reducing Offending Directorate to translate the findings from criminological research into policy and practice, including a policy to encourage the use of restorative justice as a means of dealing with prison misconduct.


Secondment with Combat Stress NI

Dr Paul Best (Social Sciences, Education and Social Work) was awarded £3,977 to utilise immersive 360 video technology for enhancing one-to-one trauma therapy. The immediate outcome of this secondment will be to enhance the treatment of people with PTSD. It is also adding to an evidence base which may result in expanding technology-enhanced therapy to other populations.

Early Career Researcher Secondment Projects

Secondment with St Angela's College Sligo

Dr Fiona Lavelle (Biological Sciences) was awarded £5,000 to work alongside colleagues at St Angela’s College to deliver a community cooking intervention, and evaluate its effectiveness in improving cooking competence and confidence. Dr Lavelle utilised expertise in learning cooking skills to co-deliver the two-month programme. Evaluation of this programme allowed Dr Lavelle to refine the intervention for possible expansion and application with other populations.


Secondment with Jahalin Solidarity

Dr Alice Panepinto (Law) was awarded £4,797 to share her expertise in international law pertaining to demolitions/forcible transfer of Palestinian Bedouin communities in the West Bank. The placement with Jahalin Solidarity aims to strengthen the mechanisms through which the host NGO advocates for Bedouin human rights.

Practitioner Appointment Projects

Practitioner Appointment with Artios Global

Dave Luke was awarded £5,000 for a Practitioner Appointment which would facilitate knowledge exchange between Artios Global – a global consultancy specialising in humanitarian, security and stabilisation efforts – and the Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice. The Appointment allowed the sharing of expertise between practitioners and researchers, and included dissemination to the wider humanitarian and stabilisation sector.


Practitioner Appointment with the Bytes Project

Roger Warnock was awarded £3,771 for a Practitioner Appointment with the aim of building research capacity among senior staff at the Bytes Project, in order to co-design research focusing on social issues affecting young people. Bytes engages with over 6,000 young people each year, and this Appointment is facilitating the transfer of skills, confidence and knowledge in youth work research.

Developing New Partnership Projects

Co-producing a group-based arts project for CAMHS service users in Belfast Health and Social Care Trust NI

Dr Anne Campbell (Social Sciences, Education and Social Work) was awarded £2,506 to explore how young people can become involved in a co-produced arts initiative to enhance their mental health outcomes. This new partnership with the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in Belfast Health and Social Care Trust seeks to examine the impact of the project, how it may replicated in other areas and how each group may move on from the project to a self-sustaining service-user led arts based forum.


Developing a dyscalculia assessment and intervention package

Dr Kinga Morsanyi (Psychology) was awarded £2,999 to develop a dyscalculia package which will identify symptoms, indicate the level of severity, assess the underlying cognitive competencies, and provide targeted training to improve these competencies, and thereby improve children's maths performance in the formal curriculum.

International Partnership Projects

Cancer Caring Coping: Vietnam

Dr Olinda Santin (Nursing and Midwifery) was awarded £19,935 for a national co-design process to develop a trustworthy and accessible digital support platform to assist with monitoring symptoms, accessing services, and support for medication adherence, self-management and psychosocial wellbeing for those affected by cancer in Vietnam. The team developed a national network to create a prototype of the resource.


Advancing the rights, empowerment and protection of Children Human Rights Defenders

Professor Laura Lundy (Social Sciences, Education and Social Work) was awarded £15,000 to produce a toolkit to improve the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) through increased understanding of its implications for the implementation of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. The Toolkit will enable children to better understand the links between the substantive provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and the UNCRC, and how these links must be translated into national legislation, policy and practice.