University of Sheffield receives over £1 million to boost impact of social sciences

The University of Sheffield has been awarded a total of £1,125,000 to enhance the translation of its social science research from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC’s) Impact Acceleration Account fund (IAA).

The Wave - external shot of the Faculty of Social Sciences building Feb 2023
External shot of the Wave - the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Sheffield

The University of Sheffield has been awarded £1 million in funding from the Economic and Social Research Council to enhance the impacts from its social sciences research.

The University’s Faculty of Social Sciences will be using the funding to support policy influence, partnership development and continued thematic project funding to prioritise interdisciplinarity, commercialisation and place-based impact.

The funding is awarded through a five-year Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) which are to support a wide range of social, economic and behavioural science impact activities.

The funding award will be used to generate greater benefits from social sciences research and the University is one of 32 organisation to receive an award from the £40 million pound investment from the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) investment fund,

The plans to use the funding in the University's Faculty of Social Sciences are to expand the research impact of its work in areas such as:

  • Building a green future across the UK: net-zero, climate change, and biodiversity
  • Living with technology and technology adaption
  • Building a secure and resilient world
  • Understanding behaviour and behaviour change

The funding will enable the University to accelerate its particular expertise in policy influence, social entrepreneurship and education-based activities.  It will also be used to continue the Faculty’s involvement with the national Festival of Social Sciences.

Previous IAA funding has been used to fund such projects as; helping Mozambique to examine its policy around off-grid energy regulation; demonstrating its potential, whilst addressing concerns from communities, businesses and third sector workers; future proofing supply chain resilience in industries such as civil aerospace, automotive and rail by developing a resilience index scorecard system to track how manufacturers are responding to, and managing risk and security issues; and also supporting research staff to develop venture ideas from their research and intellectual property, providing engagement, consultancy opportunities and business models for social sciences intellectual property that can create profit used for good.

The University will also invest further its commitment to showcase its social sciences research to the public, growing its annual Festival of Social Sciences, and its participation in events such as Sheffield’s annual Off the Shelf Festival of Words. The funding will also be used to produce content for The University of Sheffield Player which is the UK’s biggest research streaming platform. The Player brings together videos, podcasts and digital exhibitions all about University of Sheffield research - making the University’s research more accessible than ever before.

Professor Ruth Blakeley, Faculty Director of Research and Innovation for the Faculty of Social Sciences, said: “This IAA funding is essential for advancing and turning our internationally renowned social science research into real, impactful solutions across the globe. These are very exciting times for us here at the University of Sheffield and our portfolio of initiatives offers the faculty a targeted impact strategy that fosters an interdisciplinary culture and enhances knowledge sharing in research.

“With our ambitious plans we aspire to have a more profound, diverse, and long-lasting impact on society, the economy, the cultural sector, healthcare, and sustainable development on a national and worldwide scale. The IAA's focus will help a lot of our research produce results that have a positive, real world impact on our wider communities.”

For more information on the research undertaken by the departments within the Faculty of Social Sciences follow us on Twitter @SheffSocScience.

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