Stirling Social Science Impact Acceleration Account

Social science research helps us understand and respond to the most important and pressing issues of our times. At the University of Stirling, this Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) funding will accelerate the influence and impact of our social science research – locally, nationally and globally.

What is the Economic and Social Research Council Impact Acceleration Account?

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) at the University of Stirling involves:

  • Five-year funding (2023-2028) from the ESRC.
  • An institutional block award totalling £1.25 million, which we will use flexibly to build and amplify the impact of social science research across the university.
  • Activities that enhance knowledge exchange, innovation, and commercialisation skills.
  • Events that celebrate and engage the public with Stirling’s social science research, including as part of the UK-wide ESRC Festival of Social Science each year.

You can read more in the press release announcing and welcoming this new IAA funding.

The IAA focuses on upskilling and developing the capacity of academics and PhD researchers, promoting ideas and actions to bring about change, and benefiting the diverse range of people we work with.

The types of activities and opportunities within the Stirling Social Science IAA include:

  • a training and capacity building programme: data analysis and decision-making, policy engagement, co-production, innovation, commercialisation and social entrepreneurship;
  • interdisciplinary incubation events and crucibles: sparking ideas and connecting social scientists with a range of other disciplines, sectors and partners;
  • an impact-accelerating funding programme that social scientists across Stirling can apply for;
  • a people exchange scheme of placements and collaboration;
  • an awards programme of high-profile lectures and impact innovation award prizes;
  • an events programme and public engagement festivals celebrating social science.

Economic and Social Research Council logo

ESRC Impact Acceleration Accounts 2023-24

The IAA Funding Programme

The IAA Funding Programme offers a number of pathways to support impact development from an early exploratory phase to its maturity. We invite applications for activities including non-academic user engagement, impact acceleration, innovation and commercialisation as well as knowledge exchange and people movement. The first call for proposals under the IAA Funding Programme closed on 4 December 2023.

Themes and Focal Points in 2023-24

Through its funding calls in 2023-2024 the IAA seeks to support impact development under these key themes:   

  • University Research and Innovation missions. We invite projects that align with the University Research and Innovation missions and priorities to make a difference to people through tangible improvements to quality of spaces, places and lives by 2034.
  • UN Sustainable Development Goals. We encourage proposals that address one or more of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Impact Without Borders. We invite applications that nurture internationalisation and advance the reach of our impact and knowledge exchange on a global scale.
  • Commercialisation of social science. We invite projects that have the potential for both, Profit or Not-for-Profit, commercialisation.
  • Open theme. We also seek to support impactful social sciences research that does not align to one of the above themes. It could be specific and bespoke, it could be strategic, it could be a game-changer for social change.

Leadership and key contacts

The Stirling Social Science Impact Acceleration Account is led by the Director and Deputy Director. They will be working in collaboration with a Steering Committee of colleagues from across the university, and an Advisory Group encompassing people who benefit from and use our research. This will include representatives from government, industry, third sector and communities. As part of our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion early career (ECR) and PhD researchers at Stirling are represented in the membership of these groups.

The IAA will foster interdisciplinary working across the university, further integrating social science at the heart of our research in the future.

How can I connect with the IAA and social scientists at Stirling?

If you are a representative of government or parliament, industry, the third sector or a community group, more information is available about our social sciences research and our public policy work. 

Contact us

If there is a particular aspect of commercialisation and research development that you would like to explore, please email us.