Social science researchers at the University of Stirling will “hit the ground running” after major £1.25m funding boost
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The University of Stirling has received a major funding boost that will have a major impact on social sciences research.
The £1.25 million award, from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), is a first for Stirling and one of only four awarded in Scotland.
Called the Impact Accelerator Account (IAA), the grant is set to benefit the University’s social scientists, their interdisciplinary research partners and their industry and public policy partners and collaborators. A particular emphasis of the IAA will be to build more research capacity and impact leaders of the future, including early career, mid-career and postgraduate researchers.
The University of Stirling promised to “hit the ground running” following the news, announced today and commended by the UK Government. The first step will be to launch the Stirling Social Sciences Impact Accelerator Account, followed by incubation events and a ‘Research for Impact’ funding programme providing competitive funding for fast-track impacts innovation, strategic impact innovations and people exchanges.
The University of Stirling and the University of Strathclyde, who are both included in today’s announcement, join the University of Edinburgh and the University of Glasgow as the only four Scottish universities to have received IAA funding.
Professor Judith Phillips, OBE, Deputy Principal, Research at the University of Stirling, said: “We are delighted to receive the ESRC's Impact Acceleration Award which will be a step change for us in enabling our research to ‘make a difference’ and help deliver on our strategic mission-oriented approach to research.”
Dr John Rogers, Executive Director for Research, Innovation and Business Engagement at the University of Stirling, said: “Collaboration with both research partners and industry is, we believe, the element that truly unlocks impact across all that we do. This means that we are well placed to ensure that the potential application of our research, in all its forms, delivers positive change for today’s society. We aim to hit the ground running to use this funding to demonstrate the impact of our research.”
Professor Derek McGhee, Dean of Social Sciences at the University of Stirling and Director of the new Stirling Social Sciences Impact Accelerator Account, said: “We are delighted to have landed one of these very competitive awards. The ESRC IAA will extend and develop our expertise in policy and practitioner-related impact generation through an ambitious programme of capacity building, training and expertise sharing.”
Dean of Social Sciences and Director of the new Stirling Social Sciences Impact Accelerator Account
We are delighted to have landed one of these very competitive awards. The ESRC IAA will extend and develop our expertise in policy and practitioner-related impact generation through an ambitious programme of capacity building, training and expertise sharing.
Professor McGhee added: “This will include enhanced opportunities for commercialising our research and facilitating ecosystem approaches for developing collaborative innovations with cross-sector stakeholders. Through this ESRC IAA we will be proactive curators of the trajectories of the next generation of research, impact and knowledge exchange leaders at Stirling.”
The University of Stirling is one of 32 in the UK each receiving £1.25 million from an overall £40 million pot of funding for social, economic and behavioural science impact activities.
UK Government Minister for Scotland Malcolm Offord, who paid a recent visit to the University of Stirling to learn of its pioneering work in ageing and dementia, said: “It’s great to see that four of Scotland’s outstanding research institutions are among organisations UK-wide benefiting from this funding.
“It’s essential that academic social and economic research is translated into real world, tangible benefits. These awards will help our universities to unlock the full impact of their research, including by working with partners to apply social sciences knowledge to address practical challenges in society.”
Professor Alison Park, Interim Executive Chair of the ESRC, the UK’S largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues, said: “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.
“We have already seen the benefits of previous rounds of IAA funding, which have leveraged an extra £52 million from partners ranging from local government to private business. This new cohort of 32 research organisations in receipt of IAA funding is the largest and most diverse group ESRC has funded. I look forward to seeing how these investments maximise the impact of social science research.”